Connecting to MacBook Pro - what works for Marvels

WOOOoOooOOOO! Today has been a day of DISCOVERY for me! I wanted to share what works for Phonak Marvels + MacBook Pro (2019 or newer) in terms of pairing & connecting to my Marvel aids:

Connecting to my own laptop: NO TV Connector is needed anymore! Apparently, these newer Macs have something built in so you can just pair your aids with the laptop via:

  1. Under your Mac’s System Preferences, open Bluetooth
  2. Now take your aids OUT, open/shut the battery door, and let them sit near the laptop till they’re “found”.
  3. The app window should show they’re “Connected”. If not, repeat process - but be patient, cuz it may take almost a minute to get them paired up to the laptop initially.
  4. ALSO: you may need to re-connect these if you’ve got other devices paired up with the aids - at least that is my experience as I’m paired up with my Samsung S6 cell phone, too.

The good news is that ONLY YOU will be able to hear the audio when you stream this way. Donate your TV Connector if you’ve been using this device forever connected to the laptop as I (in ignorance!) have been. You don’t NEED it for newer Macs.

Connecting to a shared laptop: Many times hubs & I will watch a show together on his laptop. Now I can stream to that device while he can hear the sound through the laptop’s speakers. For this one, you’ll need a Bluetooth (BT) dongle - like the Sennheiser BT 500 USB dongle I just got tonight from Amazon.com.

  1. Plug the dongle into a USB A-to-C adapter if needed (which it will be for newer Macs).
  2. The blue light on the Sennheiser dongle will flash, then stay ON once it’s paired with your aids. This may take a good minute or so, so be patient.
  3. Under your Mac’s System Preferences, go to Sound, where you’ll see the Sennheiser in the list under Output devices
  4. Select that as your sound Output and you should be able to stream audio to your aids while AT THE SAME TIME your partner can hear the audio through the Mac’s speakers.

Hope that makes sense.

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Sounds like you’ve had considerable success! (And you’ve got essentially new hearing aids too!)

Yeah Baby

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Please let us know how battery consumption is using standard bluetooth with your new setup; my personal experience was that using standard bluetooth consumed batteries much faster - about every day or two - compared with using the TV Connector with my MacBookPro. My understanding was that Phonak claims that their TV connector uses a “special proprietary” transmission method rather than standard bluetooth. I get much longer battery use using the TV Connector.
But maybe the difference is that my MBP is a mid-2012, which has built-in optical as an option for the audio port, as I recently discovered.

Nate, I’m probably not a good source for battery life info given my relatively LOW use of streaming from my MacBook Pro.

Most of my streaming is done on the Samsung TV - and for that, a TV Connector is still used. I watch about 2-3 hrs of TV a day max. Even so, I have found that when I use the TV Connector to stream to the TV, my HA batteries would tend to give me about 6-8 hrs LESS use during that week. Noticeable, but not critical, cuz I just change the batteries on the 6th day of use no matter if they’re both still working.

For my MacBook Pro, I’d stream maybe 20 min of news stories a couple times a week. MONTHS ago I had an external drive plugged into the Mac to watch DVDs, and once in a BLUE MOON I watch an Amazon series on the Mac, but I don’t do a lot of streaming on the laptop - probably cuz it sits at the dining table with uncomfy chairs.

I doubt I’d ever stream to the laptop enough for a significant, scientific estimate of battery drain using the laptop vs a TV Connector, but if I get back to watching “Bosch” I will definitely weigh in here! Would be very interesting to know.

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SO! Now I have to add a caveat to all this connectivity DRAMA going on with my Phonak Marvel aids, Samsung S6 cell phone and MacBook Pro laptop (2019): It appears that my aids can ONLY be paired with ONE of these at a time. No ands, ifs or buts about it!

I found out today as I was making a phone call. Dang cell phone was NOT streaming calls to my aids! Wassup with that? Turns out my Marvels are connected (and streaming beautifully!) with my MacBook Pro!

No amount of “forgetting”, disconnecting, unpairing, un-connecting, powering ON and OFF the cell phone would allow my aids to stream. In fact the only way I got them to stream with the cell phone was to go to my laptop and manually REMOVE the Marvels from Bluetooth over there.

I want to tear my hair out! I’d already found out (annoyingly!) that I can ONLY pair up ONE set of Phonak aids to my cell phone. It simply won’t “find” the 2nd pair if I already have my Marvels paired up - the Audeo B’s will NEVER be found (and v.s.).

