Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Phonak ComPilot

Here is my Phonak ComPilot, as shown below, which I bought over the weekend after trying out at The Ear Foundation to see if it would suit me. I am very impressed with this piece of kit.

The buttons on the front: Plus sign for volume up. Minus for volume down and large button above for accepting and ending my phone call and for other options for the Phonak ComPilot when adjusting.

My ComPilot

 In photo below photo shows my Home button and Connect button.

Home button and connect button on my ComPilot

 In photo below I show other side of my Phonak ComPilot which is the power on and off button.

On and off switch

Photo below shows audio and power indicators. When its switched on and been switched on for a while, the power on indicator flashes every so often green to show you have power above 20%. When it falls below that it will flash red every so many seconds.

Audio will stay a solid blue when bluetooth streaming to an audio equipment like mp3 player or mobile phone for example.

When 1 bluetooth device is connected, it is a short blink blue. When connected to two bluetooth devices it will double-blink blue.

More visual displays are mentioned in the Phonak ComPilot instruction manual for those who may interested in this device.

Audio indicator and Power indicator

Photo below showing ports for audio input, FM input and charging.

Audio input for 3.5 mmjack. FM input and and charging input.

And below, photo showing my Phonak ComPilot and Creative Zen mp3 player. My mp3 player I nearly gave up on and thought I would not hear on it again.

My Phonak ComPilot and my Creative Zen MP3 player.

Sound quality listening to my mp3 through my Phonak ComPilot that streams it to my hearing aids was how I remembered. Music was stereo. (No tinny music) 

To listen to your music or to make a phone call on your mobile, which I did later that day and, sounded good and I could communicate using my current mobile phone to my boyfriend. You do not press any buttons on your hearing aids prior to using, this happens automatically on my hearing aid model when I turn on my Phonak Com Pilot after placing it round my neck, which for me that is the only strange thing about it because I have been used to pressing button on my hearing aids to loop setting.

While listening to my music or making a phone call, I am aware of my surroundings. This can be adjusted with your audiologist if it's a problem I believe, but for me I will use it a bit longer before discussing these options with my audiologist, as compared to my experiences before and now, I do so much better on the bus listening to my music and naturally if I ever need to make a phone call on my mobile phone, I will always find a quiet place to do it. 

I have read in the instruction manual that if you turn volume down on Phonak ComPilot, but turn up volume on mp3 player or mobile phone instead, that this solves the problem of background noise.   

I have also learnt through a friend who has a Phonak ComPilot that you can link it to a computer if it has bluetooth, so could help with things like listening to music, help with Skype, You Tube clips etc..

Related post:


Naida said...

I never knew it was stereo, I guess that is better. Is the ComPilot the first thing you've had, to be able to listen to music since using HAs?

Liz said...

I may have given the iwrong impression there. Sorry. I'm not saying they are stereo, but they sound stereo to me. Its how I remember when I last heard my music good through an mp3 player.

Since using my Phonak Nathos SP hearing aids having the ComPilot is the first proper thing i have had to listen to music. I did have some Silent Headhphones, so I tried out of curiosity to see if I could hear music again, a few days into first wearing them, and i could hear. But I wasn't comfortable wearing those headphones still over right ear. I have gave these to Claire to The Ear Foundation, so that future people who are thinking of buying some themselves, then Claire will have a set for people to try.

Naida said...

From reading my handbook again, it is actually stereo even tho I never realised.

It's a clever device that I love.

Hope it carries on giving you the music that you enjoy.

That's good what you've done to the headphones.

Liz said...

I never realised it was stereo either to say I have been reading the book a couple of times. I am still learning alot and stil learning more since having my Phonak Nathos SP hearing aids.

Yes Claire has helped me so much since knowing The Ear Foundation, that I was happy to give them to her, and do what she seen fit. I gave her load of batteries that I oringnally bought for old hearing aid remote too, with me not needing those types of batteries for anything else. So they will come in handy for her too.

Naida said...

Is your ComPilot the same colour as your HAs?

I think its good that something like the Ear Foundation is available for people. Shame I dont have something like that near me.

Im sure Claire can find use for the the things you gave her.

What you going to do with your old remote, they are rather expensive?

