Phonak L90 bluetooth latency?

I like my L90s OK. The programs on my Android phone give me access to things my old Oticons did not.

I wanted to hook up an audio output to my aids, so I went to Amazon, got an AirFly device. The ad for the AirFly claims low latency. The ad also reads, “Regarding latency, ensure your device supports Bluetooth 5.2.” I don’t know if the L90s support 5.2 and the Phonak page is terribly difficult to navigate.

Pairing it was easy, but there is close to 1/4 second of delay.

I’ve hooked it up to a device that has speakers for others to hear. So in my ears, I hear what they hear from the speakers, plus the same thing in my aids, but close to 1/4 seconds later. This is not acceptable.

I hooked it up to the headphone jack, which when using wired headphones, has zero latency, so it must be in the Bluetooth connection.


  1. Is this the fault of the hearing aids, or the AirFLy?

  2. Do all Bluetooth devices have some latency?

  3. Does the much more expensive Phonak TV Connector have any latency?

  4. Is there any other Bluetooth transmitter that will give me close to zero latency to my L90s?

I don’t have a lot of experience with Bluetooth, so please forgive me if these questions are common knowledge to others. I tried the FAQs here but got lost in the answers that didn’t directly address what I’m asking about.


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For those who want more info. I play music for a living. I keep the volume down to less than 85dba on stage so as not to harm my ears any more than they are already.

I have a small 15 watt, amp/monitor+speaker that I use to hear the music as our big speakers are out in front of us. I thought I could use the L90s as ‘in-ear’ monitors’ and leave the 15w monitor at home.

Our PA has a 12 channel mixer. We are a duo, but we both sing, play guitars and synthesizers. Plus I have backing tracks with drums, bass, etc., that I make at home.

The mixer allows me to turn each channel on or off independently with push buttons. My play was to just monitor the backing tracks in the aids, so I can get my pitch while singing. At the low stage volumes we use, sometimes the audience drowns out the monitor.

I’m sure there are more techie DIYers out there to answer your questions, but it appears that Phonak Lumity line is BT 4.2 compatible.

I TOTALLY empathize with your current issue of latency! I had a LOOOOONG summer of issues with streaming my Lumity Life aids using the older TV Connector V2. Never mind what caused it, but I also wanted to circumvent that old TV Connector with something more state-of-the-art. I researched various options at Youtube, bought this B03 transmitter/receiver that CROWED “No latency!!”, installed it at home, and lo’ and behold! It not only had annoyingly noticeable latency but it was also completely IMPOSSIBLE to keep paired + connected to my Phonak aids. So I’m going to stick my neck out and blame the AirFly.

I figure Phonak made something proprietary on the Airstream tech (like the Connector), and knew they could add revenue if Phonak aids only worked well on their platform.

That B03 experiment was so unsatisfactory that I returned the device (despite its ability to stream audio like 70+ FEET inside my house) and ended up plunking down SERIOUS money for the Roger ON iN V2. On top of which, since rechargeables only give one 15 or so hours of use each day, I needed to buy ANOTHER pair of Lumity Life aids. The company simply won’t make battery aids anymore. So now I’ve got 2 pairs of Phonak Lumity Life aids, 2 charging bases, TWO Roger mic kits AND my 2 older TV Connector sets. If that isn’t worthy of a Museum of Nonsensical Audiological STUFF I don’t know what is.

I think if latency is a concern for you (and really, who wouldn’t find it annoying?!) you’d best stick to streaming accessories in the Phonak family. For what it’s worth, I have ZERO latency with the older TV Connectors or the Roger ON iN sets. Grateful for that!

Phonak experts will probably have better answers but I’ll make a stab at answering your questions.

Bluetooth wasn’t originally designed for audio transmission and has limited bandwidth so they have to use compression (lossy) to reduce the bitrate of a typical stereo audio signal to fit into the available bandwidth. So they use a codec in the transmitter to “encode” the audio stream and the same codec to decode the audio at the receiving end (hearing aids in your case). Both the transmitter AND receiver must use the same codec and that is negotiated over the link. So you are limited by the available codec(s) in the hardware/software of your aids and the device transmitting to your aids.

