Design-integrated or universal receivers?

Should I decide to buy more Phonak hearing aids the design-integrated receiver is an option for me. On the one hand I think of flexibility, that I would not ever be able to use this receiver on any other hearing aid. On the other hand, unless I have a massive deterioration in hearing then the hearing aid itself should last me a good while. By the time that the hearing aid is in need of replacement I am sure that technology will have moved on so much that moving the universal receivers on to a new hearing aid will not be as desirable an idea as it first sounds, who knows what we may have by then?

I would be interested to find out what people have decided and if they have been unhappy with that decision for any reason since making the choice. Thanks.

I have just gotten a pair of DAI shoes for my Resound Azures so that I can try the Phonak Smartlink. I am using programs 3 and 4 on my aids for this trial period. Program 3 is smartlink+mic, and 4 is smartlink alone. The volume has a huge dropoff in program 4 and not really sure why. We have tried to jack up the volume to program 4 to no avail. The volume on program 3 seems okay but I have to deal with the background noise which may be a problem… Plus with the resound azures and the phonak smartlink I lose the advantage of the remote control. I just get the feeling, and I don’t really know for sure yet, that the design intergrated system would work better, and if I could wear phonak aids it would probably be the way to go. But again I have no way of making a comparison.

There is a process of “balancing” the FM system to the hearing aid aswell as just switching on direct input on the aids. I don’t know quite what is involved because my dept know nothing about it since the hearing aids are not provided by the same people as the FM system, and the person responsible for the balancing is a paediatric technician - handy! But do know it has more to it than when you plug in a body-worn radio aid. Perhaps the 4th program is not configured correctly between the hearing aid itself and the Phonak system? On most of the Phonaks you set much of the volume sensitivity on the transmitter. Some of the shoes also apparently have an attenuator in them because some of the direct input cables are really loud otherwise, having to cater for a range from mild to ultrapower in one shoe for some brands, so there may be a very well concealed volume control somewhere within the shoe itself.

I am about to have to persuade my department that it’s my hearing aid that has a faulty connection not the shoes, which is likely to be an uphill battle. The fact I have 4 shoes, all are brand new and all 4 connect fine on the R hearing aid and all 4 have trouble on the L side should be all they need to know…

I wonder if this is why they issue all Phonak aids at the children’s clinic. Not sure how I could find out their motivation, it would be interesting to know.

Program 3 is set up as fm+mic and the volume is fine on that. Program 3 has the same setting as program 1 which is my normal listening program,along with the smartlink fm+mic. Program 4 is strictly fm and there is where there is a huge decrease in volume. I can hear it but it’s pretty low, louder would be much more comfortable and would be a better test to see if the fm system really would make a difference in my life. Program 3 concerns me because it allows background noise in, which has always caused me to struggle. Again I just got this today and I’m still trying to get comfortable figuring out how it all works. Also anxious to see if the bluetooth connection with my cell phone helps in that regards to. This would be a major investment and it working in only certain aspects just wouldn’t cut it. My audi keeps bringing up CI’s but I’m not ready to travel down that road or make that type of commitment just yet.

I thought I wasn’t going to like the split program myself, but I have become quite a fan of it. It needs some careful balancing, though. If you have too much of the volume coming from the hearing aid gain then you do get a very low volume on the FM only program, and you can hear the environmental noise too much. I turn the hearing aid down and the FM volume up to get them to balance out properly so I can hear important environmental noises around the outside of the FM but not niggly stuff that I don’t need. In my case I can hear if the doorbell rings (extra loud ring), for example, but not if someone is talking. That also means that the FM only program has a good volume to it.

If I balance it up by having the hearing aid loud and the FM quiet, or 50/50, then neither program really seems to work very well. I only know how to balance the volume with body-worn (just twiddle the knob!) and Inspiro transmitters, though. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the Smartlink instructions about how to set the volume output.