This will be a long post. Sorry!
Bit of personal info first. I was implanted in right ear 5/27/21 and activated 6/18-6/21… one of those two. I have an Oticon More 1. I do currently more than qualify for a second ear to be implanted but that’s a whole separate issue. I’ve talked to both MedEl and Apple developers to try pushing for actual Bimodal support but neither party seem to be willing to work with each other or fully comprehend this issue. Anyways onwards!
So, I finally did it. One week ago, I received a Samsung s10e as it was listed (and dirt cheap) on MedEl’s list of supported Android devices since Apple does not support Bimodal users with MedEl. As a professional musician, being able to stream and hear pieces in its entirety is the utmost importance.
Not knowing better, I tried the Artone neckloop (two actually) but the lack of battery life, along with the poor sound quality alongside much interference due to outdated Telecoil technology made me begin to dislike listening to much suddenly. The interference caused by Telecoil even in home was overwhelming at times. And from a visual perspective, I loathe wearing anything besides a watch and definitely do not tolerate anything around my neck.
So, I began exploring. Tried headphones, tried a weird device that I still am unsure what it was which the Audiologist had me try for maybe 10 minutes. But, nothing was satisfactory and always needed an intermediary device. So, went to simply one sided streaming to HA or Audiostream at separate times.
I’ve been curious about how things are with supported Android phones and its ASHA protocols. Have read they don’t work well, sound quality is bad, etc… can’t be any worse than everything I’ve tried. Finally, a friend helped secure a cheap deal for one of them. $75… I could spare this and if it doesn’t work out, no harm. Least it isn’t the hundreds of dollars (and a lot are on backorder due to the ongoing chip shortage stuff). It’ll more or less be purely for streaming music, YouTube and podcasts. Not for anything personal. Like a Walkman! >.<
I received the phone 6/20/22. It took me about three nonstop hours and a couple phone calls to friends to help decipher things. Honestly, coming from iPhone (I’m not giving it up), my biggest gripes is with the OS… so much unnecessary bloat with a Google app store that’s apparently a free for all and littered with absolute garbage. Like Night and Day between the two phones. Unless you can steer through it all or have somebody to help, then this isn’t for the faint of hearts. After hour three, seemingly randomly suddenly it was all connected.
Frankly, it’s a game changer personally and makes me even more irate at these companies that do not support actual Bimodal folks without needing to jump through hoops or wear intermediary devices. I know Phonak/AB users have the support. Resound/Cochlear as well to a degree. But, MedEl is definitely lagging in this department alongside Apple whom, according to the last lost developer I conversed with for a month or so, figured MedEl was supported the same way as the other companies. Maybe their next revision… who knows. If you’re like me and have tried multiple avenues, then I’d strongly suggest finding a supported cheap Android phone for your listening needs.
- It’s in stereo. I’ve not had a full head of music in a year. The very first thing that came on was Sondheim’s Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George. It was glorious and full. I dislike reading about how something makes somebody cry, but I did actually tear up a little because I haven’t heard like this in such a long time.
- It may be a sync issue but the Audiostream lags maybe behind the Hearing Aid. It’s minor. Maybe a fraction of a second off? I have this listed under bad as well. But, I actually found it incredibly helpful personally after the initial annoyance because it more or less helped the brain with the implanted ear process and know wth it’s listening to. Listening to say, Khachaturian Violin Concerto? Here’s a reference to what those weird sounds are. I never could get my music back in the implanted ear (assuming I ever had it), but after a week of continuous streaming, it’s made some huge steps forward I’ve found.
- Sound quality is surprisingly decent. There might be a way of adjusting the equalizer somewhere… It also helps my Audi and I have custom music programs specifically tailored for what I want for both the HA and CI.
- BT Connection. I’ve streamed every single day. I also stream on iPhone and iPad as well. I’ve found the Android automatically connects to the hearing devices vs Apple products that tend to wage a war against each other so one always need to fidget around moreso connecting to Apple, ensuring one BT is off to use the other, etc…
- First time when streaming not being able to mute environmental sounds isn’t an issue. Head too full of talking or music to care.
- It’s an Android phone. Already listed some of my issues with it.
- It is another phone to carry. Awkward! Think of it more as Walkman or the No-skip CD players and you’ll be fine.
- There’s a delay in streaming. Many folks will definitely be annoyed by this a lot. I’ve learned to use it as part of my learning toolkit. YMMV!
- Need an Equalizer to adjust Bass, Treble and Middle. I’m sure there’s a way but haven’t looked too deep. May require a visit to Audi to boost bass on CI music program. We’ll see!
- Better upfront info from both Audi and company about this route and MedEl’s Bimodal support realities. Especially for folks having to do their own research to figure out the best CI brand for them, it should be mucho clearer in brochures and such. Being synced with a hearing aid isn’t exactly much in the way of what Bimodal folks actually want and the description is less than ideal.
And that’s all after a week.