Posts Tagged 'ReSound Multi Mic'

ReSound Multi Mic update

It’s been a long time coming, but here is my advice on the Resound Multi Mic based on my personal experience so far: if you are thinking of buying one of these, try before you buy if possible, and whatever you do, don’t have it set up on 100% multi-mic instead of a 50/50 multi-mic and hearing aid mix, unless you are a hermit.

Also, don’t leave your charger where the office tea leaf will nick it the first time you plug it in. The Multi Mic spent its first three weeks of use in its box with a dead battery because I was afraid to flout the manufacturer’s dire warnings about not using a generic charger with their product. Unfortunately, there’s no obvious way to get a replacement ReSound charger, but the nice people at Connevans supply a generic one which works perfectly.

The good news is that, when plugged straight into the telly, the Multi Mic improves speech discrimination on poor soundtracks markedly, and I’ve actually been able to pick up bits of dialogue that the normal hearing Spouse has missed. It genuinely is amazing. The downside is, that with tulip domes currently acting as earplugs when the aid mics are muted, I have no awareness that The Spouse is speaking to me when he’s asking me what someone just said, for a change. As a temporary fix, I tried switching one aid to wireless Multi Mic and the other to The Spouse, but in mono you don’t get the benefit of either and I’ve now just given up until I can get the settings changed.

The other big disappointment is that my fabulous NHS Resound Up Smart paediatric mini bte aids seem to be the only version of the ReSound aids which are not recognised by the ReSound Smart app which allows you to use your smart phone as a remote control for your hearing aids and Multi Mic. Probably because it’s intended for babies rather than 50 year olds. Explains the too-tight grip on the ear cartilage as well. I had to trawl deep (for me) into the online specs to discover that it wasn’t just my ineptitude which was preventing the aids from pairing to the iphone, but you can find the information a little more quickly in the ReSound pdf here should you need to.

My final gripe is the most devastating, though. Before I used it, I was worried that there might be a time delay on the sound transmitted by the Multi Mic, but this is not the case and there is no noticeable delay on your conversation partner’s voice or line in audio input from tv, etc. However, I have found that when the Multi Mic is clipped to someone else for conversational purposes, it picks up my own voice at almost the same volume as theirs and adds a very noticeable time delay (to my voice only) which prevents me from speaking. Think very bad satellite phone connection, or highly effective Delayed Auditory Feedback weapon. Since conversing with others in noise is the task I primarily bought the Multi Mic for, I am pretty gutted and have not even tried to use it at work with students. They think I’m a total weirdo as it is.

It has to be emphasised that some of my problems may be down to the settings rather than the product, so I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen the extremely helpful audiologist at Clinic O. In the meantime, if anyone out there has any experience of these things, I would be most grateful for any tips or pointers for solving the Delayed Sound of My Own Voice problem…Delayed Sound of My Own Voice problem…Delayed Sound of My Own Voice problem…

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Speechless…

Oh My God!! This is amazing…TOTALLY AMAZING!!!” I shrieked, forgetting that I was the only one in the office invisibly listening to Radio 4 streaming live to their hearing aids. Even more amazingly, not only could I understand every word that was being said, the clarity of speech made listening almost effortless. Wow. So this was why other people liked listening to the radio! Whatever next, I pondered, perhaps I was going to finally discover how they can follow ‘Top of the Lake’ without subtitles! I let out a little sigh of amusement at the very thought, and eagerly returned to my voyage of wireless listening discovery.

The next discovery was slightly less edifying, however. With Multi Mic and Radio 4 on 100% of my hearing mix, and the real world on 0%, I was now a frightening embodiment of the famous Lombard effect, which causes human beings to raise their voices in loud surroundings in order to be heard. The only difference is that whilst it’s quite acceptable to shout conversationally at cocktail parties, it comes across as totally bonkers in a quiet office.

My talking to myself in a very loud voice was attracting glances from a colleague, and I noticed a question being formed underneath his twitching beard. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear a thing with muted hearing aids and Radio 4 beaming directly into my brain.

