I got it about 2 months ago. It cost me around $900 dollars in total for the Pen and linking accessory - I had to get the MyLink Receiver, as I do not have wireless capability on my Phonak Solanas - so I had to pay another $200 for that. In this case MyLink receiver streams the incoming signal from the Pen to the telecoil of my hearing aid. Wireless or a direct boot via a DAI boot device are also possible. But these are UK prices, perhaps you can shop around in the U.S.
My experience with it has been mixed. The main reason for buying it was to try and get help it very noisy situations with groups of people. I have been out on a couple of occasions with work colleagues and my family to test the device and have found that it does broadcast speech, but one of the issues I had initially was that the speech itself was not coming through loudly enough. I discussed this with my audiologist (who I bought the device from), and we came to the conclusion that the telecoil on my CIC was not powerful enough. I have since tried using my Oticon BTE back up hearing aids, and have confirmed that this was the problem. The quality of sound therefore has improved, but it does have the drawback that I would prefer to be using my primary hearing aids.
To focus on the Pen itself, there is an omnidirectional mode, where you point the Pen which creates a very narrow beam and will deliver speech (of the person who is talking) effectively, even in very very noisy environments. I can confirm that this works. There is also a kind of general mode, where you place the Pen on the table and this broadcasts to you. I have tried this in a couple of situations but was underwhelmed the first time around, possibly because I was using my Phonak Solana CICs.
In general, it is an interesting device. There is a direct cable for plugging into your Iphone etc, and there are also TV connections, and it can connect to your phone etc or any bluetooth device. The concern I would have is whether it will be a mainstay in my armoury as to use it I need to wear the Pen itself, the MyLink Receiver (both which go around my neck) and my back up BTE hearing aids. If you have wireless or DAI boot then it would be easier. With regard to discretion, you can actually put the Pen under your Jumper/shirt and the sound still comes through OK.
I think to judge how effective this is, will depend on your degree of loss to start off with. I have a moderately severe loss. And my Solanas perform pretty well anyway in noise. I tend to find that if I am having a problem - then so is my wife. If you cannot hear at all in noisy environments and your hearing aids don’t have the bells and whistles - directionality etc, then the Pen would I imagine, be a big improvement. Then again, I have to concede that I was able to hear my 7 year old daughter in a noisy restaurant (over 85DB), when virtually no one could hear her, with the Pen.
You can see the UK site where I got it from online here:
If you want to know any more, please let me know.