In November 2018 the Swiss manufacturer Phonak released a brand new product – Phonak Audeo M – based on Marvel technology. Phonak have since released additional variations of Marvel technology after the launch date.
For more information about Phonak Marvel hearing aids check out this page on our sister website at HAB Hearing.
Phonak Marvel hearing aid technology has been revolutionary in two respects. One big feature (direct bluetooth streaming) was immediately available and the other (Roger Direct) was promised for late 2019.
Direct Bluetooth Streaming
The first feature of note that was immediately available was direct bluetooth streaming from a very wide range of bluetooth devices. Interestingly with Marvel most bluetooth enabled mobile phones including Android and iOS could connect directly. Other brands of hearing aids could only manage direct bluetooth streaming with iOS (Apple) devices or with an additional intermediary device. Like for instance a neckloop or lapel streamer.
The second major feature promised ‘down the line in late 2019’ was Roger Direct – direct audio streaming from a Phonak Roger transmitter straight into Marvel hearing aids. This idea negated the need for any external Roger neckloop, streaming device or ear level receiver.
Until Roger Direct all these other methods add a little extra bulk and affect cosmetics to one degree or another. A couple of added benefits of Roger Direct to Phonak Marvel are an increased transmitting range from transmitter to hearing aid, over double at 50m in ideal conditions! Also improved battery consumption has been achieved. The Roger Direct feature is now available with Phonak Marvel hearing aids!
So how does Phonak Marvel and Roger Direct work together?
A common misconception around Phonak Marvel and Roger Direct connectivity is that a quick firmware upgrade of Phonak Marvel hearing aids will automatically and at no cost enable you to stream a Phonak Roger transmitter straight into Marvel hearing aids. No physical receiver, no extra cost – but not true!
a Roger IN transmitter. Examples of a Roger IN transmitter include Roger Pen IN and Roger Select IN.
(A Roger IN transmitter holds the equivalent of 2x Roger X receivers within itself, and costs slightly more than the cost of a standard Roger transmitter and 2x Roger X 03 band receivers).
- To enable Roger Direct streaming you need to ask your audiologist to upgrade the firmware on your Phonak Marvel hearing aids. (If this has not already been done and you were supplied with Marvel hearing aids before November 2019). If your hearing aids were supplied after this date you are very likely to be running firmware new enough for this not to be an issue. Your hearing professional will need to be using Phonak Target fitting software v6.1 or later to upgrade the firmware for Roger Direct.
- The next step is to ask your hearing professional or accredited trainer to do one of two things;
Use a special programmer to transfer the Roger X 03 band receivers into your Marvel hearing aids. This converts Marvel to hearing aids AND combined Roger receivers. (No external additions or neckloops to receive audio from a Roger transmitter).
Use a Roger IN transmitter to transfer a Roger X (an IN transmitter holds 2 Roger X 03 band) to each hearing aid.
Remember, the cost of a standard Roger transmitter (like a Roger Select or Roger Pen) and 2x Roger X 03 band receivers is slightly lower than the cost of a Roger IN transmitter (like a Roger Pen IN or Roger Select IN), but that isn’t the main reason we favour option 1 over option 2.
Which Roger Direct option is best for a Phonak Marvel hearing aid wearer?
Point 1 – Most people wear a hearing aid in each ear, but sometimes there’s a reason why you would not.
1). A total loss of hearing on one side with some hearing on the other.
2). Normal level of hearing on one side and some hearing loss on the other side.
3). Loss of hearing in both ears but a preference to only assist one side. (*We don’t particularly understand this idea, it seems to us like having poor eyesight in both eyes and using a monocle instead of spectacles, but we occasionally come across it!).
With Option 2 for the above scenarios you would be paying for a receiver that you are not even using, then the IN transmitter is not just a little more costlier than it’s alternative, it’s then a lot more costlier than Option 1. (Where you would utilise a standard Roger transmitter and a single Roger X).
Point 2 – What happens if you need to replace your hearing aids for any reason, perhaps losing them, damaging them beyond repair, or simply want to upgrade. With Option 2 you are limiting yourself to one brand and type of hearing aid, that would be Phonak Marvel. It’s a great hearing aid no doubt, we think it is one of the best on the market at this time and a great choice. However, who knows what hearing aid technology you will want to wear down the line and what is available. Maybe Phonak again, but maybe a different brand or model. Who actually knows what is new and around the corner?
Point 3 – If you already have a Roger transmitter you can use that so the only additional cost is the price of a Roger X 03 band receiver for each Marvel hearing aid. You may also already have some Roger X receivers, if the serial numbers start with a number higher than 1744 then they can also be used in the process as per Option 1, saving you even more money!
Our Roger Direct opinion for what it’s worth!
With Option 1 you have far more flexibility to be able to move the transmitter and receivers to a different brand if you so wish. Option 1 can be fitted to many different brands and models of hearing aids, BAHA’s and Cochlear Implants, whereas with Option 2 you limit your options going forward.
With Option 1 you can save anything from a little to a lot compared to Option 2 and still leave more options for the future. Bit of a no-brainer really!
At FM Hearing Systems we believe Option 1 is the most cost effective, most flexible and most sensible way to enable Roger Direct streaming from a Phonak Roger transmitter straight into Phonak Marvel hearing aids.
N.B. With both options you still need to involve an Accredited Hearing Professional or Approved Phonak Roger Certified Trainer who can transfer a Roger X into your Phonak Marvel hearing aids.
At FM Hearing Systems and our sister organisation HAB Hearing all our Hearing Aid Audiologists and On Site Phonak Roger Trainers are qualified, approved, certified and competent to perform this function.
Want to know how much of a difference Phonak Roger equipment make to your life? Click here
Finding all this confusing? I’m not surprised! If unsure we can help, just ask!