Would like comments from Phonak Marvel users

I am a 8 yr. HA user. Now using first generation Phonak w. BT. Came out I think a year before popular Marvel. (Wasn’t called “Marvel” when I got them.)

Wife just went for first hearing test. Hearing in one ear is just slightly bad the other could use some help. She has tinnitus. The first thing she noticed was that the “sample” Phonak HA after her test greatly diminished the effect of her tinnitus!

Like I she had/has used an over-the-ear BT headset. Thus, Phonak is the only brand she can get. (We are Android people.) The Costco version of the Phonak only comes in models that use 312 batteries which are undersized for use w. BT.

My questions -

  1. Besides the fact a rechargeable battery has a life of 2.5 to 3 years, Is there any other reason not to simply spend 40-50 cents/week on size 13 batteries?
  2. IF you have tinnitus have you noticed “help” w. your HA in dealing w. your condition?
  3. Can the newer model Marvels simply tsfr. voice on phone calls to only one ear, rather than increasing sound on both HA?

Thanks.

I think you’ll find that Phonak claims 5 to 6 years battery life for the rechargeable Marvels. I’m almost two years into the rechargeable battery life of my right ear Quattro (the left ear one has been replaced several times) and although I give my Li-ion batteries special TLC (e.g., never wear my HA’s out for yard work when it’s over 85 deg F), my right HA is going great. Still 6 hours of battery life, at least, per 20% charge.

Also, one may find many HCP’s very understanding. My audi told me when I got the Quattro’s that towards the end of year 3 that she was prepared to send my HA’s into ReSound for refurbishment under warranty if I thought the battery wasn’t holding up great and she thought that would insure I’d get at least a 6-year lifespan out of my rechargeable HA’s (ReSound claims 5 years of life for its rechargeable Quattro’s). OTH, I’m intent on keeping my one original Quattro has long as possible just as an experiment to see how long the battery can last so at 5 or 6 years down the road when someone shows up to claim that rechargeable batteries only last 2 to 3 years, I hope that I can say, “That’s funny. Mine is still working quite well and it’s SIX years old…”

I tried out Marvel M70s last December and liked them, but didn’t like the rechargeable batteries because I didn’t think they would last long enough between charges for long trips. So I had to hold out with my old aids until April before I could get aids that use the size 13 batteries I have been using in several previous generations of aids. My audiologist provides free batteries for the first three years, so I’m happy with my choice.

I also like the idea of being able to put my HAs in a desiccant jar overnight every night which I couldn’t do since I had to recharge them.

I had M90s from February to July of this year. I have to put some doubt on your claim that the 312 battery is undersized. I streamed regularly 4+ hours a day, particularly once lockdowns started and I spent all day on the phone, and the battery life was a consistent ~4.5 days (16ish hours a day for the work week, 12ish for the weekends, averaged out in the app to 14ish) no matter the brand I tried (though I only tried whatever it was my audiologist gave me, and Rayovacs). I had M receivers and embedded Power receivers over this time. The 13 sized battery would give more life, sure, but my audiologist, at first, really worried about my aids being small, I guess because I was a first timer.

You should know also that the latest Resound aids can stream audio directly to Android devices as well (I now have a Resound Enzo Q) so no, you don’t have to go with Phonak.

Thanks for letting me know there is another brand that can do BT w. Android.

Were you testing Phonak m90s for 6 months? You switched to Resounds? Which one you prefer for sound quality in streaming, as well voice quality and Bluetooth stability?

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Unitron and Hansaton also do direct android streaming now as my fitter told me. I didn’t check. They just get tech around year later, since Phonak has to be first one. All three belong to the Sonova family.

Resound works directly with android but only if you have android 10 with ASHA BT, so if you have older phone (S8 and older), nope.

I don’t want to recharge one more thing, especially since charging takes some time, and if something mishaps (like it didn’t recharge overnight because of poor contact) you need to wait those few hours.
Batteries swap is what, a minute job if you’re doing it slowly.

Here price is significantly higher for rechargeables, and if I remember correctly my calculations, I’d have to change them every other day for 5 years just to break even in cost. That was I think calculation for 312 batteries. 13 and 312 don’t cost the same here usually, plus of course, different prices for different manufacturers.

Size 312 during my trial lasted around 3-7 days, P receiver. Size 13 lasts around 8, but the difference is that I have started doing much more streaming and also wearing them more than 6h a day. On S receiver battery 13 is around 12 days.

Also, phonak will release new ones, called Paradise in 5 days, you might want to look into it.

