Has anyone purchased HA's first and then bought a smart phone later?

#1

I’m some what unique in that I’m in my mid-sixties and have not used a cell phone. I have a Captel phone that works out well and my wife has her cell phone so we make out. Also my current HA’s are 2012 and back then bluetooth/streaming was not yet mainstream. In any case I probably should just continue the above and save myself some serious money/additional gray hairs and not buy a smartphone. But heck what’s happens if my car breaks down while on the road and I don’t have a cell phone (that’s the line I heard way back when for a reason to get a cell phone) among other reasons. In any case maybe I should join the masses, blow some money on a smart phone, pay a carrier a monthly fee, insure my cell phone, and probably lose it within the first year. I’ve read on HT the pros and cons on iPhone vs Android so I’m up to speed on that issue. So my question is what should one do if they are leaning towards Apple but scared off by iPhone XR reviews. It seems Apple has come out with a semi-lemon per following comment,

"According to various consumer reviews, the iPhone XR suffers from a litany of performance and connectivity issues. In addition, frustrated customers have reported numerous electronic gremlins. The kicker is that AAPL is still working on solutions. Therefore, if you come across an issue, you must hope a third-party resource has your answer. Also the iPhone XR screen resolution is outdated for a $750 and I’ve read that Phonak Marvel (and maybe other HA’s) are not connecting with with the iPhone X models. Yikes I’m also hesitant to buy older iPhones because technology changes so quickly and (if I buy) I prefer a larger screen then standard cell phones.

So my brain tells me to stay away from the XR but if I purchase new HA say April/May this year should I have a phone (in hand) to make sure I have I have good phone connectivity, seamless streaming and reliable incoming/outgoing verbal communication? Or am I taking a chance just buying HA’s and using them the old fashion way and then come Sept. or later possibly buying a new iPhone that works the way it should.

Decisions, decisions,

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#2

My choice of hearing aids was what made me choose the smart phone I use. I decided what was best for my hearing was more important than what smartphone or software I used

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#3

Oh I totally agree but don’t you also want to know (before buying HA) that your current smart phone connect/pairs well with aids you’re considering to buy? I feel some what bad for anyone owning a new iPhone XS, SX max or XR and not having a reliable connection with their new HA’s. I guess what I find some what perplexing is you do all the “homework” to try to figure out what HA is best for yourself (hearing wise) and then possibly find out the smart phone you have or could buy in the future might not be a “good match”. So I’m not talking the chicken before the egg but realize if I spend $750 on a cell phone it better dam work with my HA’s or I’m just throwing money to the wind.

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#4

I get my hearing aids from The Veterans Administration due to my hearing loss being service related. My first connected aids were Oticon back in 2008 they needed a streamer to be connected and at that time they only connected to iPhone or iPad. I now have my third set of Oticon’s this time they are MFI, made for IOS. But I have been with the VA long enough I know to ask for what I need and like.

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#5

If you’re starting fresh, this should definitely be a coordinated decision. My age bracket and scenario were similar to yours. (60’s and never had a smart phone) 1) If you’ve made it this far, I find it unlikely you’re going to be glued to your smartphone so you could just stick with your current flipphone?, pop a magnet and be good to go except if you want to play with a smartphone app. Some on here really love the control they get from a smartphone app, but I think the majority of us think it’s too much hassle for little gain and just use the hearing aid buttons. If I were buying fresh, before I bought my hearing aid, I’d want to know whether I was going with Android or iPhone. If Android, I’d choose the Phonak Marvel. If iPhone, then I’d pick one of the many made for iPhone hearing aids. Even though the Phonak is supposedly compatible with iPhone, it will never have the same compatibility that a made for iPhone hearing aid. If you don’t care which phone, then pick a hearing aid you like and then pick a phone. Assuming you are value oriented and don’t use a lot of data, I’d encourage looking into Consumer Cellular. Pretty affordable rates and they have decent prices for phones and you can also just buy an unlocked phone. I’m currently an Android user and bought an unlocked Nokia 6.1. (5.5 inch screen and 16:9 format (instead of long skinny screens) for $200. If you want iPhone, C Cellular offers the 6S+ for $300. The screen’s basically as wide as any iphone and maybe 1/2 inch shorter. Doubt you’re going to notice much difference. Apple is really good about updating their phones so you should be good for at least a couple of years and then you could spend another few hundred on something that will likely shame anything currently available. And you get to have a stereo jack on the 6S+

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#6

Count me among the latter.
Initially it’s a gee whiz cool look at that and then you put it down and just use the buttons.
Maybe with more controls via the app beyond what can be done with buttons then people would use it. As it is with my KS7’s I can do volume, program, power/standby, tone or mic focus.

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#7

Thanks MDB - I’m pretty much glued to my PC and doubt I’ll set any records for length of time on a smart phone. Three questions. Dumb one first - I understand that flip phones have bluetooth capability so any pros/ cons when using a Flip phone in conjunction with other HA’s devices? Can a flip phone connect/pair with more then one device? Guessing due to lower cost Flip phone won’t tie in or connect with new HA’s.

Regarding consumer cellular - any issues with their wireless connection and overall service. Reviews for consumer cellular are really negative, though I do like their low monthly fees.

Lastly will a flip phone allow you user to tie into HA app so you can adjust volume, adjust background setting noise, explore a view program settings? I’m not talking major software changes here but just standard adjustments like you might make with a hand held remote unit.

Since texting seems to of replaced email - flip phones probably a better choice for me - if I can still use phone to do a few minor HA adjustments.

