New to Hearing Aids - Advice please

Hi all,

Recently, my nine year old daughter got hearing aids, and I don’t think I did enough research up front. But anyway she was fitted with a pair of over the ear Phonak V50P’s to the tune of $2,600CAD.

So, I’d like to get some accessories for her, primarily BT so that she can use her iPod and what not. I have seen that Phonak has their ComPilot Air II, which seems like it would do the trick, but before I drop another $300+, do I really have any other viable options?

Thanks in advance,

BTW, I like in Canada, and Costco only sell HA batteries here.

Get the ComPilot Air. There are several places in Canada that you can get it through the internet and the price is better than going though your audi. I can’t remember what the name of the co’s. are right now but will try and find them and let you know.

Not true at all about Costco. I’m from Alberta. All of our local Costcos sell hearing aids, not just HA batteries. That said, I know the one that’s closest to me doesn’t assess pediatric patients, which makes sense since, in my experience, most of the hearing aid fitters at the Costcos in my area are Hearing Instrument Specialists rather than audiologists. Just writing to clear up that misconception.


Thanks for the advice, I’m still learning about hearing aids, and I wish I had done some more research first. I’m starting to think the specialist took advantage of us a little and rushed us into a purchase. This is out of character for me, however, I have another daughter in the hospital with a life-threatening illness and really didn’t have the time to do the proper research. My wife was smart though, and she didn’t buy the 6 month supply of batteries for $80.

From what I’ve read so far the Phonak’s are very limited in their connectivity options compared to some other brands. They are however a telecoil model, so do I have some options there?

Thanks for the correction, do you know if they sell the Kirkland Signature 6.0 like they do in the US?

Yes, they do sell Kirkland Signature. I know two people who have them. Costco’s Canadian hearing aid website isn’t at all helpful, though. It doesn’t show their available products like the US site does. I went to Costco for my first hearing aid. At that time (September, 2013), they had all the same hearing aid brands/styles that were shown on the American website. I can’t imagine that has changed in the last 2.5 years.

I am a Phonak HA user and I don’t find that they are very limited in their connectivity and I don’t think you were sold an inferior product in any way. I totally understand you second guessing, though, because at first it is overwhelming to understand everything about HAs when you first get started, and thus you feel you have said yes to something you barely understand. I do not think you have ny reason to feel you made a bad choice. Your daughter can connect to all her gadgets and speak on the phone through the Compilot II or the Copilot air. It works wonders. I will personally recommend the Compilot II, which she will wear with a loop around her neck (under clothing is fine). The Copilot air seem to be a bit less dependable, but it may work just fine for your daughter. What Phonak does not have yet, and which some other brands have, is direct bluetooth connection to the HA without an intermediary device. That is a big turnoff for some, but if your goal is to hear well in most situations, the inconvenience of using the Compilot is really minor. Phonak actually produces several other assistive listening devices that she can be paired up with, including the Roger pen. Take a look at the Phonak website.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the responses. I think part of the problem here is that we were sent away from the audiologist with almost no information - only how to take the battery in and out - no idea what any of the buttons do, no idea that it had telecoil . . . nada. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Phonak website now, as well as other websites to learn about hearing aids. It was from Phonak’s website that I learned that this model came standard with T-coils, but I have no idea how to activate them or if they’re programmed automatic or anything. Phonak’s website is oddly unhelpful: they want me to consult my hearing care provider on everything, whom from our experience so far has not proven customer service oriented.

Has anyone had any experience with the Clearsounds Quattro? It is priced similarly to the Phonak ComPilot Air, but with significantly more features/connectivity. Clearsounds also boasts the only eight-wire loop on the market, which they claim provides louder and clearer sound - do you think this is a reputable claim or just marketing hogwash?

[quote=marc hanna;139956] It was from Phonak’s website that I learned that this model came standard with T-coils, but I have no idea how to activate them or if they’re programmed automatic or anything. Phonak’s website is oddly unhelpful: they want me to consult my hearing care provider on everything, whom from our experience so far has not proven customer service oriented.

I believe it is a good thing that your daughter’s HAs came with t-coil. She may or may not use that feature, but she has the choice if included. T-coil has two modes. One is the automatic mode that is activated when you put a phone with a magnetic field to your ear (either an old fashioned land line phone, or any modern IP or cell phone with a small magnet attached (you can get those from your Aud). The other mode is a manual mode, which require the Audi to make one of the manual programs a t-coil program. That can then be activated when in looped venue, church, airport, theater, etc. I do to know how Canada is in regards to looping public venues. It is unfortunately not very prevalent here in the US. In Europe they are far ahead of us. But in any case, I recommend t-coil, because you never know when you get the chance to use it - and when you do the benefit is huge.

All manufacturer web sites seem to be less than helpful. Buying HAs is made incredible mysterious and none transparent. I think it is because it is considered a medical device and as such we, the consumer, are not supposed to make decision without the input of a “Doctor”. That of course becomes a problem when the “doctor” gives you very little input! Many discussions on this site are about the importance of finding and Audi you can work well with and who has the patience to listen to all your concerns. Some are better than others. That said, it does get easier as you yourself become more knowledgeable and learn how to ask the right questions.

