Neckloop primer needed

#1

Hi everyone, it’s my first post and I apologize it’s such a doozy.

I see questions about how to take calls and have something akin to a table mic if you don’t have bluetooth HAs, but I’m so behind, I can’t even follow the answers. Would you folks be willing to give a primer?

From what I’ve read, if you don’t have bluetooth 'aids, you necessarily need an induction neckloop. Those loops take input and broadcast it via induction to your (non-BT) hearing aids like a mini radio station.

That’s where it ends for me. Here are the things I’m clueless about:

Where and how do the induction loops receive their input? I take it a receiver is always involved in one form or another whether it’s external or internal to the loop. Do both kinds of loops exist?

Do those without an internal receiver need to be physically connected to one? For example, I’ve seen loops with a short cable ending in a 3.5mm plug. Is this so that a loop can take analog input from something like a desktop radio and transfer that via induction to the 'aids? Are are those cable extension meant to plug into BT receivers exclusively?

Some loops are amplified while others aren’t. Is there a function to the amplification other than to boost a weak signal?

I’ve also seen BT neckloops. Are those meant to receive non-BT input and transfer it via BT to BT-enabled HAs?

Can input to the neckloops be something other than BT? I’m thinking of how wireless lapel mics of 30 years ago worked, for example.

I’ve seen both mono and stereo loops. I’m assuming the stereo loops will transmit mono from mono sources (phones, e.g.) and in stereo from stereo sources (music on phones, e.g.). Is that right?

Like everyone else with HAs, phone calls and multi-person settings are most difficult for me. Depending on your answers, I’m imagining a scenario where I’m wearing an induction loop that’s physically connected to a BT receiver. I can hear phone calls great, even in noisy situations. I might also have a small, tabletop mic connected to a BT transmitter. When I’m at a table for 4, I can plunk down the mic/transmitter in the middle of the table and hear everyone a bit better. Is something like this possible?

A variant might include doing the same but without the BT receiver, using a loop that is also a BT receiver.

If you’ll indulge me, one last question. Though my HA’s say they are “telecoil = yes” in the literature, do I need to ask my audiologist to activate the telecoil, if that’s the right term? (Signia Cellion Primax 7)

If you’ve made it this far, God bless you. I looked but didn’t see any other thread that covered the topic this broadly. I realize that my understanding is so convoluted that my questions might not make much sense. I beg for your patience, and I’m very, very grateful for your wisdom and experience.

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#2

Well, I dont think I’ve seen anything about induction neck loops in a long while. Now, each manufacturer makes their own bluetooth device that either clips to clothing or is worn with a lanyard.

What I know about induction neck loops is that they are worn around the neck and communicate with the hearing aids by t-coil and to the outside world by bluetooth. So, for example, they could communicate to your cell phone by bluetooth, allowing you to take a call, with the incoming sound going to both hearing aids and your outgoing voice picked up by a microphone on the loop body.

I dont know anything about the quality of the sound coming in or going out.

It is older technology but it may work fine and may help you delay new hearing aids. My guess is that Lloyd’s my sell them.

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#3

I think this used to be one of the big brands. By the way, almost everything that produces sound, and doesnt have bluetooth built in, can have a cheap transmitter added.

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#4

I started writing a whole long reply and then decided to say this:
A hearing loop can be room size or neckloop size. The HA’s pick up the inducted emission from whichever loop.
Either loop is amplified. It’s like a single speaker from an amplifier. Not stereo. You can kinda make it stereo with those ear-hook thingies which act like a really mini loop just to the ear and not generally to the neckloop or room loop.
Either loop gets audio from whatever source, be it Bluetooth or direct cable or what have you.

A bluetooth-capable HA doesn’t use induction from a loop.

Another product that I have is from Clearsounds. But I really never use it. I did set up a room loop in my “media” room.

It sounds like you are wishing for a body-worn device for portability. So you would want a neckloop.

Yes your fitter would need to turn on the feature if it’s not already. Don’t bother with the magnet trigger. Just make it a separate program that you can switch to manually when needed.

My usual disclaimer…I’m no expert. :slight_smile:

Edit: Those Signia Cellion Primax HA’s can use the factory easyTek accessories.

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#5

That is very, very helpful and clarifying, thank you.

