A question about Bluetooth adapters

Greetings,

I would like to know if the Bluetooth adapters available for HA’s like Phonak and others are really necessary or will any Bluetooth adapter or transmitter do the job. Most everything I see about them seems to be manufacture specific as if they only work for those particular brands.

I already have a Bluetooth adapter that I use with my TV and my headphones and I would like to use it if it will work.

Thanks,

Rick

A standard Bluetooth adapter should work with Phonak Marvel and Paradise hearing aids. However it will use more battery and have greater latency than the TV Connect. With any other hearing aid, some sort of additional device will be needed. Hopefully this will change in a year or two with Bluetooth 5.2 and LE Audio.

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Mind that regular bluetooth adapters may very well give a delay. No problem when just listening music, but annoying when watching a movie and utterly disturbing when making music yourself.

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But it’s possible that it doesn’t. I mean, we’ve seen how people with macbooks have issues. So it depends how exactly it’s implemented.

So, Id’ say it’s worth trying, if you don’t mind latency and if you can return it if it doesn’t work.

Yes, latency does put a damper on watching tv or videos on YouTube for sure. Thanks for bringing that up as I did not think of that.

I’m not bothered with latency phone - HA, so it’s not that much.
But when I’ve tested google meets call, using same network, oh boy was it laggy.
So for streaming, I do it from my phone, seems like they on average did better job :slight_smile:

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I have an inexpensive Ugreen brand Bluetooth transmitter on our bedroom TV as an “affordable” TV streamer solution, but have not tried it with my HAs. My main concern was latency, since as I understand it the AptX low-latency Bluetooth codec will not be supported by my Phonaks, and besides, I always have my HAs out by bedtime anyway.

This Bluetooth streamer is nice because it supports two simultaneous headsets, so we can both listen at night without disturbing others, and the sound quality of our headphones is “fuller” (more bass, especially) than via HAs. I just lose the ability to “hear the world” at the same time, which is what I want with our living-room TV.

Also, these Bluetooth streamers are much less expensive than HA-specific boxes, especially if you already have Bluetooth headphones.

I will find some time to test it with my HAs and report my findings here.

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I look forward to hearing your test results. Thanks for telling me about this brand of BT transmitters.

looking forward :slight_smile:

Apologies, I’ve been held up trying to sort out audio quality issues with my Phonak TV connector but will test this soon!

I posted this before, but. My experience with various BT adapters has been mixed. But I did get the $$$ Sennheiser adapter on Ebay for $10 and it works with everything I have thrown at it. The person selling them does a lot of HA business and is highly recomended.

Seller information

lisa-and-boys (2271 )
99.9% Positive feedback

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OK, so here’s my optical-to-BT device:

I paid $35 CAD.

Very compact; supports 2 simultaneous headset devices and low-latency aptX BT protocol (if headset does as well). No built-in battery, no power or input selector switches, no alternate inputs: essentially an in-line LED and button on a cable that runs from the SPDIF-out to a USB port for power (including the TV’s USB port, as power requirements are minimal. Therefore, ideal for a simple fixed TV installation (rather than moving from place to place as-needed where more flexibility would be required). No battery, unlike many similar devices and no BT reception functionality so it’s not a multitasker. Also no optical pass-through; for that, the larger, flat, square devices like this are required for about $57 CAD:

Also, a 3.5mm analog version is available instead of optical in the same device format - so you can pick optical or analog, but not both in the same device for sake of reduced size.

You can run the cable so that the device is conveniently positioned in front of your TV for pairing new devices, or if you keep one headset permanently paired then the device can just “dangle” behind the TV (I found that this does not affect range too much given that I still want to be within line-of-sight to see the screen).

It works perfectly well with Bluetooth headphones and my Phonak Audeo Paradise HAs, individually or at the same time. However, because my Phonaks do not support aptX, there is a noticeable but slight lag that’s especially evident during rapid dialogue. This may be tolerable depending on your personal sensitivity but if you tend to notice lag while “lipreading” from video then I suspect you will not want to use a BT streamer with Paradise HAs and should use the Phonak TV Connector instead.

Personally I will continue to use my Phonak TV Connector on our “main”, home theatre TV and will likely use headphones with our secondary, bedroom TV when needed since we don’t use of often and by then I have typically taken my hearing aids out for the night. This device will be acceptable for music, spoken-word content that’s less rapid or not as visually demanding (or when I’m not “really” watching the TV but still want to hear it, as when doing chores and so forth).

However, I would still keep in mind the usefulness of this option for circumstances where a TV Connector is unavailable. I could tolerate the slight lip-sync lag now and then if using Bluetooth while visiting friends or family. Some of my older family members have asked about setting up Bluetooth headphones, so I might well use theirs at some unspecified future date when visiting becomes a thing again post-COVID.

HA support for aptX or other, future, low-latency and ideally lower-power BT protocols is the real key to broad compatibility with consumer electronics without reliance on proprietary streaming devices. Here’s hoping that comes in the near future. It would be unfortunate if these features could already (or soon) be made available, but HA makers don’t want to undercut the proprietary device ecosystem…?

EDIT: I didn’t want to promote any particular retailer by linking directly lest this antagonize anyone, but the prices I’ve quoted above are from AliExpress. Note that the “guts” of these devices - especially the square ones - are fairly generic and you will likely find quite similar ones from other manufacturers for around the same price (although probably $10+ more if you buy from a retailer in the West).

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Brilliant, finally a post that is clear and well written, plus by one who has taken the time and actually set up and using in real time, none of the “I think this should work” or “haven’t tried but pretty sure”
Thanks for sharing.