Created; January 2023, Changed; 19-03-2023, 18-03-2023
- The buttons on the hearing aids are top to increase the volume and bottom to reduce the volume. There is a different tune warning for when the maximum or minimum volume setting is reached than with a notification from a connected Bluetooth device.
- Setting the volume lower is helpful in a noisy environment or setting them higher to hear more clearly can also make them uncomfortable though necessary to hear.
- The hearing aids can not be set too quiet or too loud they are calibrated for you.
- The buttons are ganged by Bluetooth connection so you only need to touch a button on one side to change the volume on both sides for example.
- The hearing aids are switched on or off by clicking and closing or slightly opening the battery compartment.
- When Bluetooth is connected; - These instructions are the same as the NHS leaflet.
- Press the top button for a medium length of time on the hearing aid to answer your ringing phone.
- Press the top button for a longer time on the hearing aid to disconnect the call. The hearing aid will play a tune to confirm the phone is disconnected.
- Answering the phone directly may connect or may not connect the hearing aid. It connects to my basic Doro phones but does not connect to my Doro smartphone.
- If you are using your hearing aid your voice will be picked up by the hearing aid but if your phone is nearby then its microphone will also pick up your voice making what you say unclear to the other person. Therefore move your phone away from your face.
- If one of the batteries fails or a hearing aid is turned off then the Bluetooth sound connection will break and stop in the other hearing aid.
- Without hearing aids, there are sound equaliser apps. for PCs, and smartphones which you may do the job well enough.
- If you have the tone set to work without your hearing aids on your non-Bluetooth HiFi or smartphone but then use your hearing aids the sound will sound unusual (in my case high-pitched) but what is said should still be clearer.
- The hearing aids usually play a short tune when anything notifiable occurs in your connected device including turning on that device. Selectively turning off some notifications is useful but may be difficult to configure.
- Phonak Support - Tells you how to use the hearing aids and set them up with a device but does not answer support questions you need to ask the (HiKent in my area) volunteers when they visit your area or the NHS.
The NHS is concerned about your mental health and I have noticed that I can include myself in conversations once again and that my comprehension of what people say is much better, even without the hearing aids it is still better after just a few weeks of using the hearing aids. The benefit was immediate although the hearing aids which are excellent did cause minimal irritation, which will diminish in time. I do not wear the phones at home but have turned up the treble and turned down the base on my Hi-Fi which at first sounds strange but just makes everything clear, this does a similar thing to how the hearing aids have been calibrated which the NHS will explain to you when you are tested and when the hearing aids are fitted.
The hearing aids also reduce the hissing noise from Tinnitus - Tinnitus is not a disease (if you hear it in the centre of your head, I believe) but the brain trying to compensate for my poor hearing. Hearing aids do a better job than avoiding drinking coffee, which coffee also exasperates Tinnitus. The difference in hearing is that I can hear people speaking but now I can understand what they say, without needing to strain to understand them.
NHS provides hearing aids with instructions, spare batteries, tubes and ends at no charge. The hearing aids if lost or broken are subject to charges for their replacement but not their full cost. Bluetooth is connected easily too with basic Doro mobile phones. It was not easy to a tablet or seems impossible with a smartphone, or laptop. Phonak referred me to the NHS who in turn told me some basic things but spent some time on the other question and was unable to answer my questions on connection to a laptop.
Using BlueTooth - advantages and disadvantages of connection to devices;
- Listening to a video on a laptop would be of great advantage where the sound quality in the laptop is poor and low volume.
- Hi-Fi has no advantage you have the tone controls which do the job well. Except if the volume level disturbs other people.
- Phone - Your hearing will be improved but the other person will find the sound poor. It is impolite to seem to talk to yourself but more importantly, you are giving out discussion cues to others although you do not want to talk to them.
- Laptop, Smartphone or Tablet - A sound equaliser app may do the job well enough for you.
Bluetooth connection to a device;
This is an Android 5.1.1 smartphone (you may need to go to google play and install the Sony Bluetooth Headphones app). Then go to Bluetooth settings you should delete the hearing aid connections if you made them earlier and make a new connection to; the "R-NHS hearing aid" which is now available. The hearing aids now connect when you press the top button on the left hearing aid but do not connect if you use the phone to answer a call.