“HOLD ON A SECOND…” I entreated, as I tried to remember how to get myself back into airplane mode without aggravating the rapidly developing sore spots on the backs of my ears. All that button pressing combined with the vice-like grip of the new hearing aids was taking its toll, and I didn’t even have my reading glasses on yet. “Oh, stuff this”, I said, giving up on buttons and impatiently ripping the Multi Mic’s audio lead out of the computer in order to take a shortcut to my normal speaking volume.

With normal conversational volume restored on both sides, I began to wonder if I had indeed made a terrible mistake by opting for 100% Multi Mic on wireless. It was all very well hearing Radio 4 with crystal clarity, but not at the expense of everything else. Fearful of taking the edge off my new found enjoyment of faceless speech, I carefully tucked away the Multi MIc and returned to my admin activities on the computer in silence. I needed to preserve all my energies for the ‘Top of the Lake’ TV test later that evening…

Testing, Testing…

“Hiss? Ah, I think I know what that could be”, said the extremely helpful audiologist, “there’s an air-con fan running, I’ll turn it off for a moment and see if that’s the noise you’re hearing.” It wasn’t, but after some vague sound descriptors from me and further experimentation with the expansion and compression settings on the aids, the hiss was banished. It took a little longer to actually do than to describe here, but ‘A La Recherche du Temps Perdu’ has already been written so I’ll spare you an epic account of check-box clicking.

Hearing aids sorted, it was now time to move on to the really exciting business of setting up the ReSound Multi Mic. Months of preparation had gone in to preparing for this groundbreaking moment, but it turned out that the aids were initially not as excited about talking to the Multi Mic as I was. They doggedly refused to leave airplane mode until I had practically snapped their battery doors off with my clumsy openings and closings to the prescribed instructions. Fortunately, the extra time afforded by this complication allowed me to come to terms with the fact that hearing aids could even have an airplane mode, and I made a mental note to remember not to send any aircraft into an accidental nosedive by listening to iTunes whilst airborne.

Now for the really, really exciting bit: hearing distant/ quiet speech wirelessly. The very helpful audiologist clipped the Multi-Mic to his lanyard and retreated to the farthest corner of the room, by chance mirroring the exact  behaviour of a student trying to escape from me during a hard of hearing tutorial. He uttered some words and waited for my reaction. It was impressive.

“OH MY GOD!!! That’s absolutely amazing!!! I can hear every word!!!” I shrieked, leaning right back in my seat to listen for further bon mots, just like other people do, instead of being bent double. Blimey, this was awesome. Amazingly, at almost the same time, someone shrieked “OH MY GOD!!! That’s absolutely amazing!!! I can hear every word!!!”, and this stopped further expressions of absolute amazement in their tracks, while a short circuited Cookie Bite Cortex tried to work out what the heck was going on. It turned out the other voice was actually mine being picked up from the far end of the room and wirelessly beamed back to me as an echo, so I’ll have to see how that one works out when I’m waxing lyrical during group tutorials. I don’t want to accuse anyone of talking complete rubbish only to discover that it’s actually me on a 40 millisecond time delay.

Demonstration over, I had to make a snap decision on whether to go for a 50% mix of multi-mic and hearing aids when in wireless mode, or 100% Multi Mic, so I opted for 100% Multi Mic to get my money’s worth (£372 inc.VAT to be precise). This is in the hope that with studio background noise levels muted slightly by silenced tulip domes, hearing through the Multi-Mic is going to be the way forward. Whether I have made a terrible decision there remains to be seen once live student trials commence in just under two weeks’ time, but whatever happens I’m stuck with it until my follow up appointment in 3 months’ time. Fortunately I have been allowed to hold on to the old Danalogics in the meantime, just in case any nasty surprises emerge in the real world.

With everything fully set up and tested, it was time to pack everything back into its box and release me to the wilds. I thanked the extremely helpful audiologist profusely for his interventions, and returned to work with high hopes…


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