How reliable should streamer connection be?

I have a new set of Rexton Finesse CIC aids and the Mini Blu streamer. This is my first time with a bluetooth streaming device. While I like it, I expected a more robust connection than I am experiencing.

  1. The weakest link is from streamer to my aids. I understand that the streamer must be in close proximity to the aids for them to work, but I’ve had it within one foot, held out in front of my face so nothing was blocking, and yet still experienced dropouts or lack of connectivity. I’ve also been laying down listening to music from my phone with the streamer on my chest and experience dropouts in one ear or the other. (The right ear is more frequent.) That is much poorer than I expected.

  2. Sometimes when I take or make a phone call, one aid will switch on, but not the other. That seems related to the positioning of the streamer. Apparently the streamer sends a little bit of data to each aid to make them switch modes, and if one of the aids missed the signal, it never happens.

  3. Connection from my TV streamer seems great. I can go to the kitchen (the next room) and still be listening to the TV with only minimal dropouts. I can even go to the second floor of the house and still hear it.

  4. That being said- one evening it seemed I was having real difficulty obtaining constant streaming to both ears from my TV, with me right in the room with it. It seemed like a big drop in performance. Then it dawned on me- we were experiencing a severe thunderstorm at the time of my trouble. After the storm was over, performance seemed to get back to normal.

I realize that there is a trade-off between streamer performance and HA battery life but as this is my first experience I don’t know how my experience compares to other users / other brands.

Your comments will be appreciated.

Very reliable! If I could lower the threshold at which the HA’s quit listening to the streamer, I would lower it all the way to the bottom!!

I have a Bernafon Soundgate, which electronically almost identical to Oticon’s streamer. (We don’t get the Euro port plug :frowning: ) And the main reason for the difference in dropouts seems to be competing magnetic fields. A friend of mine, who has to design and implement Bluetooth devices for the medical market, goes to the toilet every time they have to pair two bleutooth devices. There they have set up a small table and make use of the apparently low background noise on the 2.4 GB band in that location.
I live in a residential area with about 60 WiFi routers screaming and when I try to pair a Bluetooth device to my PC, I see at least 3 devices that are not in my house.

When I stream audio via the Phonak Roger Pen (+Roger Mylink), which uses FM and a stereo cable for the connection of the pen to my Soundgate, I haven’t experienced dropouts yet.

So yes, it is annoying that the people who made the streamers, didn’t foresee that Bluetooth would mess up their product. They should have expected short connection drops and worked around it. Now my HA’s switch back to the program and generate the corresponding number of beeps right in the middle of music. Rather annoying!

EDIT: To obscure the issue, I did test the dropouts with a cable from my phone directly to the audio input of the streamer. I got less dropouts, but still some of them. Seeing the new results with the Roger Pen, I can only conclude that my rather old HTC Desire is not good at keeping the line alive—whether it’s Bluetooth or stereo cable.

EDIT2: See post #12. Get a new one. Apparently, they should stream faultlessly.

I use a Phonak CommPilot with Phonak Aids. I get dependable bluetooth as long as I am within about 30 feet of the bluetooth device.

So would you say my experience sounds typical of streamers, or not so much?

Thank you for your input.

My HA dispenser still qualifies them as gadgets, rather than actual tools. It’s annoying, but I am starting to get convinced that it is typical. It is 4 machines, 3 connections and sometimes their interaction stutters. Apparently, not enough has been done to reduce that.

Nowadays, every brand has to have streaming devices just to make their hearing aids compatible. And they don’t really work together at it. So most brands are driven by their marketing teams to produce those devices, not by their engineers. Oticon (and Bernafon) are quite new to the business of Solo hearing equipment. Bernafon as a daughter company of Oticon just repackaged the electronics (See picture below).
It could be that Phonak has ironed out more cracks, because they have been at the pioneering front for Solo Hearing Equipment for a lot of years. They moved from Bluetooth to FM for the longer distances up to 20m. So that may be a clue that Bluetooth really is not ideal. It also might be a clue that is just very expensive to license, though.

Internal photo’s of the FCC declaration of Bernafon’s Soundgate 2(left) and Oticon’s Streamer Pro(right). You can see the missing header for the DAI Europlug at the top. All the other parts seem identical, though.

@Brad109 I missed your post when replying. It seems to support my suggestions, though. I will test whether Smartphone>Roger Pen>Roger Mylink>Soundgate3>Chronos9 HA’s gives me an uninterrupted sound. It is rather a lot of tools though, compared to Smartphone>Soundgate3>Chronos9 HA’s.

I take it you’re basing this on your experience rather than actual facts?

Phonak FM has been out for more than 10 years: the Tech behind the Roger Pen is pretty ancient. Though the Mlx shoes allow it to be cross platform.

The Oticon streamer was one of the first Bluetooth solutions, albeit mono.

The original Phonak Bluetooth solution ICube was ok but didn’t have loads of battery life.

Resound offered one of the first non neck-loop solutions and has been up there with the direct iOS app functionality.

Starkey also offers a wireless solution using both 900mhz operation and iPhone integration.

Siemens streamers have been later to the party, but seem to have some of the best functionality.

Widex uses a bespoke solution, that varies between mono and stereo depending on the streaming device you choose.

