Hand held microphones that can be used with hearing aids

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Aug 1, 2020

I'm curious to know if any hearing aid and cochlear implant users use streamers, FM systems or Bluetooth microphones in noisy settings? There's lots of talk about speech to text apps on cell phones. They work well but sometimes it's hard to read on a device when talking to someone in person. I've found the BT mini mic very helpful. Prior to having personal hearing devices with BT capability I often used an FM transmitter/receiver microphone the same way. I used it with students when I was a teacher, and also used it with adult clients when I did social work. It made it possible for me to stay in the workplace. I'd like to hear your experiences with this technology.

@tonyinmi
Hi
I had an additional TCoil plus mic setting but didn’t like it so had that disabled. But that’s a thought…have her play around with another T setting while I use Netflix on my phone. I left my neck loop in the hot car for several months so now it is kaput. I have had it for many years. Then I remembered I gave my pocket talker away. So I will order another neckloop because my ear links are fragile and remember not to leave the loop in the car.
Do you have a brand neckloop you like? Got the broken one from Williams Sound.

On another journey here and have to get back to the Audi…she only returned to the office in August and is probably besieged at this point. Meanwhile waiting to hear about mini mics and will research them.

Thanks again

FL Mary

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@imallears, I have not tried a lot of neckloops. Williams Sound and Listen Technologies comes to mind though. Maybe @julieo4 has some favorites???
Tony in Michigan

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@tonyinmi

@bec, I do not like the Live Listen feature either. The phone mic picks up everything and that is sent to the hearing aids. I'm not sure if the audiologist has control of that or not. I cannot think of a good use for that feature unless the noise filtering could be added.
Tony in Michigan

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@tonyinmi does this discussion thread apply only to hearing aids or also to CIs? (I am essentially deaf in 1 ear, I had hearing aids for a couple of decades and now a CI.)

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@imallears

@julieo4
Hi,

What’s the name of your mini mic.? I have used the Pocket talker in the past but no longer like the sound and it is too much to carry around. I have Phonak aids and tried their accessories and the experience was awful as it picked up too much environmental noise and did little to enhance speech recognition.
I did not try the Roger accessories after listening to some personal experiences from people I know.

I have an Android and rely on Live Transcribe and the Otter App (free version). I would not mind using a wireless mini mic so would be interested in knowing what you use. And , like you said when people responded to your use of the mini mic, most people think my apps are so cool too.

FL Mary

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Hi FL Mary, I use the mini mic and the mini mic 2+ with my N6 Cochlear implant. It does not work with my Widex hearing aid, which is frustrating. Frustrating to have to have a specific brand of HA with a CI to use the accessories. If I had a ReSound HA it would work bilaterally. Long story short. I tried ReSound and did not get the same results I have with the Widex in regular use, so chose to stay with Widex. I will probably switch to ReSound next time around. Prior to using the Mini MIcs, I used the Phonak MicroLink. I absolutely loved that device. I wore out 3 of them! That was prior to having the CI. I was teaching then, and used it with students in physical education classes. The kids were great about using it and knew if I wanted to know what they were saying they had to. Heaven only knows what they were saying without using it! Prior to that I used a Phonak direct audio input hand held mike. It looked like a black cigarette, so people kind of laughed at that. However, that DIA device is what sold me on using a microphone. Funny story…(now). When I started using that DIA mike, which had a long cord that plugged into my HA, I was in a large social setting with casual acquaintances. We, ladies, were standing in a circle talking and I was participating in the conversation. One of the women called me aside to ask what I was using. I explained. Her comment "That's interesting, I never thought you were smart." My response was "Now you know.". I wasn't insulted, but she was embarrassed after saying that. In reality, it gave me the courage to keep using it and letting it show. Back to that earlier statement…when we appear to be helping ourselves, other people are more likely to help us.

Back to hand held mics. The Roger Pen is high quality and expensive, (over $1000), but it works when used correctly. I have one, but rarely use it. Like Tony, I need a streamer to use it. Just don't find it practical. It's good quality is that it can be used with telecoils in any brand of hearing aids or CIs with the streamer. The Pocketalker, which is around $200, works well. The newer model is superior to the older ones. They have been around for a long time. The new one includes a telecoil so people who don't use telecoils equipped HAs can use it with earphones. It's an excellent 'test' device for someone who needs hearing help but doesn't have HAs. There are other brands. Problem is, for the most part you have to buy it to try it, which is grossly unfair. Look for an assistive device demo center to see if they loan items like this out. Our HLAA Chapter has a loan project with several of the devices.

My N6 has a port for direct audio input and I still have a plug in model with a cord to use in a pinch. It works, but the cord is cumbersome. The hand held w/o cord came out after the corded mike. It seems that the manufacture suddenly realized that people do want to hear in noisy settings.

