Phonak Marvel Hands Free: the Achilles heel of this HA

I love my Marvels (M90 13T). I thoroughly tested Quattro and Marvel HA side by side (audiology at my hospital trusted me enough to take them both) in the same environment. I could just hear more clearly and more reliably and more consistently than with Quattro. That being said, the Quattro’s are incredible HA’s — IMO, its like comparing Toyota to Honda. Both great cars, but I guess I’m a Honda (and Phonak ;)) guy.

But man. These Marvels and phone calls. UGH! I live and work in the center of one of the major cities on the East coast. I walk down the street frequently, which means busy environments with cars, many people, and of course wind at times. People without fail complain every single time I talk outside, even if I am far away from the street, say in a courtyard. So then in this situation, I have to manually turn to the normal phone mode (edit: as in, tell my iPhone to not use Bluetooth but to use normal speaker/mic). It’s disruptive, but more so it’s frustrating. I’m already in a difficult environment to hear, and now I lose hearing in both aids. Sure I can turn to acoustic phone mode, but that’s also a PITA since it’s not automatic. Blah.

Stair wells with echo? Forget it. Switch to normal phone mode.

Even sometimes in the hospital where i work. I get a call walking down the wards and there are beeps and stuff going, others talking - I cannot speak at a normal volume in this situation. The person will without fail complain they can’t hear me. “Are you on speaker phone? I can hardly hear you.” And mind you I don’t have a soft voice.

At home when it’s quiet? No problems, no complaints. In the car even? Works great there more often than not, too. And I LOVE having the hands free at home - super convenient. I love it when it works, hah.

But these Marvels cannot keep up with me phone wise. It makes me miss resound/made for iPhone solution, which makes the iPhone still the mic for the caller. I had the original linx for 4-5 years before these, and I feel I have taken a step backwards here. I guess you can’t have it all.

Streaming music, though, is no comparison IMO. Marvels quality is hands down better, more rich. It’s strictly the other person being able to hear me.

All in all, you’d still have to try and rip the Marvels out of my hands (or ears) for me to give them up. I’m grateful that my biggest complaint isn’t my ability to hear, but others! An interesting twist in my HA journey. From a hearing perspective, though, like I said - they are amazing. Even with my severe-profound loss. Tie them with the Roger system I deploy in the operating room, and it’s a dream come true. (I don’t use my 4 pens anywhere else but the OR) I promised a write up comparing the two aids side by side, and expect to do that soon with getting a break from my training.

Back to Hands Free - Anybody have any thoughts / tips / solutions if you have also had this issue?


The Roger pen can be the bluetooth device for a phone (or other transmitter). It will be interesting to see how its mic performs in noise on a phone call when they activate that feature in the fall.

Looked around in Target and agree there are currently no good options. HOWEVER, if you could get Phonak to make the mute/unmute microphone an option for phone calls, it seems like you’d have a doable solution. (Use hands free in quiet situations and mute microphone and talk into iPhone for noisy situations.) It doesn’t seem like that would be a tough change, but who knows.


My hunch is that it’s a limitation of Bluetooth classic. I don’t know that much about the specs of BT, but I am wondering if Bluetooth Classic has an all or nothing approach to phone calls, whereas the MFi program was tweaked in this regard.

Maybe, but I think they’re using Bluetooth classic to stream music and you can mute your hearing aid mics for that. To me the big question is if you could mute the microphone during a phone call, would the mike on the iPhone be active?

Could your audiologist get the highest-level Phonak field rep around to come for a visit to her office to discuss your situation. Perhaps if that person has nothing to offer, at least they could kick the problem back to a high level of Phonak and perhaps get someone working on a fix. Or have you already tried this?


Good idea. They (my audi) really bent over backwards for me and she doesn’t work on commission (university hospital), so I’ve been hesitant to go back unless I really needed to. I think I was a high maintenance patient with all my appointments between Quattro’s and Marvels. :joy: Since I’m nearly certain she can’t do anything to directly fix it, I haven’t gone back yet — but you’re right, she has the ability to talk to phonak. I’ll bring it up to her.