Liz said...

No my ComPilot is silver where my hearing aids are more grey. But its a nearly a close match.

Claire bought that off me, so cost she was willing to pay for it was deducyed off my ComPilot. So all in all, happy all round.

Naida said...

Glad you managed to get rid of your old remote and get something for it :)

Soon you will be sorted with everything you need for your deafness :)

Liz said...

Yes I certainly will when I have remote. As you know i could not get that phone alert I needed. But if I do miss people phoning me, they will have to try later. :)

At least I know I am sorted should I need to phone anyone in an emergency.

Cindy Dixon said...

Liz - you can plug an audio cable into your ComPilot and computer to listen/watch anything - it's not nearly as nice as bluetooth, but it's definitely doable! I don't like being tethered to the laptop, but I do enjoy being able to hear. Try it - the audio cable is inexpensive - but I do recommend getting the best quality.

Liz said...

Thank you for that Cindy, this would come in handy to try as sometimes i don't get to hear my boyfriend well on Skype with my speakers.

Going to bookmark this post for future reference, as it is coming in very handy for all the tips I have been given by everyone here. :)

Naida said...

I have an audio cable going from ComPilot to iPod. Didn't think to plug it in to computer :)

Liz said...

I wouldn't have know either. so this post has been a great help to me, more than I realised. I hope its been a great help to you.

Cindy Dixon said...

Liz - please let us know how the audio cable is working out for you! Love to know if it's helping you on Skype!

Liz said...

Hi Cindy. I've not got round to getting one at the moment, as its not quiet on my priorities list. Other things are distracting me at the minute, and I do quiet well with just my speakers at the moment when on Skype, which is only once a week thing I do. But should I get round to getting one, I will certainly let you know here in this post. :)

Liz said...

The only times I found when I struggle on Skype if there is a break in video quality. Do you find having the lead helps in that period of time when it does this?

Cindy Dixon said...

I have Skype, but I don't use it anymore - when I did I had a lot of trouble hearing - and this is before I got my ComPilot. I chat using Facebook with friends in other countries, and use my ComPilot bluetoothed to my cell phone for voice conversations.

Liz said...

Thanks for that Cindy. It may be worth me trying it sooner. Will have a look today for one while shopping online later.

Liz said...

Well I have ordered myself an audio cable today. Should get it in a few days. Wil let you know here, when I have tried it out. :)

Putte said...

Great that you are satisfied with you ComPilot. I was meeting my audiology yesterday and tested the ComPilot for the first time. Live in Sweden and I can get it paid by the social insurance system so we created one application and now it is only to wait…..

But they need up to 80 days to handle my request and right now it feels very looooong time 

However I have had a simple blue tooth device, an Artone and it still works so I have to come down and counting the days…

The benefit for me with the ComPilot is that I can use 2 mobile phoned paired e.g. my work phone and my private one. I can listen to music during my workdays and it helps me to isolate what other is talking about and concentrate on my work. Still I can easily answer any call easily and afterward come back to the music. I can also simply pause the music when somebody wants my attention at work.

Before testing the ComPilot I was not in a hurry to get one. My Artone still works an do what it is designed for but after testing this device I want my ComPilot – yesterday….

I know that ComPilot can do more than I want it to deliver but to me TV/computer/skype is not in scope.

My Artone is small and discretely and the ComPilot is not.
I guess that I am back in the days when I used a Phonak ‘Smartlink’ If I got a dollar everytime people asked me what it was, I have probably been rich now.
But I can live with that questions so for now I counting day’s…..


Liz said...

Hi putte and thank you for sharing your experiences. You sound so glad as i am to having one of these. Yes its not compact, but once you find you are using one, and as you have just described the possibilities it will give you, you will get so much joy and use out of it.

Before I went onto Phonak hearing aids myself, I wasn't so sure, because of what I was not getting at the moment, and with the cost. But once I was sorted out with the right hearing aids, everything else fell in place, and I am full of smiles as everyone is telling me. I do feel switched on, and its not like the feelings I have had before when I thought I was hearing better. I am finding things I did avoid, I have started to do, like holding my first stall with my part time business I do in my spare time to my part time employed job.

