Yesterday I received my new Phonak Roger On (graphite colour) and Phonak Neckloop. Having seen the encouraging claims about their performance in noise I thought I would bite the bullet and make the purchase. £635 Roger On. £135 Neckloop.
So far my attitude to them is mixed. It’s only 2 days in and there have been a few frustrations. To be fair there are some plus points too.
To start with the plus points, the products themselves look sleek and high tech. They were both fully charged within a couple of hours and I was impressed with the build quality, charging cables, lanyard and both displays. The buttons feel solid to touch and the operation is smooth.
The Roger On has 3 modes + Automatic. The modes are Table, Pointing and Presenter. These are easily cycled through by pressing the big button. When you cycle through them they are locked in that mode, until you reach the start again, where the mode is automatic and it chooses the most appropriate mode according to the situation.
I gave the Roger On to my daughter (on a lanyard) and tested it. I had no luck on the 1st attempt in the car but after some adjustments to the volume it came through pretty clear.
I was able to hear her as well from some distance - about 30 feet.
The Roger on came with a case, a docking station and an audio cable. The case facilitates the pointing mode, where it can be stood upright at roughly a 45 degree angle, pointing at the speaker on interest. The docking station can be used to charge the device and as audio input to a TV/any other audio device. The audio cable I found useful as using bluetooth on my iPad really drains the battery on my hearing aids, so I connected it to my Roger On instead via the audio cable.
The Roger Neckloop - like the Roger On, has a life of around 10 hours. It also had an audio jack - but I could not work out why one would need it. Apparently the Roger Neckloop can also be used for text to audio captioning.
Now for some negatives and I really hate to be negative without putting forward something constructive. My biggest bugbear with this device is the lack of automatic switching. In order to operate it I have to put my hearing aids into the Public Telecoil mode. I can see some people thinking, what is the big deal? But to me it is. You are in a social situation and you realise you need help - so you have to do 3 things - 1. Switch on the Roger On device (ok fair enough) - 2. Switch on the Roger Neckloop (ok fair enough) 3. Change your hearing aid programme to Telecoil - now on my hearing aids there are 2 ways of doing this - by pressing the button on the aid or by using the Easy Line App. I deliberately moved the telecoil program to be the 1st program in order that it would be easier to navigate to because the Easy Line App is a nightmare to connect to. Not only is it slow but for some reason an hour ago it demanded Internet Access before connecting. Really?
So yes, that is my biggest bug bear. Why oh why Phonak could you not make it automatically connect at the time that one needs it most? I am guessing that the Roger On iN does connect automatically.
A couple of other frustrations. Putting the Roger On in it’s stand (upright mode) when in the case feels flimsy. Neither Roger on nor the case has any kind of stickability or traction. I tried to place the Roger On in the middle section of my car but there was no grip.
I have yet to test this in challenging noise environments and I hope to post some more impressions as I think this is a crucial topic for those with severe loss and beyond.