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.
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.