Phonak Audeo S9 and landline telephone calls - bluetooth pairing options?

I have a pair of new Phonak Audeo S9s and wanted to use the iCom to pick up landline telephone calls.

Phonak have advised me to buy a Plantronics Voyager base station or a [FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][FONT=Verdana]Siemans Gigaset SL 785.

Both are expensive.

Anyone used something cheaper which will do the job?

I use this…


Hi Cloudburst,
I have the same audeo s smart IX’s and I cannot get them to work with ANY phone!
I have a Gigaset 5150 and the HAs are virtually useless. My audi put a program on the button which just revs both aids up to max sensitivity to try to make the aids work with the phone. All it did was deafen me with background noise as the HAs do not hear the phone at all.
I am about ready to turn them in!!

It’s probably not much help for you, but when I trialled Phonak aids, I successfully used the iCom with one of Cisco’s newer desk phones that has Bluetooth built in.

any bluetooth-enabled cordless phone should work. I use the Vtech LS5146. A 2 handset system costs around $50.

Many thanks Partos,
I was hoping to be able to use a normal phone - there isn’t always a bluetooth available!

Has your audiologist activated the duophone? If they have you should hear the phone in both ears at the same time. Also, something I suggest to my patients is to move the earpiece of the phone to the top of the ear instead of where they are accustomed to holding it (the ear itself). Sometimes this makes a remarkable difference.

Many thanks for your reply. The simple answer is that I do not know if Duophone has been activated. I made it clear to her right from the start that the phone was my principal problem. Let me explain why. We live in France and although we speak French it is not our natural language. Hearing is very important as the brain doesn’t necessarily fill in the missed words or tones like it would if we were speaking in English.
I can not - and never have been able to hear anything from the phone via my hearing aids. If I removed my hearing aids the sound from the telephone is EXACTLY the same. Her first attempt was to give me a little steel block that I was supposed to tape to my phone. This made absolutely no change. Her second attempt was to put a program on the button - the only program - that simply raised the sensitivity of both aids. This was meant to make the hearing aid better ‘hear’ the phone. The result of this change was simple to deafen me with noise in both ears. If I heard anything from the phone it was drowned out by the noise.
I have tried raising the phone slightly above my ear but I am still getting no advantage from the hearing aids, in fact I hear less of the phone conversation as the phone is no longer in line with my ear!!
I note that certain makes have a specific phone loop - the Ambra calls it a tloop. Is this the way to go? What is the difference between tloop and duophone? Should I move away from phonak all together?
To be honest, I am not that impressed with the S Smart IX. The sound quality is a bit tinney and I seem to be able to hear more from behind that I do from the front. I am beginning to doubt that my audi is setting them up properly. How do say Phonak, Widex and Oticon compare on their top of the range models?
Sorry for all the questions but I am getting desperate.
best regards.

OK, my earlier reply was related to use of the ICOM.

I have the new Solana BTE MicroP aids, and if I don’t have the ICOM on I use the Zoom Control feature. Thus if I hold the phone above my left ear and enter the zoom left program, the phone is heard in both ears, also the microphone on the right side is greatly attenuated which cuts out most of the background noise.

I haven’t worked with Widex or Oticon in quite some time so I can’t speak directly as to which I find works better.

Phone use tends to be tricky for many people…it’s made even harder when you are dealing with a language that is not your native one.

The difference between duophone and a tcoil (tloop) is that the duophone is an acoustical setting that has to be activated when the phone reaches the ear and then should transmit the sound so that you should be able to hear the phone in both ears…of course if you can’t even hear it in one, then I doubt you’d be hearing it in both. A tcoil is an elecro-magnetic induction coil that communicates with a similar coil inside the phone. In the past the response in a tcoil wasn’t ever as good as the microphone on the hearing aid but as tech has improved so has the tcoil response. The phone has to have a coil in it for it to work and I have no idea what european standards are on that. Most phones in the US have them now…pretty much any phone that has a cord (not cordless) from any time also has one except probably ones that are very cheap. If the phone is an issue, then it might be worth considering the Ambra which has a tcoil and duophone (the two can’t be used together though) so you’d have more features to try to make phone use successful.The Smart does have the bluetooth on it though so if you have a bluetooth compatible land line then you can use that in place of the tcoil. It does require the additional iCom though which usually costs more.