It sounds like yyou will benefit with it too. Let me know how you get on here later, when you have had some use out of it. I would look forward to hearing more. As long as it feels to owning one, I hope soon it will come round quick for you. :)

Cindy Dixon said...

Liz - FYI - if your ComPilot includes the TV Link, you can also connect your computer to a flatscreen TV (either HDMI cable or AVG cable) and you won't have to be tethered to your computer with an audio cable. I just received my AVG cable to watch Netflix on the flatscreen, and it hit me that I could use TV Link, too. Love it!

Liz Fisher said...

Thanks for that Cindy. I decided though not to have the tv link, as I will always have subtitles. I am still waiting on receiving my audio cable. Let them know its not arrived. Got to give it a few days longer, so I wil be chasing them up Thursday if not received that morning, in which they either send me another out or refund me.

Liz Fisher said...

Well I still did not receive my audio cable, so while I wait for refund from that place, I have ordered another elsewhere. So yet to try one out.

Liz Fisher said...

Well my audio cable came yesterday and I have tried it out for first time today watching a couple of programmes. Its better I found this way, than relying on my speakers, although I will still rely on my subtitles.

ChrisLA said...

I am also considering the Phonak ComPilot, so I read all of the comments above with great interest. There is no mention of the ComPilot's effectiveness in noisy restaurant situations. That is the big draw-back of my present hearing aids. Does the ComPilot capture the table conversation better than hearing aids alone? Is the improvement worth the investment, since in most other situations my present hearing aids are satisfactory.

ChrisLA said...

I am considering purchasing the Phonak system with the ComPilot option, so I read all of the comments above with great interest. One situation that was not discussed was the performance of the ComPilot in noisy restaurant situations. That is the one serious limitation of all of the hearing aids I have purchased -- three generations of them. So my question is, does the ComPilot significantly improve the capture of table conversation in a restaurant environment? Is the improvement worth the investment in the new generation of hearing aid?

Liz Fisher said...

Hi ChrisLA. Thank you for stopping buy. I have not used mine for noisey resturants as you have to buy a remote mic for it for that situation. But it will still have to boil down to how your hearing aids are set to get the best out of it.

For that mic, details are here

Without that or some other device that could work with ComPilot, you ould only be able to use it for mobile phones, music etc..

For my resturant situations I use a Conversor. I found this did well for noisey situations, up to the point till I lost further hearing. I still have my Conversor but not tried it out yet with these new hearing aids. The only thing that you may not like about it, is that when you use a Conversor to cut out background noise, you don't hear yourself speaking.

I know for listening to music on a bus. I could not do it before because of noise of engine taking over. But now I have my Phonak hearing aids, and having them adjusted accordingly for me, I am aware of noise around me on bus, but it does not take over my music.

I have high frequency hearing loss with some middle ranges too missing. The low tones were lowered down. I don't know by how much. But this has worked for me as they said it would, as I was seriously having doubts it wouldn't unless it was turned of completely.

Hope this helps in some way.

Pilot Club of Louisville said...

Can I buy the ComPIlot myself or does it have to be programmed through the audiologist?

Liz Fisher said...

You will need to buy your ComPilot yourself, but before you do, make sure you discuss this with your audilogist to make sure you have the right hearing aids for it. If it turns out you have, once you have bought it, you can use it straight away with your hearing aids, but you will need to go back to your audiologist, so he/she can programme it for you in certain areas to suit. Hence I had to have background noise reduced to hear my music from my mp3 while on the bus travelling.

Lisa Elifritz said...

I got my compilot today and the TV part. When I listen to the TV It's as if I can hear the air in the room!! The TV voices also seem distorted and high pitched. Also my own voice is amplified into my ears from the mic. Also when I talk on my phone my own voice comes through my hearing aids and distracts me to the point I had to stop using it. Do you think all of this can be fixed? If not I'll have to send it back. Thanks for writing about it.

Liz Fisher said...

I don't have the tv part myself as chosen not to have this option myself. I still rely on subtitles so felt it was a waste of time for me personally, so I am not able to help on this part I'm afraid.

