My experience with Phonak PartnerMic

I have been trying unsuccessfully to get the VA to give me a Roger Select iN because I have real problems with voices in noise. They refuse to do so in spite of my writing directly to the head of Audiology at the VA clinic I have been going to. They sent me a Partner Mic, saying that this is what I need. I was skeptical that it would help me because when I read the Phonak brochure on it, it has to be worn by the person you are talking to, and isn’t supposed to be more then 20 inches from them. Trying to have a conversation with people through a plexiglass shield, plus mask, is difficult at best. But that is the world we live in at this time. So, I had to make a trip to the local WalMart yesterday to but one of my grandsons a birthday cake. I thought this would be a good time to try the Partner Mic since WalMart is one of my biggest problem areas. I turned it on, paired it to my aids, couldn’t hear anything coming from the Mic. If I tapped on it, I could hear a faint tapping sound, but no voices. So, I muted the microphones in the aids, and now could hear myself when I talked. I clipped the Mic to the top of my shirt pocket. I think it probably wouldn’t be good if I went around sticking the thing in the faces of every of all the people in WalMart. It was difficult to carry on a conversation with my grandson. All I could hear of his voice was what was leaking through the vents in my molds. Same when we got to the check out. That plexiglass shield between me and the checker blocked the sound that the Partner Mic might have picked up. While shopping, about all I heard coming from the Mic was noise. When we were back at my car, I put the Partner Mic in my pocket and removed my aids. I will give it another try soon. You might say I didn’t give it a fair trial, since I was already somewhat biased against it. But, I really want to give it a fair trial. It would be nice if it solved my problem. I don’t know yet whether I should mail it back to the clinic where it came from, or wait until my appointment with another clinic in August and return it there. I am going to try it out some more here at home. I can’t believe Phonak would invest the money and time to make something that doesn’t work any better than this.

I would sugest you call Phonak tech support and ask them for help.

There is a Partner Mic program so it can be adjusted.

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This was my thoughts too. The PartnerMic+mic program is very adjustable.

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According to the user guide, when you’re using the Partner Mic, you can adjust the input volume using the volume buttons on your hearing aid. You didn’t write about this, so did you try it? Also it does say in the manual that it needs to be clipped to the person who is speaking, not worn to pick up audio in the manner that you did.

What does the VA say in response to your requests? It must be more than simply “No.”

Well, yes, that is pretty much what they have said. “No”. Actually, they say I don’t need a Roger Select iN. I don’t know why they thought a Partner Mic was what I did need. Considering its limitations, I don’t see how they made that decision. I could hear myself speak, just not others. Which was the problem to begin with. The need to have the person you are speaking with wear the thing should pretty much rule it out for my needs, which involve people in places like restaurants and stores, where having them wear a microphone would be very difficult, if not impossible. I adjusted the volume on the aids for a level of background noise I could tolerate. It wasn’t quiet by any means, and the background noise was about all I could hear. I don’t know what to adjust for the microphone. There isn’t an adjustment that says “amplify voices, not noise”. I know that in the “fine tuning” part of Target, you can select voices in noise and alter some characteristics, but I have tried that before with just the aids and did not find that it did much. My biggest problem with voices when not in noise is with female voices. They are either too loud, and screechy, or else they sound like they are mumbling. The Partner Mic is supposed to be directional. Maybe it is, but I don’t know the direction it is favoring. I have taken it off and held it in my hand, and rotating it doesn’t seem to favor any particular direction. I am going to try using it some more before giving it back. I do have one other thing I am going to try.
I recently bought a Roger Select, not the iN, just the Select, in a local thrift store. I have bought a Phonak Mylink to use it with off eBay. For those not familiar with it, the older Select was made to be used with Roger receivers. If your aids can’t fit the added shoe for the receiver, they made the Mylink. You do have to have T-coils for it to work. You wear it around your neck, it picks up the Roger Select, and you hear it in the aids by using your T-coil. I don’t even know yet if it works. It looks like it does. If that doesn’t work either, I guess my last option is to give the Marvels back to the VA and wait for some newer technology to come out.

Please, share your findings when you test it :slight_smile:

Maybe asking for roger pen would be better, since it can catch sound when you hold it. I tested it just a little in Interview mode, and it definitely is directional, when I move away from a source it significantly decrease the volume. I’ve tested it so far at around half meter distance. The closer the better. Also regular pen bc in Germany you can’t buy in version :rolleyes:

I agree the Select won’t do the job, that @John_Green wants. The Pen is a better choice.

I personally only use the Roger for music and TV as I find it picks up a lot of background noise compared to my AutoSense program when using it as a microphone.

If the select doesn’t do it, I will probably move it on eBay and try a pen. Is there a specific version of the pen I should look at? I am curious to see how that Mylink works. I have never used the T-coil feature in my aids. I have turned it on a few times, and it picks up the fields from house wiring, even overhead power lines. It doesn’t seem to work with phones though. For some reason, the VA deleted the T-coil program from my aids. I added it back. I will definitely

Whoops! My PC decided to post before I was finished. What I was about to say was that I would post the results of the Roger Select tests.