I have been using the Oticon streamers now for almost 5 years, I love the streamer even with it being mono. My use is for cell phone connection, music streaming from my cell, podcast from my cell, read my book to me from a android tablet, also I have and use the TV connect and the phone connect from my home phone. It all works great. I just have to be careful to what I am connected to seeing I have more devices paired to it that it can handle at any one time. Oh yes the streamer pro also has t-coil that works with the movie theaters so I can here the voices much better. My streamer battery last all day for my normal usage. The only issues I have had is the fact that it will only connect to 5 devices at any time and I have to ensure that I do not have the bluetooth on on the other devices when I turn on my streamer.

Very nice how you are able to oppose those seemingly intertwined concepts. :slight_smile:
Thanks for the overview, though!

Yesterday evening I had the disconnection issue for the first time with the RogerPen+RogerMyLink while watching TV and talking to the missus. The same problem I get when doing the dishes while listening to music: When I turn my head, the connection is temporarily lost in one ear–not necessarily the same one, but much more in one than the other.

No Bluetooth involved, so the culprit seems to be that when you quickly rotate the hearing aid in a magnetic field at a >30° angle the connection is temporarily lost.

@greghahn Didn’t you say that you got disconnections while laying on your bed? Were you lying still? Then we have to look for another reason. My hearing aid dispenser suggested low batteries as a something that may have an impact.

@cvkemp Would be nice to eliminate it and get the results you describe. As I have virtually the same device–just a bit newer technology to produce it cheaper it seems,-- I would love to have the same results. I found that the newer versions were actually trying to switch to the Bluetooth device that is generating an audio stream. It’s working far from flawless, though, so to reduce the hassle I still turn of the other devices…Pairing is now up to 8 devices for Oticon StreamerPro and Bernafon Soundgate 2 and 3.

Yes. Laying in my bed on my back with streamer laying on my chest and streaming MP3s from my phone. But I don’t recall where my phone was at the time because I didn’t think that would be the issue. It might have been.

Today I was walking and listening to my streamer with my phone in my back pocket. Audio was cutting in and out. Moving my phone to my front pants pocket cleared up that issue.

Yep. Recognize that one. I even remember that changing top to bottom in the same pocket would change the quality of the connection. So rather than just assuming it’s Bluetooth or it’s the neck loop or it’s the HA I will treat them as one complex system, where an change in the orientation of the parts might have an impact on the functioning of the whole. I think that is a nice way of saying that I am learning to life with the “less reliable” version of these streamers.

Did buy Rayovac Proline* batteries, though. I’ll post if it makes a difference.

(*I already used Rayovacs, so the upgrade seemed straightforward. But apparently, Duracell and Kirkland-whatever are the top of the bill batteries to try next.)

Allright. So the short answer to our questioning is —as was implied by Brad109 and Cvkemp-- get a new one!

Both my mother’s and my Soundgate 3 had interrupted audio. She lost hers, got a new one and the discontinuity in music was gone: This means that the problem wasn’t with our Chronos 9’s.
Nowadays Bernafon finally made their app Android-ready (their terminology). So as both her new one and my half year old one needed to get a firmware upgrade to be Android ready, we had to send our SG3’s in for repair. Two days later we got 2 brand new SG3’s which were indeed android ready. No more discontinuity in at least 8 hours of listening to music.

Nobody knew the reason why it didn’t work, not my audiologist nor the people at Bernafon. Nobody cared. They just replaced them and the music is good!

The position of the Streamer on your body is important. It should be on your chest and you should use the shorter neck loop if possible. It utilizes a super low power proprietary inductive network and if the Streamer hangs to the side you will lose connection. This is true for audio streaming only, you can change HA programs and HA volume from a greater distance.

How does Rexton’s Smart Connect relate to their Blu RCU?

Does the Blu RCU just connect to the TV? and stream to the Smart Connect. I’m not impressed with this smart connect I have, but really would like to bluetooth from TV to HAs without an audio delay, and having trouble getting that to work. The other night I wanted to watch a movie. Using just the HAs to watch most TV is ok and a LOT better than before with no HAs. Not having the bluetooth working, I put my Sennhieser headphones over the aids…got feedback. Ended up taking my HAs out and just used the Sennhieser. Really want to change that.

The miniBlu and the smart connect are two different animals the mini is for the non Bx aids and the smart is for the Bx aids they are not interchangeable. If you don’t want the BT delay you need the TVLink.

What is the non Bx aids versus Bx aids?

TVlink…plus with my Trax 42…I’d need the smart connect too?

I did a google search…Rexton TVlink, I see a USED one on ebay $99. But a search Rexton website shows no TVlink.

More and more not liking this smart connect. Just had a phone call…smart connect lost it’s pairing to my phone.

I’ve had both. I hated the Mini Blue. It was bulkier, flipped the wrong way because of the single contact point of the neck loop, and constantly lost connectivity with the aids. The Smart Connect is 100x better. I don’t know why you’re having such trouble other than you didn’t get the TV streamer from the same people who sold you the hearing aids. Do yourself a favor and get the right thing.

Also, you may have a bad Smart Connect or bad hearing aids. I have all the same stuff as you. It’s been about 3 weeks since I last lost the connection.

Oh, PS- when talking on the phone with the mini blue, people couldn’t hear me either. Did I mention I hated the Mini Blue?

What’s the correct TV streamer?

A Rayson BTA-131

That’s what they sold me at Costco. Did your rep not offer that?