Created; January 2023, Changed; 01-11-2023, 24-10-2023
- The buttons on the hearing aids are top to increase the volume and bottom to reduce the volume. There is a double note warning for when the maximum or minimum volume setting is reached and another sound when a Bluetooth device is connected.
- 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 to too quiet or too loud they are calibrated for you. A note or two notes are played when the minimum or maximum setting is reached.
- 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 off and on by clicking, closing, or part 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 disconnected phone call.
- Dialling a number connects the hearing aids.
- Answering the phone directly may connect or may not connect the hearing aid. You need to experiment to discover how your smartphone or cell phone behaves then decide whether to keep or use "forget" to remove the hearing aids Bluetooth connection on that device.
- 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 moving your phone away from your face and putting it away, may not be very helpful?
- If one of the batteries fails or a hearing aid is turned off then the Blue-tooth sound connection will break and stop in the other hearing aid.
- If the hearing aid Bluetooth feature is not used for some time then the hearing aids will forget that connection. So although the hearing aid is listed in the device devices you need to pair the hearing aids again and then the Bluetooth icon will include a tick when the hearing aids are switched on.
- There is a Phonak app. for Android 6 or higher but it is not required.
- You don't necessarily need to use hearing aids, you can use tone controls on HiFi, and sound equaliser programs or apps for PCs, and smartphones which may do the job well.
- If you have the tone set to work without your hearing aids on your non-Bluetooth Hi-fi 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 few notes 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 in some smart devices.
- 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 about cleaning and battery care. Or the NHS hospital auditory department if it is a more technically detailed question.
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 excellent hearing aids did cause minimal irritation, which will diminish in time. I do not wear the hearing aids 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 an infection 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.
I now also do not bother about choosing decaffeinated coffee but do not drink more than one mild, preferred, coffee a day or else it becomes addictive but it now does not affect my tinnitus which is much less severe after 6 months anyway. And after nearly a year I still notice more benefits such as being able to correct something said to me because I am more sure of what was said. Or more I am more willing to ask for a statement to be repeated because I am much more likely to understand the reply, it is not a waste of time asking.
NHS provides hearing aids with instructions, spare batteries, tubes and tube 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 connect to an old tablet or smartphone and it seems impossible to get sound from a laptop. Phonak referred me to the NHS who in turn told me some basic things, spent some time on the other question and was unable to answer my questions on connection to a laptop, They could have just answered the question I asked directly and via the NHS that the NHS one is not supported on Windows.
Using Bluetooth - advantages and disadvantages of connection to devices;
- 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? When setting up a Bluetooth connection ensure that there are no other Bluetooth devices connected to the hearing aids. Advice given that you should disconnect all devices except for up to two is therefore not necessary, but when setting up a connection you must just have the one device you are making a connection to the hearing aids with any other connected devices switched off.
Bluetooth connection to a device;
The Laptop is a Toshiba running either Windows 10, Mageia, or Lubuntu and Ubuntu;
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 may or may 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 ordered for me.
Aftercare - You will need to visit the hospital after two years and within three years to have the hearing aids checked. But if you leave it longer 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 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 dry dedicators, a good sealing lid and leave them for 24 hours.
- 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, it is worth drying and keeping some in a sealed glass jar for this sort of situation.
- It needed a data connection such as WiFi after the hearing aids were paired.
- Gives volume control.
- Gives you additional settings for the type of sound;
- Preset choice of automatic, speech, music, and others.
- Also has a Custom setting that you can name and lets you set the compander to reduce the highest volume sound.
- There is a notification setting but you can not set a reminder to contact the NHS after 2 and before 3 years required. There is a cleaning reminder that has not been required.
- I found the hearing aids of no use in a cinema though I have been told this app can improve the sound through using the app on my tablet in a theatre would not have been practical.
In case of Emergency;
Other devices that can be connected and other points;
- Other makes of smart devices work without any of the interventions that Doro requires.
- This smartphone might run for 16 hours with very little use and 30% of the power remained. But it may only run for 5 hours if it's running slowly and you will need to spend a lot of time trying to do anything much with it.
- At 30% The phone gives you the option to switch to a power save mode. There were other percentage options. The Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 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. This feature did not work subsequently.
- After charging the phone you need to turn the features on again.
- This battery-saving option did not work subsequently and the phone just ran down without turning the extra features off next time. This was resolved by removing more apps and so leaving more spare memory resulting in the feature working repeatedly.
- A smartphone is very much a toy and takes days or can take continual fiddling to optimize its settings and find good apps. for it without having too many that cause it to slow up, 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. They are no good for social media for example Facebook only works properly, though still flawed, on a desktop.
Walking and cycling and everyday use;
|Kassa Cafe, St. Leonard-on-Sea, East Sussex |
- Google Maps - is very good but can not be relied on. If you are planning a bus ride, say, pick a bus route whilst you are online and a bus going at about the right time, the app may switch even if it is offline to the bus or train you get on or on some trains, it will not switch to the correct train if the final destination or the mode is different though.