But as for using your mobile phone, I don't experience what you are experiencing. I think this is something that you need to discuss with where you bought it from, and maybe your audiologist can help too in case there is a little fine tuning needed on your hearing aids needed, which my audiologist managed to help me something on a different matter to this, and that was just being able to hear my music on a bus.

mizjewel said...

Hi, i came across your blog when i was researching about the compilot. Its been a few months since youve had it, still worth it? Thanks.

Liz Fisher said...

Yes I still recommend the ComPilot if you have Phonak hearing aids. Mine gets plenty of use from ocassional use of mobile phone, to mainly listening to music on an mp3 or on my phone.

And I use it for listening while watching programmes on computer. Even though I use subtitles while watching.

Pilot Club of Louisville said...

While I love my ComPilot for my hearing aids, when I am on the phone at a public place, the other person on the phone can hear the background noises I bought the external microphone hoping to eliminate this, but it did not. Is there a way to eliminate the background noise?

Liz Fisher said...

Hi. And welcome. Glad you are liking the Phonak ComPilot.

When I have used my Phonak ComPilot (no external microphone) a few times, no one has said to me they can't hear due to background noise. But then I have put myself in a controlled situation so I can hear them, as noisey I would struggle. I have once spoken outside to someone. But noise levels were ok, and that was first time I tried it out.

With me not personally using an external microphone myself. I had to look up in user manual about it. It does say in there that when using an external microphone, you need the microphone close to your mouth as possible. Have you tried a little closer than before, to see if that helps?

I did a Google to see if something came up on this, and I am afraid I could not find anything. I'm afraid personally myself I am not able to help on this area with not using one myself. My advice would be to contact Phonak themseves via their contact page of their website after selecting country you are in. Their website

Let me know how you get on. Hope they can advise.

Frans (NL) said...

I noticed some complaints from the other side when I spoke to them outside; but also when I was at home. Bluetooth sometimes seems to scramble a little. But so far I am as happy as can be.
Anyone here who was able to have the mic also working on the PC, in order to Skype for instance? I cannot get it to work then only listen mode.

Liz Fisher said...

Hi Frans. I know there has been no complaints and people have heard me clearly when using indoors who I have spoke to when using it. Do you make sure your mobile is with you? Not like say put it on a table and walk away round the room from it when talking? Only I know from my own experience of past bluetooth products I used when I did this it would scramble or cut off. So I always make sure its in my pocket.

I have used my Phonak ComPilot for Skype. Had may calls with it, again without any problem.

My camera I have on my computer which I use for Skype has a built in microphone, so if yours don't have that, that will be why the person on the other end cannot hear you. You will need a camera with built in speaker for the other person to hear you, if this was what you meant in your query you had. The socket we would use on our computer for our Phonak ComPilot is not designed I don't think to pick up our voice for receiver. But I could be wrong on this.

Because my mic is used by something else on my computer, I plug it into ther headphone socket instead, with me knowing I have speakers on my camera.

My web camera is a Microsoft HD web camera. I have had this a couple of years and can recommend.

Judy Blyton said...

Hi. I have just had my first hearing aids fitted and I have a compilot. It works great with my iPhone and iPad, but I'm having issues with the TVLink 5. It cuts out every 5 minutes - obviously something is interfering with it but we can't work out what. I've had the compilot replaced but it is still cutting out. Any ideas anyone? Thanks, Judy.

Liz Fisher said...

Hi Judy. With me not using the tv link myself, I am not able to help anyway. Hopefully someone else can, or if you bought it originally from someone like Connevans, that maybe they can advise, or makers of ComPilot themselves, to see if they can explain why it cuts out when using tv link.

Naida said...

I know there has been complaint about the TV Link S because it works via Bluetooth. A lot of people end up using a long cord and connecting the ComPilot to the TV Link S. I don't own a TV Link or even a ComPilot now but when I researched it, that's what I found out. They didn't say why they have to use a long cord tho.

Liz Fisher said...

Hi Naida, and thank you for leaving a comment here for Judy. I know I tried to Google to see if I could get any help for this query, but with no luck. I only found the help guide you get with your product which I am sure Judy would have checked, and that is being a certain distance as so it don't cut out. Not blocking the signal.

If people have to resort to a long cable, then that would not be good. Something I would not be happy about myself if I had one. I am surprised to hear there are problems with it.