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@Blacky Unitron and Hansaton are both owned by Sonova who owns Phonak so that makes perfect sense.

@rafals14 I wasn’t testing exactly; I have had a progressive loss and my audiologist worked with me and Phonak to trade the Marvels back in when they weren’t strong enough for me anymore. They didn’t have to do this but they did and I am really thankful. I only have one hearing aid now since I got a cochlear implant in my right ear. No one with my hearing should be talking about sound quality so I won’t. I can hear some stuff. It’s nice. That’s pretty much the size of it.

I can however talk about Bluetooth. Just like the Phonaks and my cochlear implant processor the Bluetooth works great at home / inside / in the car. It’s not so great outside. Only works consistently if I hold my phone. Same was true of Phonak too. Would probably be fine if I had an armband. Probably going to look into that. I did get a Bluetooth neckloop so I can stream to my hearing aid and CI together but I don’t have telecoil enabled in my hearing aid because reasons that are hopefully going away this coming Monday.

I think one thing this thread is mixing up is treating classic BT in Phonak Marvels with BLE in MFi or ASHA. They are two different animals and behave differently technically. So to any brand new would-be HA user who stumbles across this thread, to equate the two and say that one is getting the same out of either might lead such a new user astray (reference to one of the many other threads on the forum debating the differences and whether they matter might be helpful). Hopefully with BT LE Audio coming along (BT 5.2) all new devices will use the same new interface (BT LE Audio is compatible with classic BT, too). So it will be interesting to see how Phonak adapts and whether it joins the happy throng or continues to try to differentiate itself by continuing to offer something different and special.

One of the biggest drivers for rechargeables is that most HA wearers are old folks. The older you get, the less dexterity you have. The older you get, the less mental competency you have, e.g., in tracking when you last changed your HA batteries. So for really old folks, with a rechargeable, you don’t have to fiddle with really small disposable batteries or have your caregiver in an old folks’ home remember when the last time she/he changed so-and-so’s batteries (unless everyone uses the exact same brand and model hearing aid and changes everyone’s batteries all out each Sunday!). Just like one takes one’s clothes off each day, one’s glasses, etc., it’s not a big deal (except for folks stretching the imagination) to just take your hearing aids off each night and put them in a charger overnight - they have to go somewhere when they’re not in your ears- and if you had a Quattro, a fully charged hearing aid can go 30 hours or 24 hours with 12 hours of streaming within that 24 hours. So only someone like an intern or a resident up for 30 hours at a crack on the wards need worry about running out of charge while on the job. Most normal people are going to be going to bed within 16 hours or so of when they got up and most normal people are not spending their life on a camping trip out in the piney woods very far from a wall outlet. Most people have to make sure their smartphone and/or their iPad and/or their laptop is charged up or connected to AC. For all the other things one has to do in life (cook, houseclean, tend the yard, go shopping, etc.), laying one’s HA’s down in a charger when they come out of one’s ears for the night is trivially irrelevant. It’s pretty hilarious to morph it into a life-changing experience that can push you totally out of whack! :slightly_smiling_face: IMHO, the one or two true liabilities of rechargeables are their finite long-term lifespan before the batteries can no longer be recharged and their sensitivity to prolonged exposure to extreme heat. But when it’s 105 deg F outside today as it is in parts of Texas, most folks probably don’t want to be outdoors, anyway. So there is a market for rechargeables. They can serve a very useful purpose but that market niche may be different than what many folks want and need. If one plans on keeping one’s HA’s a very long time or routinely going out in very hot environments, it would be much better to get a HA model that takes disposable batteries.

I wouldn’t recommend phonak marvels rechargeable to anyone with dexterity problems. I don’t have dexterity problems and I definitely had to hold them extra firmly to be able to pull them out. Silver version. White ones I tested with battery size 13 and they’re so slippery that it was crazy tricky to get the door open. Can’t imagine having those as rechargeables.
Blacks are mat and give some grip.

Maybe people do change batteries on a schedule, I’m lazy and I wait for a whine from HA and then I feed it. Really don’t want to spend energy on remembering such stuff. Yeah, could make an alarm. But this system works perfectly for me.

Faulty battery? You pop another one, problem solved.
Won’t recharge? Go back to your fitter, send to repair, wait.

If you’re in a retirement, without much obligations and in familiar environments, I see how that might not be a problem.

I’m (almost) working person, so I speak from that perspective. If I have to get ready for the job and commute, I don’t have time to recharge in case it didn’t sit properly the last night, finding time to go to fitter for repairs plus waiting is definitely non trivial hassle.