At the hospital auditory clinic;
The doctor took time to test and explain to me about my health, mental health and tinnitus as well as checking things. On the second visit similarly tested and finally completed the calibration of my hearing aids order for me.
Aftercare - you will need to visit the hospital after two years and within three years to have the hearing aids checked. After three years you will need to ask your GP to make a referral for you.
New Batteries and other maintenance - you can do these yourself or go to one of the volunteers who visit a public building monthly to get more batteries and help with other maintenance and basic support.
The Laptop is a Toshiba running either Windows 10, Lubuntu or Ubuntu;
- Ubuntu 20 connects by Bluetooth but there is no sound. There are many suggestions but they don't seem to work.
- https://www.phonaknhs.co.uk/support-faqs/ -- might be useful but did not help. Despite the title of the website, it is not an NHS-recommended website.
- The website given in the NHS leaflet bluetooth.phoneak.com is a shopping page, not a hearing aid support page.
- I installed A2DP -- this did not work on Linux or Windows - it seems to be a sound switch rather than the missing driver.
- Note that only two devices can be connected to the hearing aid. It is apparent that the limit is just on the number of devices connected at any one time but not the total number of devices you have made a Bluetooth connection to?
- Lubuntu 18 connects by BlueTooth (paired) but reports that the connection was not completed and there is no sound and Bluetooth headphones are not listed in the sound output devices. This question might help;
- I installed A2DP -- this did not work.
- Windows 10; Probably should not be connected to two devices LE_L-NHS hearing aid and LE_R-NHS hearing aid. The R_NHS hearing aid headset is probably the correct option but this virtual would only connect once I turned off my connected phone (which is as the instructions say), but when it did connect there was still no sound.
- You need to install A2DP from the Microsoft store I understand but it did not work?
- Bluetooth Audio Receiver - Microsoft Store Apps -- this did not work.
- The system - Device Manager - Bluetooth - lists paired devices such as my connected phone but does not list the Phonak hearing aids.
- I have left a support request with the NHS on these issues with my laptop. They did spend time and asked the maker of the phones but finally, say they can not support all laptops. They also said additionally forget (unpair) all other Bluetooth connections to the hearing aids in all but one other device. (I have not taken this step exactly)
- Product User Guides | Phonak - I came across this link but have not looked at it yet.
The hearing aids accidentally get very wet;
Inadvertently putting the hearing aids through the washing machine that was, fortunately, switched off;
- Take the desiccator out dry it by microwaving it for 30 seconds, squeeze it, turn it over, microwave it for another 30 seconds and squeeze it again. More time if it is a larger desiccator.
- Take the batteries out put the hearing aids into a small jar with a dry dedicated leave them for 24 hours. Or use a larger jar if you have a larger desiccator and device to dry out.
- If the desiccator is small repeat the drying of it, then put the hearing aids and desiccator back in the jar and leave them for another 24 hours.
Desiccators can be found in with sealed-packed items, worth drying and keeping some in a sealed jar for this sort of situation.
Use and other points;
- The battery's capacity is about 40%.
- The smartphone runs for 16 hours connected to Wifi and taking two photos until the battery capacity had fallen to 30%.
- At 30% The phone gives you the option to switch to a power save mode. There were other percentage options. The Bluetooth, WiFi and many smart features were then turned off automatically. Consequently dialling the phone did not connect to my hearing aids until the battery was recharged or the Bluetooth turned on.
- After 18 Hours of use, another warning appeared that the battery charge had dropped to 15%, probably enough to make a short phone conversation.
- A smartphone is very much a toy and takes days of fiddling to optimise its settings and find good apps. for it without having too many that cause it to slow use the battery faster and stop working properly. Adding memory such as by adding an SD card or bigger internal memory should reduce power consumption.
In case of Emergency;
Walking and cycling and everyday use;
- Google maps - is very good.
- OS maps - More detailed than google maps. Suggests bike rides and walks from the parameters selected. The simple version is free this app did not interest me.
- This app will tell you the distance you traveled but unlike other apps did not record the route and Google Fit did not retrieve that information.