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#8

If I may…
The Marvels are agnostic when it comes to connecting to a bluetooth device. In my opinion, that’s their advantage. Now, the bluetooth device has to be something more than (I think) around version 4.2 or something though.
Due to the massive market penetration of Android and Apple, you won’t see an app running on a little ol’ flip phone. Well…I suppose unless the flip phone is running either OS.
I find it way easier to type on a “keyboard” than pressing the 7 4 times to get an S.

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#9

That is find to just use the buttons on the aids if you have the buttons. A lot of us do not have the buttons and have to have the apps, and remotes. I personally prefer custom aids, and my Iphone and Apple watch over a remote control device.

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#10

I’m doubtful if flipphones can stream to hearing aids via bluetooth, but it might be possible with some. However, for taking calls, many (most?) hearing aids have a feature that if they sense a magnet, they will transmit the sound from the phone to both hearing aids.

I’ll stick with phones. I don’t think any flipphone will have an app that will allow hearing aid adjustment, however many (most?) hearing aids allow a lot of adjustment with push buttons on the hearing aids. I believe they’d allow most adjustments that a handheld remote would allow, but nothing like Resound’s Smartphone app.

I’ve had good luck with Consumer Cellular. It uses both T-mobile and ATT’s network so it has pretty good coverage. (Not as good as Verizon, but then I’m not paying $70 a month) Consumer Reports survey participants (no connection with Consumer Cellular) rated Consumer Cellular highest of any carrier. I think some people who knock Consumer Cellular are shills for the major carriers because they don’t like the competition. (Kind of like some of the negative feedback about Costco)

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#11

I’m probably in the minority but I like having a separate bluetooth device. I use Phonak hearing aids and the Phonak Compilot 2 Bluetooth device. I wear it around my neck, under my shirt. I can press the buttons through my shirt to change programs or adjust volume (or mute it for a siren).

I like being able to communicate with multiple devices quickly and simply. I take my personal tablet to work and listen to music on Spotify while I’m connected to my cell phone and my office phone. I answer whichever phone rings and the music is paused automatically.

I also have a soft phone on my work laptop so I can answer or call from my office phone when away from the office.

I also have a tv transmitter and a generic Bluetooth transmitter.

I don’t have the connection problems that you will read about here.

I have an Android phone but the Compilot 2 works with any phone with Bluetooth.

Also, you can connect an external lapel microphone to the Compilot 2 and I have that clipped to my collar, so that’s the only thing showing but no one notices.

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#12

I am in kind of a similar situation except I do not have a HA, yet. When I retired 11 years ago now I was really happy to give up my Blackberry and be done with answering those 1000’s of e-mails and phone calls, which mostly occur in the so called “off hours”. I have not rushed out to buy my own phone, and not missed it a bit.

Now that I am looking at HA’s I see most of them have bells and whistles features that allow them to talk to a smart phone. For simplicity I am leaning toward a HA that does not need a smart phone to function well.

That said, I am considering a Costco KS 8.0 HA if it turns out to be suitable for my hearing loss. It talks to both Android and iPhones. However if you want to stream music or phone calls directly to your HA’s I believe only the iPhone does that. If you want to use your phone as a remote control (change programs and a few basic things) for your HA’s an Android or iPhone will work.

I recently got my wife an unlocked Moto G6 android phone from Costco in Canada for about $200. Probably less in the US. The older Samsung Android it replaced is now without an active SIM card and just collecting dust. I downloaded the Connexx Smart Direct App to it and it seemed to install fine. The Android version of 4.4 was just new enough… So, if I do end up with the KS 8.0 HA I will have an old clunky remote for it, but I will not be able to stream music or phone calls to it. My plan is to see how useful it really is and then decide about activating this phone with a plan, or buying a new one. The Moto G6 at Costco seems to be a reasonable deal. And I see now in Canada they have an unlocked iPhone for $300. But, that is a down the road decision for me. The HA will come first.

As far as using an old flip phone to talk to your HA’s I think that is unlikely. I suspect most HA’s require either an Android or iPhone operating system on the phone to make it work. The starting point would be to look at the operating system requirements for the app that works with your HA. It should specify what you need, but I suspect is is more than just Bluetooth…

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#13

I think the Costco Phonak Brio 3 will do bluetooth phone calls to one ear and use the HA mics.
Your old Samsung might work fine for that depending on its version of bluetooth.

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#14

The feature on the KS8 is called Xphone. I’m not quite sure how this works on the KS8, but I don’t think it’s bluetooth. If it’s not bluetooth, I would think it could work on a flipphone.

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#15

My limited understanding of how the Xphone system works in the KS8 is that the magnet on the phone initiates the Xphone mode. The HA on that side then uses the HA build in binaural communication to transfer the phone side audio to the other side. If that is the way it works then the phone audio goes to the HA microphone, and from there to the other HA. And I would hope that in the process it corrects the audio to be suitable for the opposite ear. But that may be just my wishful thinking.

The bottom line is that if one puts the magnet on the flip phone then it should work. Or, the other option is to turn on the Xphone using a program dedicated to it.

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#16

Exactly right…

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#17

I guess the other aspect that I forgot to include is that if one goes the direct streaming route with a iPhone then you bypass the phone analog to HA microphone part and go straight to the HA with a left and right signal. It should offer better audio quality.

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#18

I dabbled with XPhone to see how it works but I’m fortunate that my hearing isn’t so bad that I can’t hear the phone naturally.

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#19

Do you have any cites for this claim? I’ve been with CS for close to 15 years and could not possibly be happier. The few times I’ve had to call they have answered the phones promptly and have been extremely knowledgeable and very polite as well. Plus their prices for both data and phones simply cannot be beat IMO. Great company.

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#20

You might want to “google” consumer cellular and do your own checking. Customer service might be lacking though I’m just going by user comments. Pice wise I agree they probably can’t be beat and since they piggy back ATT network I would assume have pretty decent coverage.

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