FL Mary, let us know what you decide to try.

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@tonyinmi

@imallears, I know you asked Julie but I feel I needed to chime in. Can I assume you used the neckloop to get the sounds into your hearing aids from the Pocketalker? If so, you mentioned that it picked up too much environmental noise. Keep in mind that the hearing aid telecoil has its own programming. The audiologist sets that up. You can get the noise cancellation algorithms added to your telecoil programming. You will have a much better experience, I guarantee. Also, you mentioned that others were not pleased with the Roger. As you probably know, the Roger is a Phonak product. I've used the Roger Pen with my Starkey's and more recently with my Resounds. I had to use the Roger accessory, the MyLink, with my telecoils, to be able to use it. I was impressed with the quality of the sound of the Roger, especially considering having to use additional hardware (and more chance for signal distortion) to make it work.
Tony in Michigan

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Julie chiming in to Tony 🙂 Two of the 4 settings I have on my Widex aid are set to telecoil. It is worth it to me to give up a different option to have them both. I use the neckloop a lot, so my t-coils are in use a lot. My choice.

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@tonyinmi

@imallears, I have not tried a lot of neckloops. Williams Sound and Listen Technologies comes to mind though. Maybe @julieo4 has some favorites???
Tony in Michigan

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I've had success with Williams Sound neckloops, also Comtek and Phonic Ear. I am not sure the latter two are even made anymore. None of these have batteries or controls, they are simply plug in and turn your telecoils on; hearing aids and/or CIs. Other brands have batteries that allow you to control the volume and get more power. I have manual volume control on my personal devices, so find those models unnecessary. And, I don't have to have batteries handy if they die. Others may tell you they like the options that come with the powered neckloops. Not me.

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@barbb

@tonyinmi does this discussion thread apply only to hearing aids or also to CIs? (I am essentially deaf in 1 ear, I had hearing aids for a couple of decades and now a CI.)

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@barbb, this discussion is applicable to CI's too. Telecoils and programming are considerations for both.
Tony in Michigan

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@julieo4

Hi FL Mary, I use the mini mic and the mini mic 2+ with my N6 Cochlear implant. It does not work with my Widex hearing aid, which is frustrating. Frustrating to have to have a specific brand of HA with a CI to use the accessories. If I had a ReSound HA it would work bilaterally. Long story short. I tried ReSound and did not get the same results I have with the Widex in regular use, so chose to stay with Widex. I will probably switch to ReSound next time around. Prior to using the Mini MIcs, I used the Phonak MicroLink. I absolutely loved that device. I wore out 3 of them! That was prior to having the CI. I was teaching then, and used it with students in physical education classes. The kids were great about using it and knew if I wanted to know what they were saying they had to. Heaven only knows what they were saying without using it! Prior to that I used a Phonak direct audio input hand held mike. It looked like a black cigarette, so people kind of laughed at that. However, that DIA device is what sold me on using a microphone. Funny story…(now). When I started using that DIA mike, which had a long cord that plugged into my HA, I was in a large social setting with casual acquaintances. We, ladies, were standing in a circle talking and I was participating in the conversation. One of the women called me aside to ask what I was using. I explained. Her comment "That's interesting, I never thought you were smart." My response was "Now you know.". I wasn't insulted, but she was embarrassed after saying that. In reality, it gave me the courage to keep using it and letting it show. Back to that earlier statement…when we appear to be helping ourselves, other people are more likely to help us.

Back to hand held mics. The Roger Pen is high quality and expensive, (over $1000), but it works when used correctly. I have one, but rarely use it. Like Tony, I need a streamer to use it. Just don't find it practical. It's good quality is that it can be used with telecoils in any brand of hearing aids or CIs with the streamer. The Pocketalker, which is around $200, works well. The newer model is superior to the older ones. They have been around for a long time. The new one includes a telecoil so people who don't use telecoils equipped HAs can use it with earphones. It's an excellent 'test' device for someone who needs hearing help but doesn't have HAs. There are other brands. Problem is, for the most part you have to buy it to try it, which is grossly unfair. Look for an assistive device demo center to see if they loan items like this out. Our HLAA Chapter has a loan project with several of the devices.

My N6 has a port for direct audio input and I still have a plug in model with a cord to use in a pinch. It works, but the cord is cumbersome. The hand held w/o cord came out after the corded mike. It seems that the manufacture suddenly realized that people do want to hear in noisy settings.

FL Mary, let us know what you decide to try.

Jump to this post

@julieo4
Wow, a lot of info and thanks so much. I am going to check out the phonak microlink and research the mini mics so I may have to come back to you with a question. For now I will look at a new loop as I have to be careful with these earlinks, which I don't think are made anymore. I don't even remember how old they are . I like to keep them at home attached to my Captel.

