SOUNDGATE with VERITE HEARING AIDS: GRADE C- (up from F)
Where do I start? How about 10 months ago when I first bought the Soundgate control unit with Bluetooth adapter through Costco.
I was a 75 year old using HAs for the first time. As a classical musician, I have never been happy with the Verite HAs. After months of attempting to stop the squeal in the right ear, plus other problems, I was finally able to consider the Soundgate.
I was warned by the Costco audiologist (who had 6 years training) that “Bluetooth has its problems.” Well, I already knew this.
But, as a former computer tech, I thought that we could work through the problems and reach a basic level of functioning which would be useful.
I didn’t expect it to be perfect. Bluetooth tends to drop out every so often for 2 seconds. Why? I don’t know. All of my BT stuff does that. However, I really expected better support than I got from Soundgate.
HANDS FREE PHONE USE: With my Blackberry Tour mobile phone or my Samsung Fascinate, Soundgate had the same 2 problems:
Only worked in the ear HA toward which my head faced; if I looked left, the right HA went dead, if I looked to the right, the left HA went dead.
Every time the phone connected, it switched to full amplification, no matter at what level it was previously set.
These 2 problems together made Soundgate unusable for cellphone use. The combination of terribly loud crashing background sounds over the top of the phone conversation, with either ear dropping out, made me not even wear the thing. It took me some time to pursue the issue, because the feedback problems which I had with the Verite HA lasted for months before a simple fix was found.
Finally, I returned the Soundgate and my Verite HAs to Costco, who sent them to Bernafon for analysis and repair. I then received an email from Joan at Bernafon, who gave me more help in a few days than I had received in months.
Problem 1) While previous reports from my audiologist said that Bernafon had not heard of this problem of dropouts when turning the head, Joan replaced the neck antenna cord with a shorter one. This immediately fixed the dropout problem. It doesn’t happen anymore. (It should not have happened at all. I see that others have had this problem, despite Bernafon/Costco “never hearing about it”.
Problem 2) Joan gave me this quick workaround:
“If you hold the Volume button (down arrow) for about two seconds it turns the mics off. So then you will only be hearing the caller.” This works, but requires accessing the Soundgate controller and requires taking your attention from the road or whatever, This is just bad programming. There is never a reason to blast up the sound from the mikes, because you have received a phone call! This is just the opposite of what should happen.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT FROM COSTCO/BERNAFON = GRADE D
I had to do my own analysis and push for help. There is no real support function. Be advised that you have to push for assistance. I finally got help after returning everything to Bernafon, and then emailing back and forth with “Joan”, who solved the issues.
(I’ll leave a separate comment about using Verite/Soundgate/Samsung Galaxy Android phone together.)