Tinny SQ is part and parcel with HA use, in general. I will say that sometimes switching to a more traditional BTE results in slightly more HF gain but also a better perceptual sound quality because there is more low frequency gain since the earmold is typically more occluding. I have seen patients who have had significant improvement at frequencies with the Ambra (or any standard BTE) where there was none with the Smart S IX (or RITE/RIC/Open fitting BTE). The problems you are experience with the Smart could be an adjustment issue, could be a programming issue on the part of the Audiologist, or could be that that hearing aid is just not the one for you.

Hope that helps a little bit!

Many thanks DocAudio,
I am beginning to doubt my Audi. At our last meeting she did admit that she had never sold a high end product! I think that I shall have to be firm with her at our next meeting.
I still do not understand why the mic on my left HA does not seem to pick up the output from the phone - it makes absolutely no difference - in phone use - whether I have the HA’s in or out and yet they can hear a TV 4 metres away! From what I understand, Duophone only connects both HAs during phone use so that you hear the phone in both ears rather that actually connecting to the phone. Does Duophone switch in automatically when you use the phone?
The Phonak literature doesn’t do a very good job of explaining what the various functions actually do.
best regards.

Thanks Partos,
I am beginning to think that my audi is having a problem with programming the Smart. The Smart is supposed to have the same features as the Solana but I don’t seem able to enter any mode apart from the one that boosts the sensitivity on both aids to a point that is almost painful! She said to press the button to enter this mode when I use the phone. The problem is that the hugely enhanced background noise, in BOTH ears, simple drowns out the phone. Time to change audis I think!!
Best regards,

It has nothing to do with your audi. It takes some practice to get the phone speaker right over the hearing aid mic. When you hit it just right you will hear the phone loud and clear, and probably tinny. If you have BTE style aids and you put the phone up to your ear in the old manner, you will in fact hear slightly worse than before, because the HA is not getting it and in addition you have this little piece of hardware in there.

Practice this for 5 minutes and it will solve your problem (a full five minutes, not 20 seconds). Get in a quiet place and get on a call with someone willing to help you with the experiment. Get the person to talk without stopping (read a book or article) and slide the phone up and around to try to hit right on the hearing aid. You will eventually find “the spot” where phone sound is going through the HA. Now, take your phone away from your face and put it back to your ear and find the spot again. Do this over and over until you can put it on the spot almost immediately. At first the phone will seem horribly out of position but as you find the spot over and over and over you will eventually be able to find the spot and have the phone somewhat in position to talk.

This will work for non-bluetooth phones but I really, really encourage you to find out more about bluetooth and get the phonak bluetooth phone device. It will work with your cell phone and you can buy a bluetooth enabled landline phone. That is a much better option than what I’ve described above. You will hear much better with the bluetooth device because you can have it set so that the HA mics are shut off and all you hear is what’s coming through the phone, via the bluetooth device.

Talking on a regular phone with a hearing aid is a special, different, difficult thing and it’s mostly about your technique in finding the spot. That’s why bluetooth devices for hearing aids are so popular.

Thanks Don,
I had tried that before but not for a full 5 minutes! Yes, if I hold the phone above my ear and practically parallel with the ground I can hear the phone through the HA but very reduced in volume and very tinney. I can also hear it through my ear.
Through the HAs I thought that I would hear it in both ears - this is definitely not the case.
Is the S Smart IX bluetooth enabled?
I note that unlike some of the Phonak models the S Smart IX does not have the Tcoil function. Am I wrong in my understanding that the Tcoil magnetically couples the phone signal to the HA similar to the way we used to be able to record a phone call with a rubber suction cup?
How does this compare with DuoPhone - which the S Smart does have?
many thanks for your help.
Best regards,

DuoPhone must be activated with the memory button on the Smart S IX, there is no automatic switch since there is no tcoil.