And waking up 2h more early in case I need to recharge the HAs just doesn’t work in my case.

To some people rechargeable could be convenience, however for others they’re definitely not.

I can charge my phone on the go. Or just leave it dead. It’s a phone. Not essential medical equipment like glasses or HAs.

Car won’t hit me on the street for dead battery in phone, but without HAs I might not hear the car. It almost happened. That’s the reason why I started wearing HAs in the first place. To not ever again experience that shock.

Especially now when electric cars are all around and make even less noise I definitely need all help available.

All the things you mention are possible but not very likely suppositions.

I’ve never had a Li-ion battery die unexpectedly on me and I’ve owned a bunch of Li-ion-powered devices. Having too many battery-powered devices (both alkaline and Li-ion, etc) is definitely a headache but since HA’s are part of my daily routine, they are not the same as a cordless drill battery, a TV remote, a wall thermostat battery, etc., that are easy to neglect with infrequent use).

Also on the charger dependency, my charger has an LED indicator. It discharges very slowly. One has a whole week or so from a full charge to notice that it needs to be plugged in. One can easily notice in inserting or removing the HA’s how much charge it has.

They say that 90% of our world is visual. I think it would be very bad to depend on hearing to avoid being run over on the street or crossing the railroad tracks. And most people, no matter how their HA’s are powered, are in danger of being run over by something when wearing HA’s if they are STREAMING. So before we ban rechargeables for being a dire threat to hearing safety while walking the street, we should ban streaming to one’s HA’s as being a dire threat to one’s safety!

I think the real consideration of rechargeables vs. disposables is what is the environmental cost? I don’t know. But just as there can be a “carbon tax,” I think every technology ought to be taxed according to its prospective lifetime cost to life on the planet. Otherwise, just as with fossil fuel use, some technologies get a free ride with respect to the care and maintenance required to put them to rest when they are disposed of. I guess this sort of hope is wishful thinking. As the global pandemic exemplifies, some things can just get out of hand for the ability (or will) of humans to deal with them. And maybe rechargeables vs. disposables is such a small ecological dent compared to other things about human existence and expansion that it’s one of the least of our worries and attention is much better devoted elsewhere.

BTW, rechargeables beep just as disposable battery-powered do when their HA’s are low so the hypothesis that one would somehow run out and not notice it is not likely. I’m not sure why anyone would not charge their HA’s while they sleep but in any scenario where recharging is advisable, one can always do it one ear at a time. Unlike disposables, because the charge level can be metered over its entire range, you get lots of advance warning as to how much charge you have left (I have asked ReSound to put the charge level in an Android pull-down notification so that any time I look at my Android notifications, I can see my HA charge level at a glance). Most experienced users will have an older set of hearing aids as a backup, too, so in the event that an HA unexpectedly fails, one is likely to have a reasonable backup. I’m on my first set of HA’s ever. I’ve had 3 ReSound left HA’s fail, apparently in their external microphone circuitry. None of the 5 HA’s I’ve owned has had a Li-ion battery problem (one ended up needing a firmware update to register its charge properly). In all 3 failures, I got by very well with just wearing the other HA while getting a warranty replacement within a week to 10 days each time. My conclusion is no matter how you power your HA’s, you’re very likely to have to deal with an HA failure sometime during its lifetime use due to reliability issues in a very small miniaturized device that has to withstand a lot of abuse in its use.

One might as well manufacture reasons for never learning to ride a bike, On one’s very first ride, one might fall off and crack one’s noggin. Better to stick with tricycles forever!

P.S. You can charge the case while you recharge your HA’s. A 10-minute charge gives you 3.7 hours of HA use (for Quattro’s). A 30-minute charge gives you 8 hours of use. So, given that you’re most likely allowed to take a lunch break and maybe a coffee break or two during the day, it’s pretty unlikely if for some reason you found yourself a bit short on charge, you couldn’t easily make up enough to get through the day along the way. One could just as soon suppose that you forgot to get gas for the car or bring your wallet to buy a subway, bus, or train ticket. There are some things that we learn to do nearly infallibly every day (one summer, I did forget my teenage daughter was at a high-school college prep class and did have to be reminded to come pick her up-the wife was at work as an MD-an hour or two after everyone else had gone home from the summer school class-so I know it’s possible to forget about just about anything!). :slightly_smiling_face:

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At least two users mentioned that they woke up and one of their HAs wasn’t charging at all. Third one said that he could not recharge at all.

I never said ‘die on me’, I said ‘woke up to empty battery’. And other examples were continuing on that premise - I definitely need HAs outside. Maybe you don’t. That’s awesome. For you.