  1. I don’t think you can apportion fault - the AirFly apparently implements additional codecs including one that has low latency (aptX low latency). However, from what I’ve been able to find, no hearing aid implements aptX LL, probably because they would have to license it. Most hearing aids only implement the required Bluetooth SBC codec and maybe additional proprietary ones like Airstream which appears to be Phonak’s name for a Bluetooth like protocol running in the same frequency range as Bluetooth (about 2.5 GHz). Other aid manufacturers have similar protocols/devices.
  2. Most any digital transmission system packs the data (audio signal in this case) into packets so has to encode and then transmit the packet - that is the lower limit on latency and that depends on the packet size. Then the received packet has to be decoded and combined with other decoded packets and converted into an audio stream.
  3. There is almost certainly some latency but it is possibly small enough that you may not notice it. I haven’t found a document at Phonak that states latency but the similar in function Oticon TV Adapter 3 for current Oticon aids specifies the latency from the input to the adapter to the output of the hearing aid receiver (speaker equivalent) for three input types: analog: 25 ms; Digital: 28 ms; Dolby Digital: 45 ms (digital is via TOSLINK which is a simple digital optical connection with typically a plastic fiber optic cable).
  4. Probably not as Phonak has almost certainly not released the details of Airstream and it would not be economically practical for a low cost device vendor to reverse engineer it.

I expect that your best currently available option for minimum latency is to purchase a Phonak device with the lowest latency, probably the TV connector, to transmit the signal to your aids.

At some point, hearing aid manufacturers will get around to correctly implementing LE Audio. Once that is done, you may find low cost transmitters that correctly implement that also. That should help fix your latency issue and the new codec for LE audio is supposed to yield higher quality audio :wink:

  1. Both, the Bluetooth has inherent delay, the aids have inherent delay. The aids may also introduce some phase shift (another delay) to combat feedback.
  2. Yes, but some are faster than others.
  3. Much reduced as there’s no need for Bi-directional signals, so there’s no need to leave transmission gaps between packets to avoid cross-talk.
  4. Unlikely, due to the way the Bluetooth standard works: especially for music/unless they’ve used a unidirectional/broadcast system.

Or use a FM radio/PA monitor system directly to an earmould as most musicians would for monitoring.


Hmm, when I trialed P90s there wasn’t any (noticable) delay using Bluetooth with TV or anything else, and I connected them to everything like a kid at Christmas.

I’m not saying it’s a P90 vs L90, but it does make a case for BT being 4.2 off the hook as the cause.

Like @Um_bongo said, for performances a set of wireless IEM might be the best choice, but it’s more money. So it might be worth a return/replacement to rule out a problem/dud AirFly.

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Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful replies.

I searched and couldn’t find the Phonak version of Bluetooth, but I read elsewhere that it was 4.2 — and 1Bluejay, thank you for finding what I couldn’t find on the Phonak site

The AirFly use version 5.2 which they say is the fastest.

I tried contacting Phonak on their contact page, but using both Firefox and Chrome (Windows), I got an error message when I clicked “submit”. Double and triple checked and all the fields are filled out properly.

I wanted to ask them about the latency of their TV Connector. It’s a bit pricey, but if it’ll do the job I’d like it to do, it’d be worth the cost. If there is no noticeable difference between the sound coming out of the speakers and the sound in my aids, I want one.

I guess I could call, but phones are a PITA for me, because I depend a bit on lip-reading.

It sometimes amazes me that some businesses that deal with hard-of-hearing people don’t want e-mail, but prefer telephone calls.

Well, it’s Saturday, so I’m sure the phone call won’t be answered until Monday.

That sounds encouraging.

I thought about using IEMs, but I don’t think they would work. Why? We are a duo, and in close contact with our audience. Without the EQ of my hearing aids, if an audience member said something to me, I wouldn’t understand a word.

Put IEMs in my ears and that makes the problem even worse. Even with my aids, I have a difficult time understanding people in noisy environments like the places we perform in.

Add alcohol to the audience member’s speech, and it goes even farther downhill. :wink: )

That’s why I wanted to stream to the aids. Between songs, if an audience member asks if we know this song, and either gives the name or recites a line in the song, I would not understand but perhaps a couple of words, and not the ones that count.

I’ve protected my ears all my life on stage, and then a dust mite allergy that was difficult to diagnose, cut off the blood to my inner ear. I guess I could have listened to the music I played at high volume, since I lost the hearing anyway. :frowning:

Oh, well. The past is past, I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m only 77 years old, and am not ready to retire.


Did you listen while the regular speakers were also on?


I have L90’s and a TV connector … not sure if it latency or just a difference in the sound quality, But I usually turn off the HA microphones with the phone app and listen only to the TV connector.

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I’m not all that concerned about sound quality, as much as I am concerned about latency.

