Phonak TV Connector

Posted by asklar02492 @asklar02492, Sep 1 7:34am

I recently purchased a Phonak TV Connector – a device which streams the audio from my TV to my Phonak hearing aides – and find it has made a huge improvement in my ability to hear my TV. However, a possible problem has come up. I live in an apartment building and my upstairs neighbor has been asking if anything I'm using could be interfering with her TV listening – she streams video from her phone to her TV set. Is this a possibility? I just don't know anything about the technology and would appreciate any advice.

Hi @asklar02492, I don't have any experience with hearing aids but I do have a lot of experience troubleshooting issues with wireless routers and cordless phones. Wi-Fi interference is common in apartment buildings when each apartment has their own Internet service and they are using a wireless router in their apartment. The Phonak TV Connect from what I've read transmits in the 2.4 GHz range 50 feet in all directions. Most wireless routers operate in the 2.4 or 5 GHz frequency range and I'm pretty sure the signal strength is more than 50 feet. In my experience streaming video from a cellphone to a TV has never been reliable. I'm not sure where your Phonak TV Connector is physically located but if you have it on a shelf near your TV, you could put some tin foil somewhere above the Phonak TV Connector to block the wireless signal from travelling upwards to see if that works for your neighbor. You just wouldn't want the tin foil to be between yourself and the Phonak to interfere with your TV signal.

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Thanks so much for the speedy reply. And the really specific technical info. You're right about the Phonak transmitting 50 feet and 2.4 Ghz (whatever those are)! I think you hit the nail on the head – we each have our own internet and wireless routers. My upstairs neighbor was talking about tinfoil too and I thought she was crazy, but maybe not. Time to install a shelf! Thanks again.

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Tagging @tonyinmi He'll most certainly have something to add as well.

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@colleenyoung

Tagging @tonyinmi He'll most certainly have something to add as well.

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LOL. I give it my best regarding technology. Family issues warranted a late reply to @asklar02492. I like the response @johnbishop provided. It's hard to tell which is generating the interference but I am leaning at a Bluetooth issue. Your neighbor is getting video to the TV via the phone so that is a Bluetooth signal. Your TV device streams Bluetooth to your hearing aids. Theoretically, they should not interfere with each other because of the "pairing" of the devices. The range on Bluetooth is 33 feet max but it decreases based on the apartment construction (how much metal is in the walls). What I would do is to try to determine the exact cause. Maybe initiate a phone call while each of you try different things. If the interference is coming from your TV streamer, then get your hearing aid manufacturer involved. Rather than put foil in your house, the manufacturer could shield their products better (foil inside their product). This is a good opportunity to advocate for better designs. You cannot be the only person complaining about this. They may already have a fix. They ship what's on the shelf and that product may not be updated to the latest hardware revision. I have Resound aids and they have a customer support number that I can call instead of going through the audiologist. Maybe Phonak has something similar. Most of all, if you know the Phonak streamer is the cause, do not give up until they get it resolved. You'll hopefully improve the product for others.
Tony in Michigan

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@tonyinmi

LOL. I give it my best regarding technology. Family issues warranted a late reply to @asklar02492. I like the response @johnbishop provided. It's hard to tell which is generating the interference but I am leaning at a Bluetooth issue. Your neighbor is getting video to the TV via the phone so that is a Bluetooth signal. Your TV device streams Bluetooth to your hearing aids. Theoretically, they should not interfere with each other because of the "pairing" of the devices. The range on Bluetooth is 33 feet max but it decreases based on the apartment construction (how much metal is in the walls). What I would do is to try to determine the exact cause. Maybe initiate a phone call while each of you try different things. If the interference is coming from your TV streamer, then get your hearing aid manufacturer involved. Rather than put foil in your house, the manufacturer could shield their products better (foil inside their product). This is a good opportunity to advocate for better designs. You cannot be the only person complaining about this. They may already have a fix. They ship what's on the shelf and that product may not be updated to the latest hardware revision. I have Resound aids and they have a customer support number that I can call instead of going through the audiologist. Maybe Phonak has something similar. Most of all, if you know the Phonak streamer is the cause, do not give up until they get it resolved. You'll hopefully improve the product for others.
Tony in Michigan

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Thank you very much Tony for the additional information. I really appreciate your help in understanding what the issue might be so I can make an informed guess about what to try. That's a great idea to try to figure out what's going on over a phone call. We could start with my neighbor's TV on and then see what happens when I turn the TV on with my streamer on it. And then try moving the streamer to the computer (where I Zoom quite often) and see if that has any different effect.

Hm – the idea I might have to give up my streamer even for a short period while it's being checked out by the manufacturer raises some anxiety. That device has improved my life immensely by giving me a clear connection on Zoom and allowing me to give up the headphones. But you're right that Phonak should be informed if it's causing problems. And my neighbor deserves to be able to use her devices without interference.

Thanks again. Usually my experience with technology problems is pretty lonely and frustrating. It's great to have the support!
Ann

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