This is just a short entry about a couple of friends of mine. Roger and Mike.
These are a couple of tools that I utilize to try to gain every edge I can to hear in difficult surroundings or circumstances. The two of them are wireless devices specific to the hearing aids I wear (Phonak ) but other of the leading brands have similar devices that can really make a difference.
In my case, its actually an array of hardware that gives me better hearing than just my hearing aids could do on their own.
The Phonak aids I have rely on a streamer worn around the neck as the interface to the other devices. I have worn the streamer for so long now, I literally am not aware that it is there…..I wear it under my clothing from morning to bed. It is THE thing I most often forget when heading through TSA at the airport! The streamer ( ComPilot II) allows me to change programs and volume of my hearing aids. An App on my phone duplicates that as well. The streamer is Blue Tooth enabled and also has a FM receiver for Roger.
Here is how I use them. Roger ( or as Phonak calls it Roger Easy Pen) is a directional microphone with its own noise cancelling and voice seeking software/hardware. Roger is the device that has literally kept me engaged socially/professionally. It’s about the size of and actually kinda looks like a fountain pen. In a group setting like a restaurant or meeting it allows me to hear conversations that I otherwise would not. In a meeting situation, just putting it in the middle of the table is often enough get the conversations. Restaurants with music and loud background noise often require that I manually point the Roger toward who is speaking. Several of our friends have embraced the concept of a talking stick and will literally pass Roger around to speaker to speaker.
Mike, the remote mike is just that. It’s a Blue tooth linked microphone that works in slightly different situations. I have put it on the podium when needing to hear a presentation; passengers in the car wearing Mike helps me hear over road noise and I don’t have to keep looking right to try to read lips or hear better; my Yoga teacher wears it so I can hear instructions better especially when eyes are closed and no visual clues are available.
There are other “linking/streaming” devices out there like Blue Tooth links to TV or Home Theater sound sources.
It wasn’t all that long ago Hearing Aids were mostly just isolated devices that made sound louder. What has been developed on the “hardware” side of hearing solutions is pretty stunning; and coming on the market now are hearing aids that are so technologically advanced that no “Streamer” is necessary. The hearing aids can do all of the linking with FM , Blue Tooth and all controlled by a phone app.
While we figure out how to help the ear repair its own hearing loss the other assistive advances are making it better and better virtually every day.