In the market for a new pair of hearing aids

I have bilateral “cookie-bite” hearing loss and have work hearing aids in both ears the past 25 years. Current pair in my ears are the Bernafon Verite 9s (via Costco); have the Soundgate neckloop and TV box (both I find invaluable).

I’m looking ahead to a new pair I’m likely to get soon, and familiar with the basic bells and whistles offered by most vendors. I like the MFI and Android-equivalents as it reduces (half) the dependency on a neckloop for phone conversations. However they still require the phone’s microphone be proximate to the mouth which is not always possible or convenient for me.

Is there any HA vendor that does the following?
a) support MFI (or Android equivalent) to transmit inbound audio directly from phone to HAs; AND
b) allow for an external microphone to be clipped onto a shirt collar from which outbound audio (from me) can be passed onto the phone. To clarify, this external microphone is the equivalent of what one wears in a media interview. Small, unobtrusive, the equivalent of a large button, that is clipped onto a shirt lapel or collar. These microphones are pretty cheap, plenty available, the technology issues have been long solved…

Please, no references to Roger Pens and such. They are too expensive and overkill for the above.
If MFI (and its Android-equivalent) have solved the inbound path, all the microphone has to do is bridge the outbound–a small technical hurdle, not requiring much bells and whistles or costing an arm and a leg (or more).

Comments? Suggestions? Recommendations? Opinions on where my thinking could be wrong? All welcome!

Hello! Fellow cookie-biter here. It would be helpful if you could put your audiogram on your profile. That way people can help a bit more.

If younwant audio from a mic to go into your phone why wouldn’t you just get a Bluetooth mic, why do the hearing aids need to be involved at all?

I wasn’t aware of this option so thank you for bringing it to my notice.
Just so I understand right: are you saying both inbound (via MFI or Android equivalent) and outbound (via BT mic clipped to collar and synced to phone) would suffice? in other words I won’t need the equivalent of a Soundgate to dangle around my neck. If so, that would be meet my needs completely.

I don’t have my audiogram handy to post it here/with my profile.
In case this suffices for now the essence of my audiogram:
a) symmetrical bilateral cookie-bite loss in both ears;
b) loss down to 50-55 dB in the mid frequencies;
c) at the lower and higher end, loss is at 10-15 dB

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If you were to have Phonak aids on an Android device when you’re on the phone they use the hearing aid mics for your voice. Resound doesn’t do this that I can tell. Dunno about other brands or ios

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Now you have me confused with “hearing aid mics for (my) voice”.

a) My understanding is hearing aids deliver audio (via a speaker/receiver) into the ears; they aren’t designed to transmit audio (via a microphone) from my mouth to elsewhere. That was half the reason behind the erstwhile Soundgate and its equivalents (as they had a microphone which could relay my voice to the phone via FM).
b) why would hearing aids need microphones? From an engineering perspective it seems to complicate the function of a hearing aid and in the process, take space from doing what it is meant to do well: deliver audio into the ears.

Could I be wrong? Am I missing something and confirming I’m indeed behind the times?

I wear ReSounds (from Costco) and use an iPhone. I do believe my set-up well accommodates what you are looking for, but I hope someone can correct me, if I’m wrong.

I should have been clearer in phrasing the second part of my previous message.
Here is it edited to be clearer

b) why would hearing aids need to use their microphones to transmit outbound voice to an external device (e.g., phone)? From an engineering perspective it seems to complicate the function of a hearing aid (its microphone is optimized for inbound audio esp in noisy environments; having it also handle outbound audio also in noisy environments results in overloading its primary function: inbound audio) and in the process, take space from doing what it is meant to do well: deliver audio into the ears.

I thought that was the whole purpose of having these external “gateway” devices which had a microphone and relayed outbound audio to a phone…

Could I be wrong? Am I missing something and confirming I’m indeed behind the times?

My understanding is to use the Resounds with the iPhone you rely on the iPhone’s mic for outbound audio (inbound is handled via MFI)…which means you have to keep the iPhone fairly proximate to your mouth. Could I be wrong?

Alternately, have you been able to use your Resound+iPhone in a phone conversation with the phone some distance away, microphone pointing elsewhere or covered by some papers or a towel?

Yes, to all. I do have to pick up phone to answer it (perhaps there’s something I don’t know there), but otherwise both directions can be at some distance, and always are, by my usageI think it’s Bluetooth that handles that.

Yes, you are missing something.

Like I said, with Phonak’s latest aids (the Marvel family) when connected to an Android phone for phone calls, the microphones on the hearing aids, which normally pickup environmental sounds and other peoples’ voices and pump that audio into your ears, are also used to transmit your own voice to the phone. This makes it so that you don’t have to have an external microphone, or have to hold your phone close to your mouth. I got really used to this over several months and when I switched to more powerful Resound hearing aid, I found that this is not how all hearing aids work with Android.

