Joe of Planet Midtown (scruffycritter) wrote in hearingaidhacks,
Joe of Planet Midtown
scruffycritter
hearingaidhacks

Phonak iCom: So close to what we want, it's frustrating!

The streaming device that Phonak has I realized I never posted a review.

The iCom has a one year warranty. Phonak's HA's have a 2 year. I found this out when the iCom died on me ($120 fee to fix). The battery life was horrible but I got a very early model and I *think* it's better now. If nothing else, there is a firmware update for it so you can charge it at the same time as use it.

So onto usage:

It's great for Cell Phone communication and it's great for listening to an iPod or other such device via a phono jack cable.

And if that's what Phonak's goal was, they got it right... But they weren't thinking like one of their users if you ask me.

It's not just we want to use it with our phones or MP3 players... It's that we want head-set/microphone combo we can use, and since we always wear our devices, we want those to be the ear pieces for the head-set! And it should be as easy to use as any other headset.

How tough is that?

Listening on the iCom to music from your PC over Bluetooth is questionable as it wants to cut off between songs and such to save on battery life. So you'd use the phono plug cable. No problem.

But if you want to use Skype or something on your PC then you HAVE you do it over bluetooth because the cable solution is strictly input. Then you gotta go pair it to your phone again afterwards...but that's a minor annoyance...I can deal with that.

But you know what totally slays me here?

It's that there is a USB connector on the iCom! It's the power plug (and more apparently...a PC recognizes it as a new device when plugged in).

So how tough could it really be just to make it work like a USB headset and microphone when you plug it in to a PC?

All the hardware seems to be there. All the functionality is there. Someone please tell me there is a device driver to connect the freaking dots! There's gotta be. It's too glaring of an omission for there not to be one.

If it's missing, Phonak should to offer me a job. Really. Failing that, Widex. I'm not picky. I just want the stuff done right.

Any of the Pros here able to ask their Phonak Rep about this?

ETA: Just called Phonak. There is no driver. I'm just gobsmacked.

ETA2: I was wrong about using the phono cable making more usable. When the iCom detects no audio coming in via BT or cable, it switches back to the normal hearing-aid mode. When it detects it, it switches back. So using it on a PC with intermittent input results in endless switching back and forth (with the associated clicking and beeping). If you ask me, the iCom should be smart enough to know a phono plug inserted into means we want whatever it is hooked up to to have its undivided attention. Y'know, like a headset.... Oh wait... :)
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