I forgot to mention the salient point that I’m aiming for portability, didn’t I? I’m learning the lingo so making these distinction is also helpful. Indeed, I was thinking of a neckloop.

I didn’t mention this in the original post because I didn’t want to get brand-y, but I tried the easytek and it was decidedly disappointing. Epic fail, as the kids say today. My experience with it is what led to my doing hours of googling and eventually finding this forum. With my phone’s volumes on full, the easytek was still pretty quiet. More importantly, the sound of phone calls was crackly enough that I couldn’t understand the caller.

That’s why I was curious about activating the telecoil. I never knew that was a necessary thing in some cases until yesterday, and wondered if that’s why the easytek was unsuccessful, the fault being my lack of proper setup rather than the easytek itself.

I didn’t realize that all neckloops were amplified. That makes sense, given what you explained about how they work. It’s interesting that you see “amplified” in some Amazon listings, and not in others. Perhaps it’s just a matter of how they want to bill their wares.

I’m still unclear on how the tech works in terms of getting a signal to the neckloop. Now that I understand better how the loop works, and have the unfortunate experience of the easytek as a point of reference, is there an example of how I could replicate it successfully?

I remember I had to pair the easytek with my phone’s Bluetooth connections. After that, anything that passed from my phone - calls or music - went through the easytek. If I bought a neckloop that connected to a Bluetooth receiver, would that be sufficient for receiving Bluetooth signals and inducting them to the hearing aids? If so, how would pairing be done between that receiver and a transmitter with no interface?

And does that connection between the neckloop and Bluetooth receiver need to be physical? I’m unclear on how the loop would pick up only the signals desired by the user, and not otherwise pickup every Bluetooth signal in the room! Unfun.

I’m glad I can’t be seen, because I really am embarrassed at asking these questions that must seem simplistic to you folks. Again, thank you so much for your help.

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#6

Thank you, Don. I didn’t realize neckloops were older technology. For folks like me for whom the manufacturer’s proprietary system didn’t work, is the alternative to a neckloop just swallowing the cost of new, Bluetooth hearing aids? Gulp. That’s a few pennies. I’ll start with a bake sale.

Seriously, thank you for the pointer to Lloyd’s and the Artone! I shall investigate.

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#7

I’m kinda surprised at your experience with the easyTek. That’s disappointing. How certain would you be that the fitter set it all up properly? I seem to think that the factory ones use their own transmission protocols and not Bluetooth.
I’m not sure the neckloop/telecoil would be any better than the factory method.
The Clearsounds unit that I tried could accept Bluetooth connections and direct cable.
Don’t worry about all the other Bluetooth devices around…you pair to one and then connect to it. Some devices can pair to multiple Bluetooth devices but you would still only connect to one. (iirc) Note the two terms…pair and connect. Pairing means each end know about the other. Connect means now you’re actually connected to and using the connection.

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#8

I suspect the EasyTek wasn’t set up quite right. The volume should be adjustable by fitter. I tried one for awhile and when it worked, it worked quite well. However, it failed after a short time and I took it back.

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#9

Uh oh. I think you may have just put your finger and the problem. The penny dropped for me when you both asked about… setting it up. Being essentially clueless, I used it right out of the box without a thought of it needing to be set up to work properly. Insert emoji of a self dope slap here.

When the magnetic phone telecoil activation was unsuccessful, I asked my audiologist about the easytek. She didn’t seem to know much about it but said she’d order it if I wanted. I told her I’d see if I could get a deal on ebay, which, luckily, I did. Since she hadn’t mentioned that either scenario would involve the need to set it up, I didn’t think about it when the easytek arrived. See what I did there? I tried to justify my stupidity.

Since the connection was bad to the point of useless, I returned it. So now I can’t take it to the audiologist to test whether the unit or my brain were at fault.

Yes, it really was disappointing. Because when it worked at home when it was dead quiet, even feebly, I was blown away by the potential. It was as if all my hearing aid struggles melted away. Angel chorus, light beams shining down from heaven, etc.

And that epiphany of potential is what’s been driving me to find a kludgey setup that replicates what I hoped the easytek could do. As for trusting my audiologist for a proper fitting, I’m uncertain. Her unfamiliarity with it surprised me, as well as her not mentioning the need for it to be set up. She probably works with a million patients however, and I may have spaced out when she said it needed setting up.

