You asked… we answer

Subject: Mini Microphone / streamer
Question: When using the Mini Microphone to stream audio via the 3.5mm jack, does it stream in stereo if you have been fitted with a Baha on both sides?

Does the device have a dedicated on and off switch, or is it a toggle power button you have to hold in? I am blind, so would appreciated a sliding on or off switch, as I am unable to see LED indicators.

I am considering having a Baha fitted to my left side, I currently have one fitted in the right. I was tempted by the Otican Ponto Plus as it has a different shape for each ear, which would make it easy for me to identify the correct Baha that should be used for my left ear etc. I know Cochlear can change the colour of the flashing LED to indicate which side the Baha relates to, is there any other characteristics that can be used for blind users? Perhaps different start up sound or some sort of marking on the device?

Does the remote control allow you to use it as a key ring?

Why did Cochlear decide to make each accessory separate? I currently use the Phonak Compilot which is bluetooth, microphone, remote control, streamer and has the ability to connect to my mobile phone in one device. I wear this around my neck, and wondered why Cochlear decided to have many devices instead of one. This means if you want a remote, streamer, and the ability to wirelessly interact with your phone, you have to carry many different devices (more to lose).

// Chris, the UK

Answer:

Chris, thank you for your questions.

Yes, if you have two Baha 4 Sound Processors, the Mini Microphone (and all our accessories) will stream the audio in stereo. This enables a high quality stereo simple plug and play option for listening to audio from your stereo, MP3 player or any device with a 3.5mm audio jack. Simply, plug the cable into the audiojack, connect to the Mini Microphone and then audio will be automatically streamed direct to your sound processors, and in stereo!

There are two ways to turn the Baha 4 off. First, you can remove the battery which will completely turn off the sound processor. Second, you can hold down the back button on the sound processor which will place it into a “stand by” mode with a very low battery drain. The sound processor can then be “woken up” by holding down the front button. We made a change with Baha 4 Sound Processor to have the buttons work with the same way when worn on the head (i.e. back button = off, front button = on), this has improved usability.

I can see the discrimination between the left and right sound processors would present some additional challenges for you. There are a number of solutions to help you distinguish the right and left sound processors due to your visual loss. As you highlight, it is important for the best possible performance, to make sure they are worn on the correct side as they are configured for your hearing loss and the microphones are calibrated for each side. Your hearing care processional could adjust the pitch of the beeps so when you change the  settings these could be a different pitch for each ear which would help you know if they were inadvertently placed on the wrong side. Or, the beeps could be turned off for one side versus the other. In terms of tactile feeling, there are a number of solutions. You could have a tamper resistant battery door placed on one side which will feel like a small ridge. The hearing care professional can provide stickers which you could place on one sound processor which would provide a tactile discrimination between each side.

The remote control makes it easy to adjust the volume and program settings of your sound processor. Unfortunately, there is no key ring attachment. Although, that is a great idea and something we should look into. Thank you!

In the rapidly developing world of technology, different hearing care companies have different solutions for wireless accessories. We decided to use the newer and more advanced 2.4GHz solution as it does not require a neck loop streamer so is a true wireless solution. Other solutions would require the external microphone to communicate via a gateway or streamer that you would wear around your neck. The avoidance of a gateway reduces the signal processing delay required to convert the signals and allows you to have full stereo sound. Therefore, the sound quality of the signal should be superior. Working with your hearing care professional you may find that one accessory may be able to meet your needs. For example, for some one like yourself who wishes to take advantage of all functionalities you may find the phone clip to be the best all round accessory as you can connect to any bluetooth device and use the volume and program controls.

Thank you for your questions, I hope we provided some clarity!

Mark C. Flynn, PhD Audiologist, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

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