Whilst chatting with Donna (the technology co-ordinator for Sense) I told her about the different loops I use to enable me to listen to all my audio devices. She mentioned the ConnectLine, a system produced by my hearing aid manufacturer and organised a trial for me. Donna and Keith from Oticon came to my home and Keith linked the ConnectLine to my hearing aids.
He showed me the small lightweight remote control (called a Streamer) which hangs round the user’s neck. There aren’t many buttons and they are quite tactile. He explained that it uses Bluetooth technology and can be connected to several devices. For the trial he paired it with my mobile phone that uses “Talks” software, the landline phone, TV and a microphone for use by a companion. He also gave me a cable which joins the Streamer to any head phone socket.
The first day I used the ConnectLine was very exciting. My telephone in the hall rang. I was in the kitchen washing up when I heard the ringing tone directly in my aids. Normally when hearing the phone it is a mad rush. You know what I mean….struggling to remove rubber gloves, then alter the programme on my hearing aid whilst trying to reach the phone without walking into the door frame or tripping over the dog! But this time all I had to do was get one glove off and press the button on the little remote control hanging round my neck. Hey presto! I could hear and talk to my caller whilst in the kitchen.
I didn’t miss an important call on my mobile even though I probably would not have heard it normally. When my mobile rang I heard it directly in my aids and could answer it via the Streamer and after the call ended, I heard my “Talks” software tell me the call was over. Later that day when I was out with my guide dog I didn’t miss a text from my son.
As soon as the streamer was up and running I noticed that the sound quality was excellent, and it was great that even when I had set the Streamer to cut out background noise, I still heard the phone ringing in my aids!
I was very keen to try out the microphone as I have great difficulty hearing my companion in noisy places. I had lunch with my daughter in a very noisy pub and could hear her well, although I did have to remind her to turn it off before she went to the ladies!! I could also hear my friend whilst in town.
This small piece of equipment is very flexible. I could alter the volume and decide whether or not to cut out background noise. It was wonderful not to have to keep changing loops but to be able to listen to everything using the Streamer.
This is a great piece of technology and I am very glad that Donna was able to tell me about it.