Thank you for the clarification about pairing vs connecting. If I may ask before concluding this book length post, did the Clearsounds unit you used do what an easytek could do, only using an open system rather than a proprietary one?

Thank you guys again soooooo much.

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#10

The Clearsounds was a neckloop to t-coil only. The easyTek has it’s own way of communicating with the HA’s using a semi-quasi bluetooth method (iirc).
The fitting software needs to know about the easyTek. Which then gets sent to the HA’s so that they know what to expect. It’s not simple “plug and play”.
I think for where you’re at, you should re-look at the easyTek accessories. Don’t settle on t-coil yet. It’s inferior to a proprietary solution. Unless you’re more stationary in your listening needs. That’s why I made my own room loop. I would just use it for stationary listening.

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#11

I am just going to add that there is one other way to get stereo. In my experience the magnets in most headphones are strong enough to drive the t-coil. That is why I use a headset with my office desk phone.

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#12

Good heavens, I was confused about t-coil and I didn’t even know it. When you mentioned neckloop to t-coil, I realize I thought that a neckloop was itself a t-coil, which then connected with the t-coil in the hearing aids the way they all do. So at the beginning of the primer at the top of this thread, I was confused about what was proprietary in the easytek system since it too connected via neckloop and t-coil as well.

If I understand what you’re saying, easytek does indeed connect via neckloop to t-coil, just as any neckloop system communicates with hearing aids that have t-coil. The difference with easytek is that the communication technology it uses between the two is proprietary, different from the standard that neckloops that can work with any hearing aid t-coil do.

Does that sound about right? I hope it communicated clearly, even if it was dead wrong. I really didn’t understand how much I didn’t understand when this thread started!

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#13

I’ll say it again…I’m no expert.
Here’s what I understand.
The easyTek uses it’s own communications from the external device to the HA’s. It also makes stereo. Think of it then as an inactive necklace with a medallion.
The other non-proprietary devices use induction loops that the HA telecoils can pick up. These are inherently mono. Thus the term neckloop. Think of it as an active neckloop with a medallion.
I hope that sounds about right. :slight_smile:

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#14

Ah, I think I’m getting closer. It’s not the connection between the necklace and HA t-coils that’s proprietary with the easytek, it’s the connection between the device and Siemens/Signia hearing aids in particular.

If so, something like the ClearSounds Quattro functions similarly from a user’s perspective, but is technologically different. The Quattro medallion receives Bluetooth that it’s paired with and connected to, then transmits it via solely by the neckloop to the hearing aids via non-proprietary t-coil. If I got that right, then you could pair and connect the Quattro with any brand of Bluetooth transmitter, connect it to an audio source, and achieve the same desired function, but with a different technology.

I hope that’s getting closer. I’m really grateful for your help and patience, and you’re definitely an expert to me!

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#15

There you go. That’s how I understand it. Yes. The connection between the easytek and the HA. The medallion acts similarly to the aftermarket products. But you get the added benefit of stereo.

There are also what I think they call earhooks that are small localized loops that can give one stereo side as the inherent mono to one HA telecoil. Sorta kinda almost just about like headphones. They hang over your ear and radiate to the telecoil in the HA. But then you’d want to make sure that the HA’s don’t just transmit a copy to the other side. XPhone in Connexx-speak (the fitting software of my Costco Rexton KS7’s).

I was thinking afterwards that I suppose there’s the possibility that the necklace of the easytek might be its antenna but I’m not sure.

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#16

I can’t tell you how helpful all this has been. Thank you again.

I tried to look up telecoil activation, autophone vs. programmed setting, etc, on the Signia Cellion Primax’s but found almost nothing. I wonder why this aspect wouldn’t be covered in the gazillion product line brochures on spec sheets online. I called and left a message with my audiologist, asking her to clarify.

True confession though, I decided to get a Clearsounds Quattro Pro. I couldn’t get the deal on an easytek I thought I could, and a new Quattro Pro is 2/3 the price of a new easytek… The big difference though is that the Quattro Pro gets consistently good reviews, while the easytek reviews are decidedly mixed with many people reporting the same problems. I’ll take the Quattro Pro with me on vacation next week. The beauty of Amazon is that, if it isn’t to my liking, I can return it. I’ll report back on the results either way.

