Hearing Aids, Bluetooth and Public Safety

I thought y’all might be interested in a letter I recently emailed to Oticon in the USA and in Denmark. Although I do know that the Streamer is supposed to last 7 hours (and I’m investigating getting it upgraded to version 1.4 to see if that makes a difference), I’m hoping that Oticon takes this seriously and tries to come up with longer life for the Streamer, for the reasons I note below.

For your information, my department uses Motorola XTS5000 portables, for which I (with my own money) bought the Motorola RMN5104 Bluetooth adapter. While it comes pre-paired with the truly awful 98682H headset (Google it - I’m too new to post a link to the Motorola product page), you can manually pair it to any Bluetooth headset. It just forgets the pairing if you turn off the radio.

And, since this is my first posting: “hi!” If Oticon writes back, I’ll let you know.:slight_smile:


Good day,

  I am writing because I just purchased two brand new Oticon hearing       aids and a Streamer (version 1.2 software).  This is my first time       wearing two hearing aides, and they are wonderful.  Particularly       useful to me is the Streamer, which allows me to pair Bluetooth       devices for direct connection to the hearing aides.  However, all       is not perfect in hearing-land.
  I am a police officer and, as such, carry a portable two-way radio       with me all day on which I rely for critical, often life saving       information.  If I were to lose contact with fellow officers or my       department, my life would be in serious jeopardy.
  I am writing because many of the public safety radio manufacturers       (Motorola, Kenwood, Standard-Vertex) offer Bluetooth adapters for       their portable radios that allow them to be paired with any of the       various commercial headsets you see around.  These headsets are       generally designed for light duty, where background ambient noise       is an issue.  However, because I wear Oticon aides that can be       paired to my two-way portable radio, I am able to hear and       understand critical radio communications delivered 'straight to my       ear' even in high noise areas.  This greatly improves my safety as       an officer and my ability to serve and protect the public.  I wear       the Streamer under my uniform shirt.
  Well, not quite.  Having used my Streamer for a few weeks now, I       find that it has, at most, a three hour battery life.  If I rely       on the Streamer to 'connect' me to my radio, I have only a three       hour window of use before the Streamer goes dead (often without       warning).  Now, all of a sudden I can't hear my radio or, if I       call for help, can't hear whether they heard me.  My life is now       at risk.  Given these alternatives, I'm sure you can see why I can       no longer rely on the Streamer, and indeed can only wear <i><b>one         </b></i>hearing aid on duty (and not two), because I need to       keep the other ear available so I can insert the acoustic air tube       of a commercial wired radio earpiece that allows me to hear       reliably.  But I'm still at a disadvantage, because I have to       leave one hearing aid out.
  I can't afford to buy enough Streamers to get through a 10 or 12       hour duty shift (often extended through overtime in response to       community needs), and then recharge them all over the house to get       ready for the next day.  So I am wondering:  <b>why doesn't Oticon (or whoever makes these           things - I've seen them branded with other names while I've done           my research) make a Streamer with a battery that will last for           fifteen hours?</b>  It's easy enough to hang something       twice as thick/wide/long around my neck as it is to hang the       regular Streamer.  I can't risk having a separate battery to plug       into the existing Streamer - if it gets disconnected I lose the       ability to hear my radio.  And I need to both hear the world, and       hear my radio.  Three hours is too short.
  If you make a Streamer with a longer battery life, Oticon may well       find the world beating a path to its door for other purposes.  My       colleagues in the Secret Service that are assigned to protecting       government executives such as the President would willingly       purchase hearing aides (even if they didn't need them) that would       also allow them to be connected reliably to the lifeline of their       two-way radio through Bluetooth.  Other disciplines that need       reliable connectivity would also invest in this alternative - the       entertainment industry comes to mind (actors that need reliable,       but discreet, communications to the production team), or sports       (football players communicating with their coach; racing drivers       with their crew chief).  If it had a 'fast charge' capability, so       much the better.
  This seems simple (same Streamer, bigger backplate for a bigger       battery), but I want to hear back from you about this.  I would be       happy to be a beta tester of a larger Streamer unit, especially       since I know I can revert to my existing unit if the old one goes       dead, and at least get a small window of time until I can remove       one aid and replace it with a mechanical acoustic tube to connect       to the radio.
  I look forward to your response.

Just thought I’d mention that I had a similar problem with a Resound Phone Clip. The battery life is great on standby but if heavily used it dies rather quickly. I have sent my phone clip to an engineer that a friend (who has the same aids and phone clip) hired to fix an outgoing voice quality problem that is a known issue with the phone clip. The reason I mention it here is because while discussion the outgoing voice problem with the engineer, I also asked if there was anything that could be done about the battery life. He told me that while he was searching for parts to modify the circuit (to make it sound like a regular phone), he came across a similar size battery that has almost double the capacity. He also told me that he’s located a battery for the streamer (the Resound streamer does not have an internal battery). I was also interested in this so I can make it truly portable! I just sent the clip and the streamer out this week so I don’t have them back yet to verify the increased battery time, but he seems to know what he’s talking about (not to mention already did a fantastic job with a friend’s phone clip). If you think it might help you, PM me and I’ll forward you the engineer’s contact information.

I’ve got Streamer 1.3 running and it most definitely does not get 7 hours of streaming. I’d guess it’s more like 3-4 maximum, and my unit is new as of December.

I’m interested to hear if you get any response. It would be very handy to have a streamer you could replace the batteries in. At the rate I use mine (daily) I fear the battery will die from all the charging/discharging in under a year. I dont think this would work for your situation, but its worth mentioning you can charge and actively use the streamer at the same time. I do that at my desk - have it charging while it streams music.

best wishes.

I had an idea at lunch today that I thought might work for you. You can get external batteries that output USB power. Maybe you could slip one in a pocket or something to give you a full day of streaming?

Heres an example, there are many other kinds though - http://us.kensington.com/html/13883.html