If it was me I would stick with the Phonak device. The Phonak device will connect to any bluetooth device. Plus, the Compilot II has a headphone jack input so devices without bluetooth can be connected also.

I have Resound hearing aids and the Resound bluetooth device and I connect to my cell phone, office phone, office desktop, home laptop, and tablet. I also have the Resound TV transmitter, which I love.

The phonak device should be just as versatile. I like the Phonak options and will probably switch to Phonak when I need new hearing aids.

Check out that site. Paul at fmhearingsystems is very helpful and replies to inquiries. The Roger system is quite expensive but he can give you information about how to use other accessories. I, too, have found it almost impossible to get information in the U.S. except for this forum. The U.K. including has much more information available.

I use a Roger Pen, but I have a severe hearing loss.

Perhaps with the Brexit fall of British currency will make the accessories cheaper :smiley:

The HAs you have purchased are a very good aid. Phonak seem to be at the forefront of Paediatric HAs. Costco do not fit children - only adults.

The main differences between the Compilot II and Compilot Air II are
-Air version has less battery life, is smaller and clips on her collar - not easy to hide, has limited range and needs to be close to HAs to avoid drop out of the signal.
-Compilot II has longer battery life, is a bit bigger and hangs around the neck, has stronger signal and works from slightly further away from the HAs so less likely for signal to drop out.

There are some threads here comparing the two but most favor the bigger version. You should be able to trial either from your audiologist so you know which works best for your daughter - being smaller the Air might be ok - but she would need to try it to know. Also if she does a lot of streaming then maybe she will need the longer battery life.

I have no experience with the other device but often the same brand devices are better at playing well together. If you buy elsewhere you will still need the streamer paired and set to work together with the HAs in the Target software by the audiologist so check on any additional cost if buying accessories outside your audiologist.

Thanks again for the info, this has been quite helpful. We have an appointment with the audiologist next week, and will make sure the T-coil M program is turned on. We will need this for in the fall anyway, because Ontario schools are mandated to install either FM systems or Loops based on needs of the child.

From what I’ve learned so far, anything that functions with the T-coil will not need any specific pairing with the HAs. It seems to me that both ComPilots require device specific pairing _ so does this mean they do not use the T-coil?

T-coil and blue tooth pairing with HAs are two different or supplementary things. The pairing is what you do between yourself (your HAs) and a device. For example your phone, a computer or a TV-link (another Phonak devise that gets the TV sound directly in to your ears). It is personal, only you and the device. T-coil works in looped rooms and for all HA users at the same time. Imagine a room with a loudspeaker system. Everyone with normal hearing picks up the sound from the speakers, a person with with HAs, switching on the t-coil, gets that same sound directly into the ears. I do not know anything about FM systems.

I think maybe I didn’t communicate very well in my last post. Simply put, do the ComPilots use T-coil to transmit to the hearing aids?

Simply put, No. :slight_smile:

It uses Bluetooth. The T-coil uses magnetic resonance.

One more kick at the cat here. I’m talking about the connection between the ComPilot and the HAs. The ComPilot II has a neck loop, which other similar devices have - to my understanding, these other devices transmit to the HAs via T-coil. The ComPilot and other devices then connect to the audio source (i.e. mp3 player, cell phone, etc) via Bluetooth.

There were comments that the ComPilots had to be paired with the HAs so that they would work, so that’s where the confusion set in.

Thank again, sorry for being such a nuisance.

You aren’t a nuisance; just a curious fellow.

Let me explain it as fully as I can. UmBongo can correct my errors. He’s an EE. I’m just a former Ham/Programmer.

The first improvement was aids talking to each other. This allowed using the mics in an array to give location info and other features. The aids communicated using magnetic fields/resonance. This used less power and worked well in proximity. Nothing about Bluetooth here. Those with telecoil used similar near field magnetism.

Along came Bluetooth and external devices captured the magnetic fields with a large antenna located in the neck loop that captured the communication or transferred from the device using the same field which I think was in the 10Mhz range. Bluetooth is 2.4Ghz – not close in frequency. So what you had is a repeater transmitting sound/data between the two very different frequencies.

As to pairing, that a function of brands these days. It has more to do with Bluetooth than the aids. The manufacturer decides how to connect the external device. I believe yours needs to be paired in software by the audi. My KS6/Resound-Linx pairs with newer technology and I can pair the aids along with other external devices – phones, computer, tablets, etc. All aids are moving toward this technology – a work in process. Phonaks is one of those that hasn’t transitioned yet and started using low-power Bluetooth for everything.

I hope that answers your questions.

I have moderate hearing loss and I just got my hearing aids. I have one major question. Costco fitted me for the Kirkland 6.0. I didn’t find out until I got home that they seem to be designed for people who have an i-phone. We “have-nots” don’t have the pleasure of making adjustments, I gather. Why would they sell me this product when I don’t have an i-phone? There was no discussion of any other products. THere must ber a reason…what am I missing? Anyone know?

Buy the $200 phone clip accessory which is what is currently required by all HA makers. It will attach to Android and up to 8 other BT devices.