I heard that car. From the wrong side and was confused why I don’t see it.

We use all of our senses to navigate through the environment, or better said, our brain does. If you hear a car coming, you’ll stop and check again even if you checked just a second before. But in general, you do things, you don’t think consciously about your every step. Your brain does those checks for you in the background.

Blind people very successfully walk around the streets independently. And they didn’t get some additional sense we others don’t have. So I disagree with you that we’re so dependent on the eyes only.

However since I need them outside and when I come somewhere I was going to, I need them working.
I don’t have time to sit and wait for them to recharge (in case it was my fault). You maybe have. Again, great. For you. I see you say quattros. Topic is about phonak. I think I saw something like 5 or 15 minutes for 30 min of runtime. So they’re definitely not fast.

Checking if you see some leds, will work for a few weeks while you’re consciously checking and then it will be on autopilot. But autopilot doesn’t mean ‘doing perfectly’ but doing unconsciously. I definitely had situations where I woke up to empty phone and I’d swear I saw the charging icon the night before.

When I said you can charge phone on the go, I meant charge and use it. You can’t use HAs while they’re charging.

I also said that if there is anything wrong with a battery, they have to be sent back. That takes time. If that’s not an issue for you, again, awesome.

Yes there are many reasons why HAs could be needed to sent back, I just don’t want to add one more to the pile.

Rechargeable batteries have lifespan. Maybe phonak says it’s 6 years, but no one had this HA for 6 years to be able to confirm that. However I constantly see how people plan to swap them by the end of the third ‘to be on the safe side’. Reasonable. Phonak didn’t reinvent battery tech and made it something superb and unseen. Otherwise they’d be selling that :joy:

To me, that’s enough of a reason to decide they’re not for me.

I don’t know why are you so upset with my reasons and have the urge to show me how mine aren’t valid. They are. For me. Yours are for you.

Also digging lithium and producing product out of it is definitely carbon heavy, some information point (I watched for cars) that it’s even worse than for regular car combined with its exhaustion over expected lifetime. However, if you plan to swap battery in HA earlier, you should also count for that in ‘eco calculation’.

I’m not upset. I’m just pointing out that you’re making silly, unlikely suppositions about how working with a rechargeable hearing aid is going to be a constant bother (never having owned one, apparently) and as a user of a rechargeable hearing aid for almost two years now, I find those suppositions pretty preposterous. Miket began it all by saying that everyone knows the rechargeable battery is only going to last about 2.5 to 3 years. I think it’s a disservice to people shopping around for hearing aids, particularly if you haven’t used a particular type, to postulate on what it’s shortcomings are going to be for MOST people. Yes, a few people get eaten by sharks when they go swimming but that doesn’t mean everyone should stop swimming at the beach. Same if some forum members come up with horror stories about what happened with their particular usage of rechargeable hearing aids. You actually postulated that for having a dysfunctional hearing aid, because it’s rechargeable battery was not working well enough, you might get run over by a truck or some such thing! I was pointing out, for example, that it’s far more likely to have a dysfunctional hearing aid for some other reason or even not hearing the truck for loudly streaming music while walking. It’s that sort of silliness in criticizing the reliability and likely bad outcomes of using a rechargeable hearing aid that I’m pointing out as not being very well-conceived. That’s all. So if you lay off preposterous claims, I’ll lay off pointing out how far-fetched they are.

Ok, now I’m curious, where did I say that?
I remember merely pointing out that your perspective isn’t valid for everyone and gave my examples.

I clearly state my posts with ‘I’.
If my reason to buy HA x is that it comes in red, that’s perfectly valid reason for me even if it’s not for you.
However calling any of my reasons silly or something else is definitely not in the spirit of the purpose of this forum. It’s perfectly fine to give your experience, but this what you’ve been doing is called ad hominem attack which is also explicitly stated in rules as unwanted behaviour.

One general thing I did say is that I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone with dexterity issues. Since I DID own them. Phonak didn’t do good job with those rechargers.

You own resounds and draw conclusions from them, which obviously don’t hold for all rechargeables. Plus topic is about Phonak Marvels.

I started the discussion asking for comments about various features of the “Marvel”. I did mention, in passing, that the rechargeable tech limits the number of recharges a battery of this type could take before degrading to the point of being useless.
What is strange is - Phonak only guarantees phone for 3 years, but tries to state battery will last for 6 years. That means you would have to send the HA in (if you hung on til month 38) and pay the hundreds of dollars (forget quoted cost) to have new batteries installed.
Phonak doesn’t make this clear. The truly honest HA sellers should all warn their users about the necessity of sending in phone before 36 month. I’m sure in another couple years there will be lots of complaints, here, about rechargeables.