Now it appears that the Phonak aids - like a dumb automaton that can do only one thing at a time - can only pair up to ONE DEVICE throughout the universe at once. It’s either going to be a cell phone, a laptop, or a single other device. That’s IT. Oh, I can use the TV Connector and bypass the hassle, but I was so excited when I got my Marvels paired up to the MacBook Pro! Now it’s all for naught.

The #1 appliance I need to be paired up with at all times is my cell phone! So unless I want to spend literally 3-5 min with dis-connecting/forgetting/unpairing the aids on ONE device in order to pair it up with another, I may as well forget about pairing the aids to ANYTHING but one single device.

Is Oticon similarly deranged and compromised like Phonak aids? What kind of world do we live in if we can only pair up the aids directly (with no dang dongle or other somesuch) with a single device at a time?

I’d call Phonak Customer Support and ask them … but I bet they’d just write me off as a lunatic. Now I’m bugged.

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You should be able pair the Marvels to two devices. (I keep mine paired to two computers) However, they can only be connected to one device at a time. (Is it possible they’re also paired to the Sennheiser BT?) The Phonak Paradise can be paired with 8 devices and connected to two.

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While technically I can “pair” the aids to 2 devices (which is completely unacceptable in a world full of BT devices!) it’s just too much of a hassle to dis-connect and re-connect the aids over and OVER throughout the day to these devices.

Imagine: I start the day with my aids paired to both cell phone and laptop. If I’m connected to the laptop (as I was first thing today) the phone rings. I answer, but the call doesn’t stream to my aids at all! OH! So I tell the caller: “Hold on for 10 min. I gotta disconnect my aids from my laptop downstairs.” DOH.

It’s just not workable! So I’ve now decided to go back to LOW TECH: I’ll just keep my Phonak aids paired and connected to my cell phone. I’ll plug the TV Connector into my laptop again and that way I’ll never have to worry about the cell phone not streaming audio.

Sigh.

Perhaps the Paradise can actually pair with 8 devices and connect to two … but I’ll BELIEVE that when I HEAR that, seriously. It’s just very squirrely in the BT universe when it comes to HAs.

I’m pretty sure some of the forum have developed quick ways to switch. @Blacky should be able to confirm the 8 pairings and two connections for the Paradise.

First comment - Bluetooth was never originally intended for things like high quality audio, etc. It has been patched on but the amount of information that can be carried over Bluetooth is insufficient to enable really high quality audio if there is any interference or too many other Bluetooth devices connected and operating.

So there are compromises. Oticon and many other hearing aid manufacturers, unlike Phonak, signed up years ago for Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low energy for hearing aids, designated MFi. MFi hearing aids will connect to iPhones, iPads, and iPods as long as they are not too old. MFi hearing aids will NOT connect directly to computers, Android smartphones unless both the phone and hearing aids implement the fairly new Android version of low energy Bluetooth similar to MFi, and other devices like my Bluetooth enabled Cisco VOIP phone at my office. To connect to anything other that an iDevice, MFi aids use some intermediate streamer to convert classic Bluetooth to MFi to connect the computer bluetooth to the aids. In some cases, the computer Bluetooth isn’t implemented correctly or completely and the connection to the intermediary device fails - many times that can be fixed by using a USB Bluetooth dongle instead of the built-in computer bluetooth.

In the case of Oticon OPN, OPN S, and now More, the intermediary device is the Oticon ConnectClip. It can also act as a remote control for the hearing aids. I have used mine to connect to my home iMac Pro and my work MacBook Pro and my office VOIP phone. With my iMac, I have had to use the Sennheiser BTD 800 dongle provided with my ConnectClip. I don’t need it with my MacBook Pro.

I have both an iPhone and an iPad. Both can be paired at the same time to the aids and, according to Apple, both can be connected and the device in use is supposed to take control. In my experience, this does NOT work reliably, if at all, even with the latest version of iOS/iPadOS. So I keep both my iPhone and iPad paired to the aids but turn off the Bluetooth in the device I’m not using. So most of the time, unless I’m using Zoom or similar on the iPad, the iPad Bluetooth is off so the phone works as I expect. The phone and the computer can both be connected by using the ConnectClip. If an Oticon aid user has an Android phone, the phone and ConnectClip can be paired and connected so the Android phone can be used with the aids but I have no experience with this.

