Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FM with the N5 *EDITED*

I've found that my blog has had multiple searches about how to use the FM with the N5 processor. Currently, I use the MyLink neckloop instead of a boot (using T-coil) and the SmartLink Transmitter, both shown.

 Recently, I went to look at the Cochlear store's newest items, in search of the microphone covers (I had a mishap in putting mine on, which resulted in needing another set. Cochlear just sent me some more for free. Details in another post!). I came across an exciting discovery..

"The Euro Accessory Adaptor is designed to create a convenient interface for connecting a wireless FM receiver, such as the Phonak MLxS, to the Cochlear Nucleus CP810 Sound Processor. Wireless FM receivers allow the voice of a speaker, often times a teacher, to be transmitted wirelessly to the listener for easier listening in noise." Cost: $90

For those of you  curious of what it looks like while being worn, I found some pictures that someone posted on a Dutch CI Forum. To see more pictures and, I guess if you read Dutch, read more about it, check out http://www.dcig-forum.de/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=18445&sid=2a9daa833ba1f71e0d1bf7ce67a859b1
This is not me, see above link for source.
See above link for source
I was worried about it being awkward looking. I'm not sure what I think of it, but it certainly adds bulk at a bit of a strange angle. It could be much worse, though. I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts (or experiences) on using the Euro Adapter. How do you think it looks? My biggest concern is the decrease in battery life that I will more than likely experience.

*EDIT as of  9/9*: Cochlear has information posted on their website about the new Euro Adaptor, and the site says that N5 users will be able to get the adaptor for free by filling out a form (which is supposedly on the website, but I can't seem to locate it). Check it out, plus tons of other info about using the FM here. Also, Cochlear has released an improved version of their Snugfit for the N5, which is pretty much the same as that of the Freedom (except shaped to the N5), so it's no longer transparent but much easier to bend to fit your ear shape. In addition to that, they've released Compact Rechargeable Battery Covers. This is good news for the parents of younger kids who like to use the covers and the smaller rechargeables. All of the items mentioned are for sale on the Cochlear Online Store under Nucleus 5 Accessories, which can be found here


  1. Ooo , perfect...if I get N5 I won't have to stock up in disposables just for the FM...:) Sounds exciting!

  2. I agree to the part where you expressed your apprehensions regarding the bulk. The size does seem to be bit horizontally expanded and folks like myself who have been using lighter aids for so many years might have serious getting-used-to problems.

  3. What I'd like to see is that the makers of these devices move into the 21st century and make a blue tooth receiver .... most all laptops (not to mention cell phones) have blue tooth built right in... I am sooooo tired of a wired connection to my phone.... :-(

  4. Vivie- Not sure how long the rechargeables will last with the FM, I have a feeling that those with stronger maps will not be able to use it at all.

    Anubhav- It just seems to contradict the direction they were going in terms of design- the whole idea was to make it smaller! I also miss having comparably tiny aids- Mine used 1 size 13 battery!

    Dan- Totally agree, although I don't use any wires to use the phone. Someone told me that Cochlear originally had Bluetooth built into the N5, but they had to take it out due to it using up way too much power/battery life. Just wait- they'll have Bluetooth in the next generation processor in 5 years, when Bluetooth is out of date and there's newer communication technology :P

  5. Your observation "Not sure how long the rechargeables will last with the FM [sic], I have a feeling that those with stronger maps will not be able to use it at all" is quite astute; though Vivie is probably talking about Bluetooth digital transmission, not FM.

    The problem with Bluetooth is indeed the power consumption, at a minimum of 42mA (milliamperes): It's a two-way protocol, i.e. the BT module that is on a hearing aid or CI transmits back to the phone or iPod as well as receiving the signal.

    If you take a look at a #13 hearing aid battery which has an energy capacity of 270mA-hour, and you plug it into a hearing aid that draws 3mA, it will last:

    ------------- = 90 hours.

    Now, let's plug in a Starkey Eli Bluetooth adapter into your Euro plug socket (instead of your MicroLink). Now, the current consumption jumps from 3mA to 3+42mA = 45 milliamps. This cuts the battery life from 90 hours to
    3mA + 42mA = 45 mA.
    270mA-hours/45mA = 8 hours.

    Bluetooth was not originally intended for low-power audio transmission: Instead, it was developed for wirelessly connecting PC peripherals such as printers & mice, where electrical energy is plentiful.

    The power consumption problem is why both Oticon and Phonak use a Bluetooth-to-FM "streamer" worn on a pendant or kept in the pocket. The streamer, with it's own Li-ION battery, handles the 2-way Bluetooth chores, while it relays the signal via FM into the hearing aids. [In addition, Phonak's iCom also doubles as a remote control for the hearing aids.]

    Hope this clears up why Bluetooth is difficult to implement on a headworn hearing aid or cochlear implant.


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