I agree that the literature is a little vague on functions of different features. Really it is the job of your audiologist to inform you about all of that. I am in the process of creating tech-specific sheets for this very reason. It is far too much to ask patients to remember everything you tell them in the initial appointment.

Apparently Duophone is not turned on or not selected by you if you know the phone is going through the HA and you do not hear it in both ears.

It takes some practice to get it going through the hearing aid and in position to talk at the same time, but, that’s the deal with no bluetooth and no t-coil.

If you had a t-coil and you select it when you make a call, and your phone has a strong enough magnet or you attach one to your phone, then you could probably hear a phone in the normal position.

I think the S Smart IX has bluetooth ability. Unless you are really comfortable with Bluetooth and enthused about using it, a t-coil might be a better option for you but that would mean returning what you have and starting over with another HA.

I am learning - thanks to the pointers that I have received on this forum - that HAs are VERY complex items and yes, the literature put out by the manufacturers seems to lack detailed descriptions of the functions. The manufacturers keep referring the potential client back to the audiologist which is fine provided the client has sufficient basic understanding of the product to ask the right questions and to judge the competence of his specialist.
In my case, it would seem that I have been given the aid right out of the box because most of the promised features don’t seem to work and I have no way to access them. Luckily, I haven’t paid for them.
I think that my specialist is simply not very knowledgeable about the top end Phonak range as I have had 6 or 7 visits and my last visit she simply added this high sensitivity button setting to supposedly help with the phone. The problem is that as a first time user I have no idea just what to expect from the device. Yes, I can hear the TV at a lower volume setting but I do not seem able to discriminated between competing sound sources. In fact, when there are competing sound sources front and back the aids give me a headache! It is this last factor plus the problem with the phone that has made me do my own research into what I should be getting from the aids. But how many people simply pay a lot of money just to turn the TV volume down a notch or two? The manufacturers need to put much more info directly into the hands of the end user.
Take the Instruction book that comes with the S Smart IX as an example.
It tells you how to change the battery, how to insert and take off the aid, a bit about the buttons - if your specialist has set them up - and a bit on cleaning! Nothing about the functions or about what to expect. For the cost of these things this is ridiculous! You wouldn’t buy a car if the handbook didn’t tell you what the gauges and warning light meant!!
Anyway, many thanks for all your help - I guess I need one more talk with my specialist!!
Best regards.

Hi Don,
I cannot access DuoPhone in fact the only thing that I can access with the button is this program that my audi has put on that simply increases the sensitivity on both HA’s to an almost painful level. This was supposed to help with the phone!!!
As I have not paid for them i think that I might just start again either with a different make that the audi is more familiar with - she handles Oticon, Widex and Siemens - or change audis and choose a different Phonak.
As a first time user - see my reply to Doc - it is difficult to make an educated choice.
Best regards,

Thanks. So with this phone you can answer the phone without being near the phone? ie. by pushing the iCom button?

We have been trialling the plantronics 500a. Not really impressed with it. Noisy. Plus you have to pick up the telephone first to then connect through the HA. Unless you buy a lifter! Its getting a bit silly.

So will probably just ask the audi about the duophone as Don suggested.

Anyone want to buy a 500a with headset?? Going cheap! :slight_smile:

I would say the issue is with the audi. The first week with the Audeo S IX, I was very disappointed. It turned out that the audi was not very knowledgeable with the new Target software. It wasn’t until I went back and sat with the Phonak rep that I was able to get these aids working properly. Everything worked well but I still had issues with the Duophone. Whenever I activated it, all the noise from the environment would drown out the call. I recently went back and adjusted it so the mics attenuate the background noise. Works great! Yes, the music when I stream from my MP3 player is a bit tinny, but these are hearing aids, not high end headsets that are built for sound. When I want quality, I use my over the ear headphones. Please do not give up on the Phonaks. These have been great for me. The sounds from teh envuironment are natural.