The Oticon ConnectClip can pair with up to 8 devices. It can connect to only one of those eight devices at a time and, at times, it is an adventure to get it to connect to the one you want rather than the first one it finds when powered on. Oticon and the other MFi aid manufacturers usually offer a number of connectivity devices - Oticon also offers a TV adapter and a wired phone line adapter and a remote control for example. The ConnectClip has a microphone array that is directional so it can be used as a remote microphone as long as it is aimed correctly.

In my experience, Bluetooth connected hearing aids are useful in many cases. However, it is by NO means reliable and glitch free and there are many compromises that may cause issues.

One thing I noticed recently - the manual for my iMac suggests no more than 3 Bluetooth connections for reliable operation. As the computer came with 3 Bluetooth devices (keyboard, mouse, and trackpad) this is an interesting limitation :slight_smile:

Also, Bluetooth operates in the same basic 2.5 GHz band as does older WiFi and other unlicensed services. And your microwave may provide interference if it is older and the door seal is failing. So a variety of things may cause interference and reduce the performance of Bluetooth or even cause it to drop out.

Fun times!

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Some here can do what others cannot do. The difference does not have to do with the technical capabilities of the devices. But rather the willingness to listen and learn.

Wow biggar, your informative post was like a soothing, calm balm to my raw wounds! I can say, “Now I get it!” I had no idea about the history of Bluetooth, or the common occurence of connectivity issues (whether in the Apple or Android worlds). Yeah, that puts it in a much better perspective for me to just “carry on”…

I should focus on the MIRACLE of being able to hear SO WELL with my Marvels. I can actually converse with my hubs when he’s downstairs and I’m upstairs. Plus, music sounds tolerably good with them. And I think the Acoustic Phone program is fabulous for using the random landline…

I used to have Oticon aids with a TV Connector, so I’m super familiar with the necklace format for connecting to TV or phone - great for hands-free use! Now I’ve got it pretty good with no necklace needed at all with my Marvels, but still I want to sPanK! them when they refuse to pair up with my Android phone! As I was trying to pair up “new device” on the phone yesterday, that phone found: my laptop, hubs’ laptop, a neighbor’s SCHLAGE door lock (no kidding - should I have tried to break in?), my microwave - had NO idea that was possible, our Wahoo KICKR exerbike, and maybe 2 other schmeasly devices I didn’t need. But no Phonaks. Could not find 'em. I rebooted the phone, then did my own Black Magic: placed the aids near the phone with battery doors open, then closed 'em. Yup. That worked. That in itself seems kind of moronic, but I can live with it.

We are actually transitioning away from anything Apple in our household: their new architecture seems to want CONTROL over everything, and that always makes me jittery, cuz next thing you know, your own AIDS will be under the thumb of some external force.

I was sad to return the Sennheiser dongle today. It was a tiny, powerful tool. But I just don’t have the patience to monkey around with Bluetooth ON! OFF! Pair UP! Re-CONNECT! I just want that phone to stream audio to my ears 100% of the time, and nothing else matters.

It is nevertheless interesting that Oticon’s ConnectClip pairs up to 8 devices! I’d ditched Oticon back in 2016 cuz their ConnectClip simply never came out months into the purchase of my OPNs. I do love the Phonak sound quality.

Main thing you nailed is: it’s an unreliable, uncertain world with Bluetooth! I have my MacBook Pro paired with a keyboard AND trackpad cuz it sits on an ergonmetric stand! No wonder Phonak BT is squirrelly there. I had 3 devices paired and connected at once. Lesson learned, and much obliged for your insights! It’s why I love hangin’ here.

Currently I have my Paradise paired to 4 devices. I can confirm that they work great while connected to my phone and a second device. I can stream a video or meeting in my laptop and answer phone calls or reciever text alerts without a problem.

I think you will find that the issue about pairing with multiple devices is that they can only be actually connected to one at any time.

So if your HAs are paired with your phone, you need to put your phone out of range or turn the Bluetooth on the phone off for a minute. Then restart the HAs and they will connect to something else they are paired with if it’s in range, so your MacBook for example. Once they are connected to that, you can bring your phone back into range or turn the Bluetooth on again and the HAs will stay connected to the MacBook.

Similarly the other way round. Some HAs will automatically connect to the first thing they find that they are paired with, and if that goes off line or out of range then the HA automatically connects to the next thing it finds that it is paired with. (Resound do this).

The important point is to understand that the HA can be paired with more than one thing at the same time but only connected to one thing at once.

An analogy might be that you can have several books that you are reading (are paired with) in a pile by your chair but you can only read (be connected to) one at a time.