“ad hominem” is an attack on a person’s character rather than on the validity of their conclusions. I am criticizing the validity of some of your conclusions as to whether it’s going to be a burden to make sure you have an adequately charged rechargeable hearing aid every day and saying that your are postulating some relatively unlikely scenarios. But you are right in that my conclusions are based on using the ReSound brand. I trust that Phonak’s tech is at least equally reliable, if not more reliable, but I could be wrong. I think it would be more appropriate just to say that you (and anyone else) prefers to go with the known factors of disposable batteries that you’re accustomed to dealing with rather than postulate a whole bunch of reasons why rechargeables are going to fail you and leave you high and dry. I don’t think that’s too likely to happen to anyone who’s a reasonably careful individual who can consistently generate and follow habits. And it is my conclusion that MOST people are not likely to have the problems that you imagine with rechargeables even if they go to work with them every day. You are right, too, in that each of us seeks answers for our special situation but the rest of us have to provide answers relative to what we and others on average experience. So I don’t see forgetting to charge each night, not getting feedback from the charger that it’s working, and having the hearing aid die unexpectedly during the day for lack of charge as something that’s likely to happen to almost all people using a rechargeable hearing aid. That seems like exaggerated worries to me. That’s a comment on your conclusions, not your character.

Whereas the age old advice was to avoid talking about politics and religion, it seems on the forum that two good ways to start a disagreement are rechargeable vs disposable batteries and iPhone vs Android! (We don’t do very well with politics either, but usually manage to avoid that)

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In Germany official guarantee is one year. Since my fitter goes through some union that has a better deal, it’s then 2 years.

But only for HAs. Roger select for example is one year only. And is unknown if I’d be able to swap batteries in it at all.

Bleh. Not fun.

However, usual idea of a guarantee is removing faults done by manufacturing process and not wear and tear.
Also batteries dying isn’t the bug, it’s a feature :rofl:

I think they overpowered them in hope they’ll hold on for 6 years with the usual expectations of losing capacity over time. That’s why you have people reporting how they have more than 50% by the end of the long working day, however, I think no one has them for more than 2 years (from the forum folks).

In a few years we’ll definitely be smarter after we see how they really hold in practice, not relying on marketing propaganda only :wink:

@miket You’ve used the word “phone” several times in your post. Really confused by this. Phonak makes hearing aids. They don’t make, or warranty, “phones”. What were you referring to?

@jim_lewis Even more complicated is the fact that people refer to MFi and Bluetooth like they’re different things, when they’re not. MFi is just a certification from Apple that helps makes things easier to pair. No hearing aid is using W1 chips like Air Pods. They’re using BT, or BTLE, depending on the application.

Hi, Blacky

Perhaps you’re right that there is a critical difference in rechargeable technology between Phonak and ReSound that might make Phonak rechargeables more unreliable. We are talking about Li-ion rechargeables, right? Not something like Z-Power? But when you say “contact” does that mean that Marvel rechargeables have metal battery contacts on their outside that have to make contact with matching contacts in the charger bay? I could see where that could be a problem.

ReSound by contrast doesn’t depend on direct contact. It’s some form of wireless charging, triggered by what appears to be an optical sensor in the bottom of each bay that detects the HA has been inserted into the charger bay. Once wireless charging has been started, a bright but very small LED on each HA begins flashing (easy to see but not big or bright enough to cause a nighttime illumination problem in a room that you’re sleeping in). Also in the Smart 3D app on one’s smartphone on the connectivity and battery status tab page, the “LED” charge indicators for each HA start flashing. Once the HA and app LED’s start flashing and a few minutes have gone by, I’ve never had a problem with an HA charging up as much as I want it to do. The HA that had the firmware problem would think it was charged fully too soon and I quickly learned that I had to jiggle it in the bay if the green LED stopped flashing just after the initial insertion to make sure it had progressed past its initial check on charging status and startup. After the firmware update, its wireless charging worked great.

So if Phonak Li-ion rechargeables depend on direct electrical contacts in the charger bay, maybe ReSound’s wireless charging approach is more reliable, more observable, and for anyone very interested for some reason in having a rechargeable HA, perhaps ReSound would be a better choice. Since I am interested in Phonak as a possible replacement for ReSound’s the next time I upgrade, it’s good to know if there is a basic difference in the way recharging the HA Li-ion batteries works for each.