EpoqXW w/ Streamer - My Review

I am currently on Day 7 of my Epoq Trial & thought I’d share my observations…

My History:
I have a reverse slope loss (see stats below my signature).
I had tried in the past: Metrix 61, Destiny 1200 & Savia Art (did not buy feeling the results not worth the $$$)

Observations on Oticon EpoqXW:
The packaging: (Boxes they came in, casing for storage, etc)
Boxes were nicely finished & re-closable w/ magnetic latching.

Casings (Storage):
Vanity Top Box larger than most I have seen (similar to a jewelry box). It has one drawer w/ “leather” pull tab. The drawer has a tray insert and additional storage below the tray.
The tray insert is fitted for the hard shell HA storage case and has a place for tools.
The HA hard shell case has a sliding drawer with magnetic latch to stay closed.

Charging Dock:
Nice design touch with the Vanity Box is a removable block at the back which can be replaced by the charging dock for the Streamer for those who bought into the option (I did).
At the end of the day, I clean, park and charge my gear all at one place.
The remaining surface area on top is large enough to hold my glasses & change from my pockets. Works very nicely as a valet station.

EpoqXW Hearing Aids: Model BTE w/ Reciever in ear (Standard) Using Tulip Domes (custom mold would probably improve on my low frequency needs)
REM was done at the 1st fitting and program “tweaks” were made based on the REM
Audi did not set me up as a new user so I am currently testing at Goal settings (as opposed to stepping thru increased settings over time)

Casing: Larger than I expected but OK. Discrete enough.
Stays put pretty well. Can be crowded with my glasses frame.
(It would sit better on the ear if there was more tapering & rounding to the casing.)
Latch for battery door is tight. Might be hard to use if fine motor skills are challenged.

Battery Life: 16Hrs/day for 6.5 days before my right one died. 104 Hours No noticable reduction in function of aids before failure.

On Board Controls:
Rocker Switches, Left HA is set for Program switching, Right HA is set for Volume Control & Mic Mute. (each aid set to control the functions of both)
I like the one button controls both aids wireless capability of these.
Response time from aid to aid is acceptable. While there is a noticable lag, it is certainly less than it would be if I were switching manually on each. There is less lag noticed when changing volume than when changing programs.

AutoPhone works OK (Magnetic reed sw inside aids) this switch will over-ride all other active settings including if you are on a Streamer phone call or streaming music. Your Audi can turn off Auto Phone sw if desired. I use the AutoPhone sw for office phone & Streamer phone sw for cell phone. Not sure what I am going to use on home phone. (for now, auto-phone, but may upgrade there to bluetooth home phone)

Sound Quality - Pretty good, better than what I tried before, but rating this is very subjective. For my loss, the Mids & Highs tend o overpower my needed lows and this aid & reciever may not have the power req’d to get the low freq I need. Distortion is not too bad though the treble sounds sometimes seems “tinny”, however speech discrimination is greatly improved.
Noise reduction-General is so-so, but that may be because of a need to limit my low frequency “roll-back”. In previous aids I tried, when we used full NR program, I lost the lows I was trying to improve, so benefits cancelled each other out.
Speech in Noise:
Could be my imagination but, it is noticable when one aid seems to “cut-out” and the other seem to go directional. It can be distracting but the end result is, I can hear what the person is saying to me.
Music program Seems to just turn off the noise reduction functions so unless you are listening in a VERY quiet environment, it does not seem to be of benefit. (I’ll wait for symphony season to find out)

Directionality: This is a subtle thing but seems to work pretty well.

Over All:
My hearing range & speech discrimination have been greatly improved, The My voice feature is also subtle but just like noise reduction it is not an instant thing, when I start talking, I may sound too loud, but it adjusts pretty quickly.

So far these are performing pretty well especially when you consider this is on the 1st fitting with no extra tweaking to the settings and no custom ear molds.

Streamer: (using w/ Blackberry Pearl 8100)
Body & Case 3.5"x1.5"x.5" (Cord comes in 2 Lengths)
Looks like I am wearing an MP3 Player.
Phone Functions work great.
Voice Dialing: YES (if your phone supports it)
Remote functions also good. I like having the Streamer function for both phone & remote. (as compared to iCom where they are separate purchases.
Biggest challenge for phone use is the mic on the streamer. Could be more directional and less sensitive to wind. I hear everyone else but they now have trouble hearing me.

Battery Lasts all day even w/ bluetooth on all day & streaming music (via corded input) for extended periods. Music Streaming via bluetooth has been tested, but not for long periods (my phone will be upgraded soon!) so I am not sure what the battery impact will be for that.

Listening to music via telecoil: Mids & Highs come thru clear and bright with little distortion noticed, I can figure out the lyrics. Lows are not as good. Some seem to just be a bass buzz rather than a tone. But, l don’t know if this is a T-Coil limitation, Program settings, Reciever(speaker) power or HA Power or combinations of all. I still like to stream music, it is just limited and does not have the depth of listening thru the mics or with my ears. Loss of stereo and T-Coil out put are probably both in play on that score.

I like having the option to switch between listening with mics either on or off & switch on the fly as needed.

FYI, if you are on a Streamer Phone call, the default setting is mics still on (@ reduced volume), Default for streaming Audio is Mics off. You can change between on or off on the fly in either mode with a button push.

Downside to Streamer:
Not stereo like iCom (This is something that should be easily attainable by Oticon (requires different tuning for T-Coil reciever freq for each aid (L v. R) and dual channel output to the Loop.)

Neckloop has no clasp or plug closure Putting it on/off over the head, I get tangled on my earrings or aids. Length is not adjustable

I have not tried the iCom yet, but so far, from a cost standpoint as well as a “how many things do I have to carry @##%%%##!” stand, I am thinking the Stereo via telecoil on the iCom would have to be really amazing to offset the cost difference of Streamer where no extra $$ are spent for a separate remote.

Having said that, I still believe that choosing the aid that is most effective for my specific hearing loss & environment(s) should & will be the determining factor in what aid I ultimately buy, not the Streamer/iCom functions.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows what the limitations are via T-Coil for the Music or Low Frequency tones. And what changes I should consider to improve low freq sounds.