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WOW!!! I like that! Also, the Paradise, being Phonak’s newest entrant to the market, is boasting better sound quality. Is that what you find, too?

But really, being paired to 4 devices and connected to TWO at once with no issues? Pinch me, I’m dreaming. You don’t even have to take one of those devices out of BT mode?

You NAILED it alright with my Phonak Marvels. It seems that even if I take my cell phone out of BT mode, it needs to be re-paired and then re-connected if I used any other BT device (like my MacBook Pro). I could not wrap my head around the logic of it, other than to observe that the willful aids would always seem to “favor” exactly the device I did NOT want to use at the moment.

But you’re spot-on about my Marvels being able to “pair” to both the cell phone and laptop, yet only “connect” (or STREAM) to just one of them.

If the Phonak Paradise is as flexible as zuikoholic’s tho, I’d sure want to spring for a pair!

I did not spend a lot of time trialing the Marvel but I felt the sound was better with the Paradise.

If there is more than 2 of your bluetooth sources in proximity then you will need to shut off the extra ones. As an example i had zoom meeting today. I was in my office with my laptop, desktop and phone. Aids are paired to all three. I was streaming the zoom meeting on my laptop. I simply turnedvblu

@NateS if it helps, for rechargeables TV connection eats 3 times less than BT connection, averaging 10% of battery for each hour of BT classic vs around 3h for 10% in tv connector connection.

I cannot, since I don’t have that much BT devices to pair them to :rofl:
2 connections I can confirm.

However, I can’t say that my marvels behaved any differently than my paradises in terms of pairing, but I might be forgetting it all.
What I’m saying, between two devices marvels definitely held their pairings. I can’t remember if I ever tested with three devices, so it’s entirely possible that marvels don’t work with 3.
Paradises work with all I’ve tried, so that’d be 1 phone, 1 laptop, one amazon fire tablet (I remember pairing with it and having zero issues with other, but I didn’t use the tablet since then), but if it’s needed I can double check if all pairings are alive and well and probably I can invent few more (by stealing phone from by hubby for experimental purposes) :rofl:

connected in terms that they will accept stream that’s send into aids, but they won’t stream simultaneously from both streams, just to be clear :slight_smile:
So yeah, seamless switching is working, after you give them time to properly connect at the beginning (like, don’t look/use it for a few minutes) - that part frustrated me when I came from marvels onto paradise. With marvels, you shut down all bt sources and turn on bt source you want, and marvels instantly connect. With paradises, they drag like a dead horse. But once (finally) connected, they really do well. Also, you need to keep in mind that they react to any active streaming (even if that stream is silent notification), and also that phone stream has precedence, and also that if you watch video on laptop and then pause, do some streaming on the phone, come back to video on laptop it might not continue streaming - best way is to actually stop and restart the video, or even whole player. (tested on youtube)

So, it’s finicky to figure out how it behaves, but once you do, yes, they work nice.

However, I didn’t have issues with my marvels back then. But I had to religiously shut down all unwanted BTs in order to make marvels connect to the BT I want.
So, pay attention to that, maybe your marvels will do fine with you as well.

For beginning, start with just 2 paired devices, and switch between them. And after you really are confident that you can all the time make them stream what you want, then introduce the third device. And see if it’s really limitation to pairing.

I really can’t remember if marvel’s limit really is just 2 paired devices… I keep seeing that here, but I don’t remember what user manual said.

Also, if it’s really limit of 2 devices, then think which devices you want.
Also, tv connector uses non BT pairing, so using it for laptop streaming is perfectly good solution.

As for sound, I can’t say that I’ve noticed THAT better sound, I even compared them back to back and switching one and other between my ears while listening the same tv program (and repeating the same minute over and over again). Listening with aids alone. No difference. Granted, I wore open domes back then.

I’d try to figure out marvels first. And then only if you REALLY need pairing to 3 devices and marvels really have limit of 2, and you’d rather buy new aids than tv connector, then testing paradises might make sense.
I mean, you said you’re streaming like 20 minutes a week/month from laptop? I’d just use tv connector for that, and have another one for TV, and turn them on and off as needed :rofl:

However, I have no clue if marvels have limit to how many tv connectors they can be paired to. Can’t recall that people with two ever said that they need to repair them all the time depending on in which room they are.
If you’re REALLY curious, I can ask my fitter for his tv connector and test with mine and his at the same time. :slight_smile: but that won’t be any time soon

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I can vouch for three Phonak TV connectors will pair with one set of Phonak Marvel aids. Works great.

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