- Google Fit - Looks like a very simple pedometer, bicycle and other exercise monitor and log. It is automatic you don't need to start or stop it. It will suggest and ask if a journey is by bicycle the first time you do such a journey. It works particularly well without data turned on by catching up when Wifi is connected later which is when you can view your log of exercise called Journal. - This app may be more trouble than it is worth but on the other hand, it does useful things not offered by other apps.
- If you have a cycling app. or let it work automatically it will record some basic statistics about your exercise walk or ride say. If you move by a powered vehicle it will assume no exercise has been done in that time period but if it was a bike ride say, then use Journal to add the exercise details or find the log Three-dots Edit and retitle a wrongly identified exercise by selecting Cycling for example. It will learn to identify bike rides automatically once it has been taught. It may also miss some exercises but you can add them later.
- If you start an exercise using Home + and the running man symbol then change the exercise to cycling or cycling (recent) for example then more detail will be recorded, and you can pause and restart or finish. This will record; the route on a map, speed and inclination. It works okay if you do not pause the app but it probably consumes more power and saves a poorer record of your activity?
- Don't pause the app before getting on a bus ride but finish the walk then start again when you get off the bus. Otherwise, the maps and graphs it creates will have data missing though the exercise might be recorded accurately?
- This mode runs the battery down quite quickly.
- In this mode, Google Fit - produces graphs and maps but they are less smooth and less detailed than those produced by the other apps below.
- It's over simple control which means you have no control over the mode the app is working in it seems, confused me for a while. It turns out that enough things are covered. It took me a while to get used to the app. for example "Cycling (recent)" does not mean restarting an old log but "recent" means doing something you have done before again.
- If you do not add and remove cycling apps it is very good. It is also good if you switch bicycling apps but I do not know how it measures and scores points, for example, a ride on a vintage bike would be comfortable and easy but hard work on many modern bikes.
- If the app. does not seem to work properly try clearing the cache otherwise there is help on the web. Restarting the device may help it is a good step to take after you make a significant change.
- Pedometer - walking app. simply records walking distance and the number of steps when moving. It presents a graph of steps by time. Use the power save mode or it will run the battery down.
- Bikeometer - Free is a good speedometer that works without fuss and summaries statistics and can save history. It is accurate when compared to my bicycle speedometer using a sensor and magnet on the wheel.
Bike Tracker - Free is a good speedometer but additionally, it probably shows you a map if you have internet access when you are moving. I don't recommend this.
- Strava - As with other apps maximum and average moving speeds can be saved and looked at in detail from their website. The free version does not include route planning and does not have adverts. There is a linked website but this allows access to save rides maps. The app has different map viewing modes 2D, 3D, and satellite overlay which impresses at first but does not improve the app.
- The free version allows you to save your ride record to the website for easy viewing but does not let you plan a route.
- Cyclers - For walking and cycling - the free version randomly posts adverts but these don't intrude in a way that stops anything working. Records speed, top speed and route taken, plus it can plan your bike route but simply tell it where you want to travel between. You can also use the website to plan a route but it does not load the route to your smartphone automatically you can download a copy to your smartphone (I did not manage to do this) or use a phone QR reader to move the plan to your phone app. this works easily.
- The paid-for version also allows you to edit the map it creates for you - I read.
- This app is slightly more cluttered.
- There is no data connection between the app and cyclers.app website.
- Ride with GPS - combines cycle maps and speedometer plus route planning that you can guide a little. Basic is free and can connect the makers of the apps website dashboard of your use and plan rides is very good but it won't let you push the route down a footpath I found. There are no adverts but the app tells you what is not available unless you chose to pay, there are enough free features for it to be useful anyway.
- One or two of the features possibly saving a profile picture of my bike on the website or planning a route caused the app to crash. Removing those resolved the issue. I found could creating the plan again seems okay.
- Even so, it was helpful to be able to reinstall, log in and thereby reload some of my settings.
- Ride with GPS tell me that they can not update the app further and that it would work with Android 10 but will work more slowly with 6 but my Doro only runs Android 5. Consequently, there will only be limited function.
- The free version lets you use one map. This is a good size area and is adequate.
- If this app had worked on my smartphone it would have been the best. its features which are good are well thought out making it a bit complicated. There is no unnecessary clutter it is as plain and simple as such a full-useful feature app could be.
- This app eventually worked okay if I did not use all the features, as advised.