T-coil and Bluetooth questions

I am shopping for hearing aids for the first time, and wondering if there is any use for me in having a t-coil in the hearing aids.
When working or at home and needing to make phone calls, I currently have two alternatives:

  1. I use my cell phone;
  2. I put on a headset connected to a desktop computer and make the call using Skype. I have two different headsets on two computers that I’ll use for calls. Both of the headsets are the type that sit on the outside of the ear… that is, they would sit up next to, but not cover a hearing aid sitting behind my ear.

I usually have been using the Skype option, unless I need to call while mobile or receiving a call to my cell phone number, because the quality is much better…not limited by the cell reception or the cellphone speaker quality…instead limited by VOIP quality, which in my case sounds much clearer.

I recently went through a 2-week trial of Phonak V70s from Connect Hearing. The HIS that provided the trial devices for me never said anything about whether they had t-coil.
However, when calling with Skype, I noticed that whenever I put on one of the headsets, I would get an audible “chime” from my hearing aid… I didn’t know what this tone meant, and it only happened when using one of the computer/headset pairs, and not the other. It also didn’t happen when using my cellphone… I would only hear this chime from the hearing aid when using one of the headsets…

I’m wondering if this tone meant that a t-coil in the HA was being activated?

I didn’t notice any significant differerence in the quality of the audio that I would hear on one headset (when the tone chimed) or the other.

My understanding of how t-coils work in hearing aids is very minimal.
Is the t-coil activated by the magnet in the headset or phone handset speaker?
Does it disable the microphone in the hearing aid when it is activated?
Does it then pick up the audio signal directly from the radiated magnetic signal from the headphone/handset speaker?

I haven’t ever really had a problem hearing voice calls when using Skype and a headset. I have had problems using a cellphone, but most of that is because cellular service indoors where I live is pretty crappy, so I deal with frequent glitches and dropouts in the cellular audio.

Could a t-coil have been activated by one of my headphones on the Phonak V70s I was trialing? I can call the Connect Hearing office that gave me the trial, but thought I would check with others here with experience with t-coils.

Currently I don’t see much advantage of a t-coil, given that I could hear fine with one set of headphones while wearing the aids, without the t-coil activating.

On a related question, I’m likely going to try the bluetooth streaming options in a new set of hearing aids. I’d like to be able to attach a USB-to-bluetooth adapter to my computers, and not have to use the headsets at all when making calls with Skype, by having the audio routed through the bluetooth streamer of the hearing aids. If I can get near the same quality I get with my headset speakers, and if the microphone in the streaming accessory picks up my voice as clearly as my headset, then it may be more comfortable to make calls without having to put the headphones on.
Do bluetooth streamers that come as hearing aids accessories (e.g. SmartConnect with Rexton Trax42) let you pair them with any bluetooth source, so that I could use them either with my cell phone’s bluetooth output or with different bluetooth transmitters on different computers?

I don’t know. I think the first step is to call your hearing aid fitter and ask if your hearing aids do have a T-coil. If they do, did the fitter initialize the T-coil during your fitting? The fitter has to set it up before the T-coil will work. A lot of fitters don’t tell their clients the T-coil is there and don’t initialize it. Usually the fitter will set up one program for T-coil only and another program to let the T-coil and the hearing aids’ microphones work simultaneously.

Ansextra uses a t-coil a lot for phone calls. If he doesn’t respond, you can search the forum for his old messages.

My streamer has the t-coil in it, I love it when I go to the moves. I us the t-coil to connect to movies system then I can hear the voices better. And I can still here the background also the normal way.

There are a couple of things that may be going on here. New hearing aids have an acoustic phone program that tunes the response of the hearing aid to the phone. This is just an acoustic program and not a t-coil program. So when the phone or headset, that has a magnet, gets close it may trigger the hearing aid to go into “phone mode”. They all have their own catchy little name for this. So getting a phone or headset close may trigger the phone program or the t-coil program, depending on how your hearing aids are set up and whether they have a t-coil.

If it does have a t-coil, and it is set up to automatically go into t-coil mode when a magnet is close, then you would have to have a device that can communicate to a hearing aid through the t-coil, like an old fashioned land-line phone. So you would have to find out if your headset can actually communicate by t-coil or does it just have a magnet that sets off the hearing aids.

Triggering t-coil mode in the hearing aid doesn’t mean it will actually communicate via t-coil.