Hopefully there is someone else out there that see's this and can advise.

Michael Phonak said...

Not sure what you mean by "cutting out". TVLink stops transmission completely (no blue LED anymore)? Or short drops/cracks?

possible causes:
When you have your mobile phone paired but you keep it at some distance to ComPilot, ComPilot may have difficulties trying to keep your phone connected, which may result in short audio drops when streaming at the same time.

Other cause: If you are using your phone (phone book, sms, while streaming from TVLink, some phones will open the music channel (A2DP) to ComPilot for short amount of time, interrupting TVLink (e.g. when opening the phone book of an iPhone). You can avoid that usually by turning the phone volume off (Samsung Galaxy) or by disabling system tones (Apple I believe).
So check if the drops come when you operate your phone :-)

Hope this helps
Michael, Phonak.

Liz Fisher said...

Thank you Michael for leaving your comment for Judy. Hopefully this information will help.

furball_37 said...

My partners "Neckloop" on his ComPilot melted today and the rubber coating started to fall off!

Has anyone else had this problem??

Liz Fisher said...

How long has your partner had the ComPilot? I know over time you can wear and tear, as I believe a friend of mine replaced hers once. But if it has gone like that before, then has it been left in a place to get hot? i.e. the sun?

For me at the moment I can say that my ComPilot neckloop looks as good as the first day I had it. Maybe someone else can help that reads this post.

Dave Bird said...

I have just bought some high end headphones to listen to streamed music on spotify on my iphone. Is the quality of the compilot wireless so good that my headphones may be obsolete?

Dave Bird said...

I have just ordered some high end over the ear headphones to wear over hearing aids which I've also yet to buy!

Does the compilot solution make even high end headphones redundant for streaming spotify music or listening to mps on my iphone?

Great blog btw :-)

Liz Fisher said...

Thank you for your comment Dave. I can't answer your question in the way it comes across to me, other than that if headphones don't suit your needs to hear music over your hearing aids, then you will find as I have done, that the ComPilot is brilliant to enjoy hearing music again while on the go.

Everyday headphone, including high end ones will always be around as hearing people will be able to use them, but for profoundly deaf like me, then yes headphones whether high quality end or not are redundant for me. I have not used them for a very long time, and the last headphones I used were ones specially designed for hearing aid users and I could not enjoy my music. But now having the ComPilot I now enjoy my music where ever I may be. The quality of music I can hear for me is how I remember it to be :-)

BlackSmp said...

Nice blogg. I've just gotten a new set of hearing aids and a ComPilot to go with it. Have had them for three days now and found your blog when I was I looking for tips and tricks for the ComPilot.

Liz Fisher said...

Thank you for your comment and stopping by.

I hope you find yours as helpful as I have with mine. I wouldn't be without mine. :-)

Arnie said...

Great blog, thanks for doing it!
I have been using the ComPilot for over two years now. I upgraded to the most recent model earlier this year. In general, it works well especially when listening to music/books on my iphone or talking on the phone.
I also have a bluetooth-enabled Vtech landline phone. When talking on this phone, the quality of the audio leaves a lot to be desired. I think it might be caused by interference from electronic equipment in my office, but I don't know for sure.

I also use a TVLink to listen to my TV set. The quality here is mixed. Most of the time, the sound quality is good, but sometimes the TV Link/Compilot cuts out (the blue light is still on the TV Link) for 5-15 seconds and then comes back on, and sometimes I get distorted sound where it is almost impossible to tell what is being said. When this occurs it sounds like talking under water. This will last for 5-15 seconds before returning to normal. It happens frequently. This might be interference but I can't tell from what.
I also use the remote mic periodically. It works well.

I was having problems with the length of the cord that came with the ComPilot. The device would sit too low on my chest and would get bumped and change programs when I would carry binoculars. It would also get bumped when using a heart monitor strap. Phonak makes a shorter cord that allows the ComPilot to be located higher on your chest. I found this to be much better for my use.

In spite of the issues I mentioned, I like the ComPilot and wear it almost all the time.

Liz Fisher said...