I think your hunch about the easytek necklace may be right. I remember now that if I unplugged one of its 3.5mm jacks from one side or the other, it stopped working altogether. If the necklace isn’t a t-coil proper, then you must be right that it’s an antenna.

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#17

Thank you for asking those questions and reporting the issues you encountered with those products! I am a hearing-aid wearer myself (the model: Phonak Naida Q), and I have been also looking for good options that can transmit music to my hearing aids wirelessly for quite a while. This conversation is quite informative and it’s good to know someone has the same situation with me.

Just checked this page on hearingtracker, it says that your model has a telecoil: Signia Cellion primax Hearing Aid | Product Info, Reviews, Prices, Videos, and More. But it’s not from the official info source. Please keep updating the progress of your audiologist!

My aids have the built-in t-coils as well. I have asked my audiologist to activate it. It works well. Mostly, I use those t-coils to pick up the sound from the speaker of my phone while making phone calls. They work quite well. I had been using some product similar to your Quattro Pro, such as Contacta - IR-NL1 (https://shop.cie-group.com/shop/audio-visual_1/assistive-listening_14/infrared-assistive-listening-systems_1102/assistive-listening-inductive-neck-loop_26874.php) and Music-link earhook (Music-Link Bilateral Inductive Ear Hooks | iHear).

The experience of using both of them didn’t satisfy me :cold_sweat:. Contacta-IR-NL1 is just like another version of Quattro Pro with a 3.5 mm jack (and without that bluetooth connectivity). Music-link earhook also has a 3.5 mm jack, and, by making the induction loop as small as a tiny coil inside each of the hooks, it provides dual-channel stereo sound. The sound by Contacta-IR-NL1 is bad, and, it’s mono. I was thus not able to localise the sound (specify the right/left positions of the sound) while listening with it. The problem with the Music-link earhook is simply its terribly poor sound quality. I guess it’s because of the tiny size of the coils.

I wonder your experience listening with Quattro Pro if this can work with your hearing aids. Please keep us posted here!

It would be really nice if there is a product which 1) makes use of pure non-proprietary t-coil technology which can be paired with any aid with built-in t-coil and 2) does provide a similar good quality of stereo sound somehow as good as the one of easyTek. I tried to look for a product like this, but failed. Really wonder if this kind of product does exist.

Thanks for reading my lengthy comment! It’s just so nice to see there are some people facing a similar problem to mine.

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#18

A telecoil is non-proprietary.
An induction loop is inherently mono. It just is. And non-proprietary.
Remember that the induction loop is the source that radiates such that the telecoil in the HA can detect it and play that sound in each HA. All open and non-proprietary. Many of the major manufacturers have HA’s that include a telecoil.
Only the proprietary external devices like the easytek can put stereo into the HA’s. The major manufacturers all have some kind of external device.

Orrrrr…get HA’s that can receive bluetooth from a source whether proprietary like Apple’s mfi or non-proprietary using standard bluetooth.
Many current products do mfi. Only the Phonak Marvels use standard bluetooth.

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#19

I know the Roger Pen Microphone “connects” to more than one person. We (of course) pair multiple Roger Pens and then connect them to each other, sitting at a table and able to talk to each other with each one of us using a Roger Pen around our neck. That is a Phonak device & you need telecoil activated in your hearing aids–across all brands of hearing aids, by the way. Each Roger Pen uses a proprietary neckloop that accompanies the Roger Pen and it is also around your neck.

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#20

Did you read the information, Install Telecoil or Not in your hearing aids?

To add to the above post:
The “loop” (whether a neck loop, room loop, table loop) uses magnetic induction technology. (Remember your high school science class winding wire around a magnet?) It sends the sound from the loop to your hearing aid. To get the sound from the sound source to the loop, I use an audio cord (so it is not bluetooth for me) from the sound source (head phone jack) to the head phone jack in the neck loop. Auditoriums can send the sound from their sound board to that black receiver box, which ushers hand out (and which connects to your neck loop) via FM Radio waves. (or there is Infared Technology --instead of FM Radio-- for some auditoriums). That is all the technology I know.

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