- The app. or the train operators have changed things so that the app. probably won't synchronize to the train you are on already anyway. You need to follow the information on the train and ask the conductor if necessary rather than rely on this or any other navigation app.
- When offline the app does not reliably show or speak directions. When it does though it is fairly good. If it does not work you still have the map and your location on it that you can look at.
- It won't necessarily show you the best route that you would use if you knew the area.
- Depending on the sensors in the smart device the map may be able to turn to show you the direction you are going, by clicking the arrow or the compass symbol on the right. If a magnetic sensor is not present then the direction you are moving in won't be shown correctly or be consistent.
- Generally, if there is a problem with a Google app or service and you report it, Google replies promptly. I reported that Southborough's library is shown in the wrong location but exceptionally this has not been corrected and maps still guided people to the old boarded-up building for long after I had done that.
- 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 travelled but unlike other apps does not record the route.
- National rail app - Is good but it now does not keep some timetables offline. It now does not show the train stops on the way. You still need to use the train information on the trains and stations if it is available which varies by region you travel in.
- This app has changed and is now just a look-up timetable and does not follow the journey you are on, any more (it did not used to do that properly anyway).
- Many if not all Train Operating Companies have an app There were a few difficulties I found with the Southeastern but you can report a problem and have it answered.
- Other train apps. I am held up by people struggling with their smartphones at the station barrier - but paper tickets and plastic cards by comparison go through the barriers very quickly.
- 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 may ask if a journey was by bicycle or a car sometimes. 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.
- Like all navigational apps, you need to change the system setting to allow access to the location information.
- Automatic - normal mode;
- If you move by a powered vehicle it will assume no exercise has been done in that 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 re-title a wrongly identified exercise by selecting Cycling for example.
- There were differences in how this app works with different versions of, Android 5.1 or 12. But recently (October 2023) the differences started being resolved. Having said that the details are not consistent although the overall figures do seem consistent and probably right.
- The recording of distance can be occasionally quite wrong although it is better than many apps when going into a building so no issue arises. It does not fully record distance walked unless another app is running that uses location, presumably newer smartdevices always record location, perhaps for sinister reasons or more likely this app is better optimised for newer smartdevices?
- If you start an exercise using Home + Then change the exercise to, Walking Man, Running Man recent, or 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.
- Don't pause the app or any other app before getting on a bus ride but finish the exercise then start again when you get off the bus. Otherwise, the maps and graphs it creates will have data missing and a wrongly recorded exercise.
- A map recorded may be wrong, that is leave parts out although the distance or more often the overall distance seems right.
- 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 and can have bits missing than those made by the other apps such as Stava and Rides with GPS. On the other hand, there are fewer spikes such as when going into buildings.
- 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 appears to be inaccurate if left to operate automatically even after correcting the activity later. 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.
- Later in the day or the following day activity is adjusted and the less significant detail disappears although all exercises done that day contribute to the total retained.
- 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.
- Also with the power save use the auto start option. Then Start and observe the walking man icon appear.
- Bikeometer - Free is a good speedometer that works without fuss, summarises statistics and can save history. It is accurate when compared to my bicycle speedometer using a sensor and magnet on the wheel.
- Speedometer - Respire - This type of app is also useful if you are curious about a train ride but you can use it to measure exercise and see route distance, speed and maximum speed (fewer of those features in the free version). You need to try different apps till you find one that works on your smart device. Compared to other apps the map plotted was smooth and accurate without high battery usage but the app does not automatically pause.
- Speedometer - NixGame - The free version works well, the speedometer is scaled 0-35MPH but once you hit maximum speed it rescales 0-70MPH. It will keep a record of a few things such as the average and maximum speed of a journey.
- These and many other speedometers work inside vehicles and travel through tunnels well.
- These speedometers do not work well at walking speeds.
- Strava - 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 that allows access to saved ride maps. The app has different map viewing modes 2D, 3D, and satellite overlay which impresses at first but does not improve the app.
- Strava and Rides with GPS bicycle and walking apps. does not work if kept running when inside a building. They need to be paused or stopped. Similarly, they won't measure moving speed inside a vehicle properly.
- 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 the route was 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 a little 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 app 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 choose 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 caused the app to crash. Removing those resolved the issue but the smart device had low memory which may been the problem.
- Even so, it was helpful to be able to reinstall, log in and thereby reload some of my settings.
- Ride with GPS tells 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-sized area and is adequate. Not all the statistics about the journey you recorded are displayed until the journey is saved online. So that is when you can see the maximum speed of say a train, bike, or walk.
- Does not work well in faster vehicles such as a train particularly going through a tunnel and can give a ridiculously high top speed in these cases. This also occurs when walking into a building so it is best to pause or stop the app. rather than try to rely on auto pause before stopping to go shopping.
- This app is the best of this type of app. Its good features are well thought out making it less complicated than it might have been. There is no unnecessary clutter it is as plain and simple as such a full-useful feature app could be.