That woman's comment is such a typical one. Some people assume you are not smart because you don't always get things right away. I have had similar comments made to me over the years which is why I developed such a pro active assertive stance towards people regarding my hearing. Maybe our puzzled expressions add to their misconception so I am always careful to look intelligent and not too confused. We assume everyone knows about hearing loss but that isn't true. I remember when my father was on life support and the female doctor was addressing all her comments to my then husband. I told her in no uncertain terms to address them to me even if I needed to ask her to repeat. I think that may have been the beginning of my new approach to people.

Thanks again,
FL Mary

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@julieo4

I've had success with Williams Sound neckloops, also Comtek and Phonic Ear. I am not sure the latter two are even made anymore. None of these have batteries or controls, they are simply plug in and turn your telecoils on; hearing aids and/or CIs. Other brands have batteries that allow you to control the volume and get more power. I have manual volume control on my personal devices, so find those models unnecessary. And, I don't have to have batteries handy if they die. Others may tell you they like the options that come with the powered neckloops. Not me.

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@julieo4
You are right about the batteries and volume control…that it is not necessary. Last think I need is another device with batteries lol.

FL Mary

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@imallears

@julieo4
Wow, a lot of info and thanks so much. I am going to check out the phonak microlink and research the mini mics so I may have to come back to you with a question. For now I will look at a new loop as I have to be careful with these earlinks, which I don't think are made anymore. I don't even remember how old they are . I like to keep them at home attached to my Captel.

That woman's comment is such a typical one. Some people assume you are not smart because you don't always get things right away. I have had similar comments made to me over the years which is why I developed such a pro active assertive stance towards people regarding my hearing. Maybe our puzzled expressions add to their misconception so I am always careful to look intelligent and not too confused. We assume everyone knows about hearing loss but that isn't true. I remember when my father was on life support and the female doctor was addressing all her comments to my then husband. I told her in no uncertain terms to address them to me even if I needed to ask her to repeat. I think that may have been the beginning of my new approach to people.

Thanks again,
FL Mary

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You're very welcome. I don't think the Phonak microlink is made anymore, but not sure. When BT tech started to enter the scene, a lot of older technologies were eliminated. The Roger device is BT. I think the ML was basically an FM system. It worked great though. I am sure there are several other devices available that I've not used, nor do I know about. It's interesting to hear what others are using. I still promote FM technology in some instances.

Yes, people tend to talk around us when they know we don't hear. Sometimes I do depend on my husband, but that should be my choice and suggestion. My progressive hearing loss was diagnosed when I was 21. I was told then, that hearing aids would not hellp me. CIs were not even on the scene then. I did not get hearing aids until I was in my mid 30s, so many people in our community simply thought I was not very sharp. I knew that and felt that, but there wasn't much I could do. Discovering SHHH/HLAA when I was 40 turned my life around. So thankful! That is where I learned most of what I know. It helped so much to meet and get to know so many other people like me. I had always felt very much alone….which is tough on a natural extrovert. Now, I'm a bit of both extrovert and introvert. 🙂

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@julieo4
Hi,
The micro link is in the hearing aid museum! I looked to see if Ebay had one but no. I ordered the Williams neckloop which is what I had for so long.
I did find my earlinks online but it got panned review wise so maybe the quality is not as good as the ones I have.

I really don’t know which mics would work best with what I have…so many are proprietary. I will still look but maybe wait until I see my Audi again and revisit different brands. That’s where we were before Covid came on the scene. She has let me try several brands with no upfront charge and is very interested in and knowledgeable about ALDs. And yes…I joined HLAA back when it was SSSH. Learned and absorbed so much from them.

Stay safe and don’t touch your face or your ears lol.

FL Mary

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@julieo4

Using a hand held microphone, streamer, etc. is visible. How do we feel about that? Personally, I've found that when it appears I'm helping myself, other people are more willing to help me. Frequently when using a hand held mike in a restaurant, young wait staff will ask what it is. That gives me the opportunity to say that it helps me hear them, etc. Most times the response is "That's really cool! I'm going to tell my mom, dad or grandparents about that." Our hearing loss may be invisible, but some of the best help to keep us in the hearing mainstream means letting it show!

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The visibility of my ComPilot, MiniMike and CI have given me uncountable opportunities to educate folks about hearing loss and systems that help (not cure). Once a 20-something at my local natural foods store said, “What is that?” Pointing to my ComPilot. I answered, “I use it to change loudness in my hearing aids and my iPhone bluetooths to my HAs. So I listen to music and stuff, right to my HAs.” Mouth hanging open he replied, “That is so cool, I can’t wait to get old!” We both laughed so hard!

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