It’s not “complicating the function of the hearing aid” because the microphones in the hearing aids don’t just turn off when you’re on the phone, so the information is already in the hearing aid in either case. It’s just routing of the data stream.

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Ok, I understand better now thanks to your explanation.
To summarize: the microphone on the HA meant to manage (amplify, separate, differentiate) inbound audio (environmental sounds, voices, audio via tel or other sources) would also transmit my voice to the phone (i.e., the outbound).

With the equivalent of a Soundgate around my neck or microphone clipped to my shirt I’d have a separate microphone for the outbound; the microphones on the HAs would do their normal handling of the inbound.

Prima facie it seems having one microphone (ok, a pair) handle both inbound and outbound would create problems. E.g., what if the two parties were speaking at the same time? With an external microphone I’d be able to hear the other’s voice in my ears; if the microphone in the HAs are busy transmitting my voice to the phone I won’t be able to hear the other’s voice in my ear and alternately if it is busy delivering their voice into my ear the other party won’t be able to hear what I said as it wouldn’t have been transmitted to my phone. Have Marvel users experienced this as a problem? I noticed there are several postings concerning Marvel and phone connectivity. Could this be related?

Unnecessary legalese Latin aside, you’re fixating on this for no good reason. It’s far from obvious that a microphone in your hearing aid would have any impact on the speaker in your ear. The issues some folks have with Bluetooth connectivity have little or nothing to do with this. One, cell phones aren’t capable of full duplex yet (both sides talking at the same time). You’ll notice this anytime you jump in a conversation. Two, Bluetooth has always been janky. Three, other hearing aids that don’t use their internal mics for phone calls (like my Resound, or my cochlear implant processor) still have problematic (at best) Bluetooth connectivity.

Ok, I shall set aside the legalese Latin, whether relevant/necessary or not.
And. yes, I agree I’m fixated on this microphone thing. Not for no good reason but for good reason which I now understand it’d have helped if I had communicated this earlier. Hands-free phone (and preferably, gateway-free) connectivity with my hearing aids is a very important factor for me in choosing one HA over another. I spend a lot of time, every day, on the phone. I enjoy having the phone’s audio piped into my two ears via my HAs and it doesn’t matter whether I’m in noisy or quiet settings. In noisy settings I can bring the microphone (from my Soundgate) closer to my mouth and the other party hears me fine.

What I don’t like and prefer to do without in my next set of HAs: having this gateway gadget around my neck.

I like the idea of MFI or its Android equivalent piping the incoming audio directly into my HAs and thus into my ears. I am yet to warm up (and may soon will) to the idea of relying on the HA’s microphones for outbound audio. May I ask a few questions re them, please?

In the Resound and Phonak/Marvel models the microphone is on the HA i.e., behind my ears, not in front of (even if lower than) my mouth.

a) how effective was it in picking up your voice and transmitting it to the phone?
b) how did the sound quality compare to say, a gateway work around your neck with the microphone in front of/close to your mouth?
c) did the parties you were having phone conversations with experience any difficulty hearing you?
d) how does it work in noisy settings? with that external gateway (or microphone) you can bring it closer to your mouth. With the microphone on the HAs, what was needed to prevent ambient noise from interfering with your voice?
e) (sorry for asking this but it only goes to illustrate my naivete) would I need to speak through the side of my mouth?

In just this thread and the past few hours I’ve learned a lot. My appreciation and gratitude to those who responded as they helped me become more informed.

Maybe some of my older posts can answer your questions, check them out. I wrote a ton about marvels.

I have recently tested phonak aids with classic bluetooth.
The aids connect to either iPhone or android.
And because they use the EXTERIOR microphones to pick up YOUR voice and bluetooth it TO the phone
as well as using bluetooth to broadcast the PHONE call to your EAR - - you can talk “hands free and gadget free” for as longa distance as you can remain within bluetooth range of your phone.

Not one person ever complained about the quality of my voice in the months I had the Phonaks. I am on the phone a lot, several hours each weekday typically. I got my Resound (remember, I went from two Phonaks to Resound/Med-El cochlear implant) the weekend before Tropical Storm Isaias came to town. I didn’t have an opportunity to do any calling until the day the storm arrived. Everyone kept telling me my audio was terrible. I at the time attributed it to T-Mobile being a somewhat less robust carrier in the face of the storm. It turns out that it was the fact that my Resound was now using the microphone on the phone, which I hadn’t been aware of or expected. Once I figured that out, it was fine. If I have my phone directly in front of me on my desk while speaking, it’s fine. If I lean away, it goes to hell. I really don’t like having to keep my phone in close proximity. Now, with my implant I do have a gadget but I’m not confident yet enough to use it alone to handle calling so I don’t know if it picks up my voice or not. It does work as a remote microphone so it’s possible it does, but I’ll have to figure that out.

I haven’t worn hearing aids long enough to have any experience with external microphone devices so I can’t help you there.

In noisy settings it does capture background noise is my understanding from reading around on these very forums, though I only call from either the car with the roof up or from my home office.