Phonak Roger On

Hi,

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.

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My Aids are RogerReady (automatic switching) but I only think it works with the actual Roger receivers rather then the myLink or the new neck loop.

Keep us updated on how the On preforms.

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Personally I don’t think Roger On would be worth it if used with the neck loop. I think you’re losing a fair amount of features and capabilities. I’d either get receivers for the hearing aids (if the aids are compatible) or pick up a used Roger Pen or Select if I were going to stick with neck loop.

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Interesting comments. Thanks. I understand automatic switching may be a benefit/loss in transition. Sound quality too - anything else in your opinion? I will try and get some clarification from Paul Minikin who owns the site I bought them from.

I heard something about that if the On is used with Paradise or Marvel with built in receivers that it’s stereo and can help with directionality. I think the example was if used as a table microphone you’d get a feel for who was speaking by directionality. Sorry this is so vague.

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No worries - it does sound like it works in tandem with the hearing aid in that respect, so it would bring additional signal to noise ratio benefits. I will try and find out and post any findings here.

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Paul Minikin is good. He should be able to give real time information.

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Ok. I just contacted the HAB site. I did not speak to Paul Minikin but another advisor.

He was of the opinion that the Roger On iN and Roger On are essentially the same devices. The difference however is the direct streaming versus that of using tbe neckloop. In the past he said that the myLink (previous neckloop model) was sometimes susceptible to magnetic interference, but he has heard no reports of that happening with the newer Neckloop, which is probably a superior build.

I asked about the point from @MDB who was saying that the direct version may be advantageous because the hearing aid mics were working in tandem with the Roger On iN. He said he did not think that was the case and reiterated that the functionality would be the same.

I tried to push the case that it might be worth it to upgrade to the Roger On iN on the basis of an improvement in sound quality but his honest answer was that he did not think it was worth it.

Of course there still may be perceptible differences or even a big (wow) difference but it is hard to know unless a side by side comparison is made.

@glucas I don’t think it’s the Aid Mics doing the job, it’s having two licenses or receivers in/on your Aids, so the On can work in stereo. I don’t think the neckloop, myLink can work in stereo as you’re only using one receiver.

Here’s a quote from somebody who used to work at Phonak and was involved with Roger On:

The 2.0 in MuliBeam is giving the user the ability to determine the direction of the speech, which is essentially stereo sound pickup. To use this feature you need hearing aids with Roger Direct. By orienting the Roger On in the same direction as your head you will hear voices to the left of the microphone coming from the left side of your head, and vice versa for the right. The idea is to give the user an easier time determining who is talking.

If you do not have hearing aids with Roger direct, the experience in group discussion use case will probably be similar to Roger Select, apart from the ability to control the beams from the app.

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I am confused by this. I understand the point that there are two receivers but even with one receiver there should still be the ability to transmit in stereo. That’s what the Compilot II did.

Fwiw…I do not feel like I am hearing in mono.

Ok - thanks - but I am slightly confused by this as the Roger On blurb claims that it automatically switches to the talker with the highest signal to noise ratio anyway. But here it is saying you need to orient your head and the Roger On together. Also in pointing mode it surely works anyway by just pointing it at your subject?

I’m not sure I can add anything. When you’re pointing it at somebody, my understanding is that it’s in a different mode than when lying on a table. I guess ultimately there is the “theory” of how these things work and the reality of how they work for you.

Sure. No worries, thanks for the input. I think I see the thrust of the point that was being made - it is a functionality benefit.

I can also see that must people would go direct. Most people have now ditched streamers and go with direct aids. The Marvel direct sound was a massive step up from the Compilot imo.

It’s worth it.

I mean, I don’t know how much the upgrade would cost you. But it’s still probably worth it. Yes, there’s a difference between the audio quality running it via telecoil and running it via Roger direct. And MDB is right, when you have the Roger On on the automatic mode in the centre of the table, using it with roger direct will apply side-appropriate sound level differences to help you hear what side it is coming from. Further, it will solve that automatic switching problem you’re having with the benefit that you will just use it more. You’re not wrong, turning on the neckloop and then switching into the telecoil program is sufficently clunky that it will likely reduce how often you pull it out. So then you’re paying £780 for something you won’t use instead of maybe £915 for something you will? The only time I would use the neckloop were if I were connecting to a different manufacturer’s hearing aid and the telecoil was my only option.

I agree that the little stand is flimsy, but do you need it? The automatic mode will automatically focus in on the loudest talker without you needing to point it around the table, or you can adjust the focus direction on the fly with the app.

I haven’t seen the new MyLink, but historically that audio jack has been a headset jack so that people who do not have hearing aids can still use the Roger On.

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Thanks very much Neville for the heads up.

I think there are a couple of killer arguments in there. Not least the clunkiness and difference in audio quality. I will upgrade.

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I’ll be interested to hear whether you do notice improvement with the upgrade, and whether you end up keeping it.

In Canada, we’re still sort of in lockdown. Things are opening up, put people are still really hesitant to resume the regular social activities they used to do before the pandemic. So a lot of people just aren’t in the sorts of situations where the Roger On would be useful and it has therefore been hard to get patient feedback.

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Will do. Thanks. I’ve just packaged it up and am in the process of sending it back. The Roger On iN is on order.

In the UK things are picking up. The long and short of it is that there seems to be a scary consensus of opinion that 200 people dying a day is a price worth paying here. It’s shocking. I am going out, but just to my usual haunts - not as active as I would be I guess.

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Hi All

I’m not a Roger On user but did a fair bit of research on it before buying it for my Mum.

One thing that is not obvious until you read the fine print is that the multibeam 2.0 stereo capability only seems to work when the Roger is LOCKED in table mode. So leaving it in auto mode and placing it on the table is not enough. You actually have to press the button on the Roger until you see the table mode with padlock. That is how I have interpreted it anyway. I could ask my Mum to test it but I fear that might be beyond her.

Of course, you also need to have Roger Direct.

Thanks for this @thecaz. I have taken note and will report back my findings.

When you cycle through the programs my understanding is that it automatically locks in any case, but it’s interesting here that this stereo mode only works when locked in table mode and not when the table mode is selected in automatic mode.