Since the music will also be coming out the speakers to the audience, I need to sing/play in time with that.


Searching on the web, It seems to me there is no noticeable latency with the TV Connect as it doesn’t use Bluetooth.

If this is so, do I have to buy from my provider, or can I look for a cheaper one elsewhere?

Is there more than one model?

I see refurbished ones for $80 on ebay, and $300 or so for new ones. I haven’t investigated any of them. I’m going to try to get a definitive answer from Phonak on the phone Monday. Wish me luck.

I understand they are expensive, but if they do what I want them to do, it’ll be worth the price.

I’m getting excited that this might just work for me.


make sure it is the version 2 … lots of them for sale on ebay

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With my P90 I couldn’t hear the TV speaker, so best answer I can give is; watching TV, the speakers were on and others didn’t have any a/v sync issues and neither did I.

Even with the differences between BT 4 vs 5, it’s not going to be an 1/4 second lag. Is there any chance there’s anything else, like an effects loop, adding the delay?

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It may well be actually and there is nothing that can be done about it. The TV streamer is really the best option.


That is my experience. ANY Bluetooth (no matter what claims are made) has some latency. The Phonak TV Connector has no (noticeable) latency as it is not Bluetooth. There are two models, one has volume buttons and the other one doesn’t.


These are the differencies betweem the models:


I have 2 (one for each TV) and there is very slight latency from Optical TV output. It’s nowhere near ¼ second, as lipsync still looks fine. I only notice it if the TV is turned up similar to the Connectors feed volume. I’ve not tried a 3.5mm analogue connection.


I wouldn’t trust using my Phonak aids for something like this, due to Phonak’s default autoswitching. You can change everything to manual switching, but that’s a real PITA, you spend your time continuously pressing those buttons! In fact, from my gigging days (full band, so over 85dB), I found hearing aids generally problematic. As said above, the TV Connector uses “airstream”, and is pretty short range too.


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I can tell you the Phonak tv transmitter has zero perceptible latency when used with the L90. I think that with any other setup you will have some latency. Do you know for sure the audio out port has no latency compared to the speaker connections?

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Thank you all for your kind and generous responses.

Yes. The mixer is analog, and has 3 outputs, which are all completely synchronized; mains, monitor, and headphones.

There are 12 channels in the mixer, we normally use 10. I can put each channel into the headphones with the push of a button, one for each channel strip.

My thinking is that I can put only the backing tracks and my vocal mic into the aids and hear what I need to hear better. I might also add my guitar or synth channel, it’ll be trial and error.

I should still be able to have the aids working between songs so I’m not isolated from the rest of the world.

It seems when I put my aids into one of the apps on the phone other than automatic, it stays there. I’ve re-equalized the music app and saved it as Music1 that might work.

The 15w monitor will definitely stay on stage for a while, as I give the aids a try in the different venues that we perform in.

During the winter tourist season, we play 3 times a week at an outdoor restaurant/bar adjacent to the ocean and public beach. We also do 2 times a month at a huge 900 space RV Resort that is 2/3 filled with French Canadians (great audience).

Being outdoors helps, because the sound pressure levels on ‘stage’ are easy to control and limit. But sometimes the audience noise masks what is coming out of the monitor. I think if it’s in the aids, it’ll be easier to hear without cranking up the volume.

The rest are private party gigs, retirement communities, yacht clubs, country clubs and so on. These gigs haven’t come back in full force since COVID reared its ugly tentacles, but it’s starting to pick up again.

I’m only 77, I’ve spent most of my life doing music and nothing but music, and I don’t want to stop. It’s the most fun I can have with my clothes on.

I’ve been in this duo with the woman who eventually became my wife since 1985, and we have a large following. Our ‘fans’ are more than audience members, many of them are friends.

Someday, this will be over, and I want to put that day off for as long as possible. Enjoying each and every day to the fullest is important to me.



I found the tech support number for Phonak, and “Cindy” (I’m sure an English name for an Asian girl) said there is no noticeable latency in the TV connector. So I am definitely going that route.

Has anyone ever bought a refurbished one?

Has anyone done business with this Ebay seller?

There are other Ebay sellers selling open box and/or refurbished.

The reason I am asking is this. I if the refurbished one, and 1/3 the cost actually doesn’t work for what I need, I’m only out $90 instead of around $300.


I bought a “refurbished” V2 from ebay seller refurb_hearing almost two years ago. Also got a dock for my Roger On from them. No issues. Used that connector this morning on my computer for a telecon. Would buy again if I needed something.