Ray’s current hearing aids are Phonak Exelias. The audiologist keeps pushing for us to get Ray an iCom because Ray complains about using the phone with these higher powered aids. The aids are so powerful that when switched to t-coil there is a buzzing sound. The hearing aid is actually picking up the sound of the t-coil itself. The problem is a combination of more power and Ray’s particular hearing loss. Ray’s audiogram starts out quite good in the “low tones”, but then drops rapidly. Because he can hear these low tones it allows him to hear this buzz coming from the t-coil. So, the audiologist is recommending an iCom, a rather expensive accessory to his hearing aids. The iCom would allow him to use the bluetooth technology in his phone to then hear the phone conversation through his hearing aids. You can also use the iCom as an FM receiver (currently he has FM receivers supplied by the county for use at school). You can also plug any other stereo device with a typical 3.5mm plug into the iCom and listen to your MP3 player or Nintendo DS, etc. through your hearing aids.
The iCom seems somewhat inconvenient though as you have to carry this little square device around with you. They show it pictured hanging around your neck. How uncool does that look? If stuffed into a pocket, I can see a serious chance of loss.
I wish I could find someone who’s used on of these devices to see how they really like it. So far, I don’t know anyone who has it. Did I mention it’s rather expensive?
Why can’t hearing aids come out with a bluetooth component? Hey manufacturers I know you’re all following my blog just to pick up on this piece of advice. Find a way to build bluetooth capability into a hearing aid! Hasn’t using the phone been the biggest complaint of hearing aids users for as long as there have been hearing aids and phones?