I don’t own these, but have a question … where is the mic in this situation? Is it using a HA mic? Phone mic? Other? If the mic isn’t within an inch or so of your mouth then that’s going to be a problem. I’m constantly telling people I talk to to speak into a regular phone because the noise, interference, early reflections, whatever ruin their intelligibility to me. I can see HA manufacturers throwing a bunch of software onto a HA so that the HA mic can be used as a phone mic. I shudder. :slight_smile:

yes, it’s using the HA mic and transmitting that back to the phone via bluetooth. works really well in some situations, but not all. unfortunately I know that as a budding young professional, I may use these HA’s a bit more aggressively than say someone who is at the tail end of their career or retired. I say this sensitively and with no offense intended to others, but it is a challenge I face that others may not


Even a short bluetooth boom mic (headset) is enough to generate ire from me. I expect decent fidelity from a phone call which makes me a heretic of sorts. All these attempts to make a distant mic “usable” for a phone call are annoying as hell (to me). My pet peeve is the ongoing slaughter of audio wherever it might be. I feel sorry for people on the other end of your calls. I’m not trying to be mean, just my true feelings. Hear that Marvel? :speaker:


some do it really well, like apple’s AirPods (though they are pointed down towards the direction of the mouth). but i hear you. no pun intended :joy:

Phone calls issues are related to the Headset- or Handsfree protocol (HSP/HFP). As a headset you have to manage both audiostreams: to and from the HA.
What you can try is pair your HAs with bluetooth-A2DP only (uncheck Hands-free in your list of paired devices on your phone). Maybe your phone-app is capable to stream your caller’s voice using A2DP and recording your own voice via the phone’s microphone(s). With this setup you no longer can pick up an incoming call with your HAs but directly on the phone itself. But there are also chances that your phone-app can’t handle bluetooth-audio only. Have a try!

I’m not sure you can do what you’re suggesting on an iPhone. At least not that I know how. There’s just no options to do any of that after I scrubbed the settings top to bottom. Maybe phonak will realize this solution doesn’t work for all and they’ll open up an option in Target to make it just audio. What you are suggesting is essentially how the made for iPhone HA solution works.

I have exactly the same problem as you and even I am looking for some solution but nothing is in sight.


Sorry, I didn’t read that you have an iPhone.
Maybe you should contact Phonak for yourself and suggest an option in Target not to offer HFP.

Thanks for your updates - really looking forward to hearing more about your evaulation/comps for these two brands.
I have been doing something similar, with Opn S, Quattro, and Linx3D. I am planning to test the Phonak Marvels because I am just not “there” with the Oticons and the Resounds.

I am also an aggressive HA user with hearing-demanding profession as my day job. Architectural acoustician in construction/architecture/engineering industry working with sound-related design from theaters and concert halls to transport noise and mechanical noise control.

Also live in noisy urban environment and walk on the streets a lot.

I might possibly be a high maintenance client, not sure, but regardless I feel that over time my audi has gotten used to me and I think (or hope) she enjoys working with me because I ask interesting questions and provide very clear feedback. :slight_smile:
So be encouraged and don’t be shy - client needs can help advance the skills of the audi :slight_smile:
I applaud audis for their work that require such enormous attention to detail, serving heart and patience for us. Thank you audi’s & RHIPs!


You will probably not like autosense given your situations. You have a very difficult job for a hearing impaired individual. Not impossible but important to acknowledge and set realistic expectations. I too have a tough job (surgery with very loud background noise, face masks and needing to hear near whispers at times). My expectation was never that my hearing aids alone could be the answer for getting me through my challenge, although the Marvels are the closest thing of what I’ve tried. I rely heavily on roger pens to help me be confident in what I am hearing. But my situation is very different than yours. My thought is forcing your HA (say, if a marvel) into a calm situation (what phonak calls it) mode set more to Omni (default is 4 or “real ear” - maybe 2? I would hesitate to go fully Omni) and with minimal noise reduction - you may get closer to what you want. With obviously a REM verified fit. It’s just my thought.

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I had nothing but complaints about the voice quality when I had the Marvels.

LOL you have nothing good to say ever about pretty much anything, so this is no surprise.


Wow thanks for the thoughtful response esp. with regards to the recommended custom setting - does this intend to get the most authentic or most “real” amplification? I will ask about the Omni versus not full omni modes… as I am not sure how this works in Phonak (or in either the Oticon Opn S nor the Resounds that I have been trying, for that matter…). will follow up with any useful findings.

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