In Tips & Tricks

Have a hearing implant? Talk on the phone? Who doesn’t?

Now, you can connect them wirelessly! Connecting your audio processor and your phone means that you can hear more clearly and communicate more easily. Sometimes, you can even use your phone totally hands-free.

There are two main ways to connect your audio processor with your phone: telecoil, and Bluetooth.

Telecoil

What is Telecoil

Telecoil is technology that lets you wirelessly connect your audio processor with lots of different devices. One of these devices is your phone.

When you connect your phone and audio processor with the telecoil function, it sends sound straight from your phone to your processor and implant. That way you can hear what the other person is saying, loud and clear. You won’t need to rely on your phone’s loudspeaker, or on your audio processor’s microphone.

This is great for all cochlear implant or hearing aid recipients, and it’s especially useful for someone who has the RONDO Single-Unit Processor—because the RONDO is off of your ear, you won’t need to put your phone directly over its microphone.

Telecoil-Enabled Phones

All current MED-EL cochlear implant audio processors have a built-in telecoil function. Many cell phones, and even landline phones, come with built-in telecoils—in some countries it’s legally required!

A phone with a telecoil will have a T rating: ratings go from T1 to T4, with higher numbers meaning better quality. Look for a phone with a T3 or T4 rating, because these will work best with your audio processor.

If you’re shopping for a phone, you can check if it’s telecoil-enabled by looking at the packaging. It should show a T rating on the box or in the user manual: if it does, you’re good. Alternatively, some websites have comprehensive lists of all phones that are telecoil-enabled (That link shows only phones that are telecoil-enabled. If you want to search for other parameters you can change them by selecting different options on the left side of the page).

Connecting with Telecoil

It’s easy to connect with a telecoil-enabled phone.

  1. Start by grabbing your FineTuner.
  2. There are two buttons on the FineTuner that control the telecoil: “T” and “M/T.”
    1. Choosing T means a 90/10 split between the telecoil and microphone, which is great if you want to focus straight in on your phone conversation.
    2. The M/T provides a 50/50 split between the telecoil and microphone and is good if you still want to hear what’s going on around you.
  3. Just press either of the buttons once, and then your processor is ready to listen in to your phone. Pressing the button again turns off the telecoil.

Depending on which phone you have, the telecoil either works automatically or may need to be manually activated. Since so many phones are different, you should read your phone’s manual to find out exactly how yours works.

Bluetooth

What is Bluetooth

Bluetooth is another technology that lets you wirelessly connect phones and audio processors. The best part about using Bluetooth is that you’re able to use your phone totally hands-free: you don’t even need to hold it up to your head.

Bluetooth-Enabled Phones

Most smartphones, and some landline phones, come with Bluetooth built-in. The best way to find out for sure is to check the packaging or instruction manual. If you see the Bluetooth “B” then you’re good to go.

All current cochlear implant audio processors use a neckloop or streamer, like the ClearSounds Quattro, to connect with a Bluetooth phone. The phone sends Bluetooth signals to the neckloop, and the neckloop connects with the audio processor’s telecoil. That means there’s one extra step beyond connecting with a telecoil, but you might find that benefits are worth it.

That’s because many neckloops can control a phone wirelessly. They might have a built-in microphone or even buttons to dial, hang up, or otherwise modify a call. That means you can leave your phone in your pocket or bag and still have a conversation—all through your neckloop.

Connecting with Bluetooth

There are two easy steps to connect to a Bluetooth phone.

  1. The first is pairing your phone and neckloop.
    1. Generally this just requires turning on the Bluetooth for each, and then using your phone’s menu to select the neckloop.
    2. The exact steps may vary depending on your specific phone and neckloop so please read your user manuals to learn more.
  2. Then, all you need to do is connect your neckloop and audio processor. This is even easier:
    1. Grab your FineTuner.
    2. There are two buttons on the FineTuner that control the telecoil: “T” and “M/T.”
      1. Choosing T means a 90/10 split between the telecoil and microphone, which is great if you want to focus straight in on your phone conversation.
      2. The M/T provides a 50/50 split between the telecoil and microphone and is good if you still want to hear what’s going on around you.
    3. Just press either of the buttons once, and then your processor is ready to listen in to the neckloop. Pressing the button again turns off the telecoil.

Once both are paired, then you can start using your phone totally wirelessly!

 

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