The phonak mic I think is a low quality mic. Maybe the incentive is to get you to invest in a Roger’s. My speech comprehension stinks and the mic didn’t help at all. I returned it

Curious if anybody has found any technical specifications regarding SNR (signal to noiser ratio) and how it might compare to Roger devices or Resound MultiMic?

I doubt you will find meaningful specs. I had Resounds briefly, and bought a Multi Mic. I like the concept of it, the execution less so. I found the Multi Mic to be about like the little silver Phonak Remote Mic that is used with a Compilot in terms of sound quality and sensitivity. Of course the Phonak mic doesn’t have a T coil or external input like the Multi Mic. The Multi Mic won’t pair with Marvels. I tried it. The little Phonak Remote Mic will, but there is considerable latency. Odd, I thought because when used with the Compilot, I don’t get latency. I found the Partner less useful than the Remote Mic. I think Phonak was trying to reduce the noise pickup present with the Remote Mic, but it seems to me that the Partner Mic only wants to pick up noise, not voices. It can’t be as bad as it seems. I am going to play with it some more to see if there isn’t some magic formula to getting it to work.

The latest Pen with Bluetooth is the 1.1 Pen. There’s an EasyPen which is the same as the 1.1 Pen just without Bluetooth.

Thanks Zebras. What would I need Bluetooth for? There seems to be a lot of pens for sale on eBay at the moment. Wonder why the VA thought the Partner Mic would be better than a pen iN.

You won’t need Bluetooth. The Pen iN doesn’t have Bluetooth either.

I think it’s for streaming phone calls to HAs while using pen as mic. At least that feature is advertised and I think it uses BT.
First gen of pen, people say it wasn’t that stable connection plus if it is not clear line of sight (I think between roger receiver and roger pen), it doesn’t pickup, while version 1.1 should be better.

However, you need roger receivers (I call that licenses, because hardware is in HAs but it not active until you give him licences). You can buy them in form of roger x, or buy pen in version that comes with 2 licences.

Phonak calls that receiver, device is roger x, something they call roger direct (I think hardware in. HA), crazy naming.

I suggest reading few recent topics about roger tech, I’ve participated in them, bunch of info is there. Or ask me directly, I think I’m on my way to master that :joy:

And pen iN version doesn’t have BT because it’s intended to be used with marvels only, so they directly communicate through the roger direct hardware.

The Mylink is supposed to let me use any Roger, except the iN, with the T-coil function in my aids. At least that is the way it seems reading the Phonak literature on the subject. A Pen iN would be ideal, but I am not seeing any used ones on eBay, and I suspect a new one would be rather expensive. If the Select doesn’t work out, I will probably go with an Easy Pen. I have about given up on getting anything useful from the VA.
I have seen some Roger hand mics on eBay for a really cheap price, but they say they can only be used in a “Multi Talker Network”. Still, looks tempting. There is also a transmitter that has a LCD screen, but I have found very little about it in the Phonak literature. Phonak has put out an amazing amount of stuff over the years. Looking at their submissions to the FCC, it looks like maybe a hundred different devices. You can get a good amount of information by looking at the FCC data, by the way.

Yup, this won’t do anything for you unless your goal is to hear your own voice, and I’m sure no one told you to use it in this way. The partner mic is to be clipped to your partner. Sure, the Walmart use-case isn’t going to work with the partner mic, but for goodness sake try it out for its intended purpose before dismissing it. It is totally fair for you to go back to your audiologist and say, “This doesn’t help me in the situations I mean to use it in, which are short interactions with strangers.” But if you have been commenting that you cannot hear friends and loved ones in one-on-one social situations, the partner mic can actually be quite effective for that. The VA will take you more seriously if you can say, “I have tried it in its intended situation and find it (or don’t find it) effective there, but it doesn’t work for the following situations” rather than “I used it ineffectively because I never wanted it in the first place”. FYI, the roger select won’t work for you if you clip it to your own lapel either.

I am definitely sensitive to the fact that the VA (and in my area, workplace insurance) stupidly requires a trial of a remote mic first, even when listening situations situations obviously call for an FM. BUT, I’m not sure this sort of passive-agressiveness is the solution to that. Just jump through the dumb requirement hoops and then ask for the FM.

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Clipping it to my pocket was the only way to use it. I don’t think I could have gone around sticking it in the face of everyone around. The VA knew that this wouldn’t work for me because I told them in detail about the situations where I have problems. I wrote a letter to the head of the audiology department specifically asking for the Roger Select, and outlined my reasons for asking. Every time I have asked an audiologist, they just dismissed me by saying that I didn’t need one. A couple of weeks after I wrote that letter, an audiologist called me to say that they were sending a Partner Mic. I explained to her that the situations that gave me trouble would make the Partner Mic unusable. She insisted that it was what I needed instead of the Roger Select. I am finished with the Birmingham VA audiology clinic. I have an appointment with a closer clinic in Georgia. I have no idea how that will go. I will give them back the Partner Mic when I go. By then, I will have had some experience with the Roger Select I recently got, and a Roger Pen I just ordered off eBay as well. If they don’t work, I am going to give my aids back as well and hope that some new technology comes out soon. My experience with the VA has not been helpful, neither has my experience with aids. They just don’t live up to their promise in my case.