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Phonak Roger On™ – Microphone Transmitter – Review

 

“I own a pair of Phonak Marvel M90 which I purchased in Nov 2019 from RJD Hearing Care at Cleckheaton. At a recent checkup I commented that the clarity of sound I experienced when streaming from the TV or other audio devices was far superior to that which the aids provided when relying on their own internal microphones. I enquired as to whether there was such a thing as a separate, higher quality microphone that would stream into my hearing aids and provide better quality sound.

My audiologist, Rob Donnan, informed me that there was indeed such a device known as the “Phonak Roger On” and offered to supply me with a loan device for me to try out for a few weeks.

It was unfortunate that during the few weeks I had the device I had limited opportunity to test it comprehensively in challenging settings. As I am retired, I no longer attend many meetings, formal dinners or networking events where I’m sure the device would have come into its own.

However, the limited testing I was able to carry out suggested that this was a very impressive and useful device and if I was still frequently attending meetings and social events, I am sure that I would consider this to be a very worthwhile investment.

The clarity of sound and frequency response that it is able to deliver is superb and way beyond that of the “naked” hearing aids. The very best, indeed superb, results are delivered when the device is in close proximity to a speaker or lecturer. My daughter, who is a teacher, told me that she has been asked to wear this device on a number of occasions by hearing-impaired pupils, all who have been able to hear her without any problem. In addition to the sound being clearer and fuller there is the added advantage that the voice of the speaker is not lost among other background noise such as conversation or movement in other parts of the room.

The device works equally well at meetings, especially when these are well-controlled by a chairperson who ensures that only one person speaks at once. If all participants are seated around a table and the device is placed in the centre of the table it picks up the voice of the speaker and attenuates sound coming from other directions.

Even in a chaotic family gathering with grandchildren charging about and various people talking at once it managed tolerably well. I would have liked to have more time to use the device to its best advantage but my initial impression is that, if placed centrally, it focuses on the dominant sound source at any given time.  It may be that it is possible to focus the directional pickup cone towards a non-dominant sound source but I did not have sufficient opportunity to experiment doing this. When there is only one dominant sound source the device seems to effectively adjust the volume of that source far better than the hearing aids on their own so that a soft voice is heard almost as well as a louder voice but this does depend on the sound captured by the device not being hijacked by a louder voice from another direction.

Even on the basis of this very limited trial I would consider it to be a worthwhile investment if I was still in full-time employment and regularly meeting with groups of people where I needed to be able to hear clearly what different people were saying.”

 

J Butterworth

20 February 2024