Hello Arnie and thank you for your comment. Great you are enjoying the benefits of ComPilot yourself although what you experience with the tv you will find you are not alone on that in some way, as there are some here that have had issues with that too. I don't use it myself so cannot comment on that, but it must be a pain when it cuts out for you. I know if I had this and experienced these issues myself, I would be feeling a little frustrated.

When I first received my ComPilot, my cable was the short one, so this fits at a nice length for me. (Chest level.) Luckily for me mine shows no sign of wear yet. If I had to buy another I would plan on buying the same size. Its perfect length for me.

Its good they do different lengths to suit us, as we are all different. I did not even know of the longer length until a friend mentioned it.

I still use my ComPilot mainly for music still when listening off my phone. (Used to be my mp3 till it worn out.) Occasionally I use it when listening to programmes with subtitles through pc and other was also for Skype calls. But not used Skype now for some time.

John Maddocks said...

I've been trying to find a solution to my compilot problems, when I stumbled on to this web site.

I had purchased a compilot a little over a year ago. All works fine for me, but I'm told that my voice to the other person on the phone is "very loud and metallic".

I mentioned this to my audiologist, and she arranged for a replacement unit - but exactly the same problem occurs with the new unit. I speak as soft as I can in a quiet part of the home, but the person I am speaking to says the volume of my voice is way too loud and uncomfortable for them to listen to me. I don't know whether there is an adjustment that you can turn down the sensitivity of the internal mics in the compilot or not. My audiologist seems to think there isn't. Has this been a problem for others? solutions? John.

Liz Fisher said...

Hi John and thank you for stopping by. Its correct that you can't change anything on the Phonak ComPilot internal microphones to make your voice quieter.

When I have used it myself a few times for calls there has been no complaints like that. I have had my voice sounds quiet being mentioned though a couple of times. But thats all.

Have you made sure that you are holding it correctly during a call as mentioned in the instruction manual? I know I had to correct myself a couple of times because I held it wrong when I first used it.

If you are holding it as shown in instruction book, then I would try moving it down away from your mouth more and see if this will help.

The metallic sounds that your friend hears, when you are standing in a rom to take the call, is it a harsh room? For example hard walls and floors? If so, try a softer room that has soft furnishing like carpets and curtains.

Hope the suggestions help in some way for you. Do let me know how you get on. :-)

John Maddocks said...

Hi Liz, Thanks for your comments. I don't hold the compilot when I speak, I just let it hang around my neck. I'm indoors when I use the phone, in a quiet room with reasonably soft furnishing. Almost everyone says that my voice is unbearably loud, and as a result I am reluctant to use it.

I have the compilot volume set at the mid-way mark, but need the Bluetooth volume on my Iphone 4S set at almost maximum level to hear the other person OK. I wonder if these settings influence the mic volume?

I just ordered the MC1 lapel mic from my audiologist, so am hoping that this works better for me than the internal mics.

I must say that it has me baffled. As I've had the same problem on both the original and the replacement unit. The only thing I can think of is an Iphone problem or something in the setup software.

I'll let you know if I find a solution.

Liz Fisher said...

Thats got me baffled then too. I would not have thought how we set our volumes to hear that it would affect how they hear us. But technology can sometimes be strange. Sorry I cannot help much further myself, but maybe someone who reads this may know the problem and leave a suggestion. I hope you find a solution. :-)

spazett said...

Have you had issues with the battery life on your hearing aids with the ComPilot neckloop?

Richard Hutchinson said...

Great Blog. Thank you. I have had the Com pilot for just a few days. It is fantastic for me. It gives me the ability to watch TV with my own volume and not bother others. It also has made me able to hear and understand the voices fr clearer. I can now watch a show without missing half of what is being said. This unit is a game changer for me. AWWESOME!!!!

Liz Fisher said...

Hi spazett. Sorry I did not reply sooner here. I thought I had originally, when I aired your comment.

I don't use my Phonak ComPilot often, but no, I don't have battery issues with battery life on my hearing aids. I have heard some say they have. But I would have thought this is down to how you use your hearing aids, like how much you use them, how often you change between the programmes on your hearing aids through the day.

Hello Richard and thank you for stopping by at Liz's deaf blog. I am glad to hear you love your Phonak ComPilot too and how great you find it. Enjoy. I know I do, when I use mine. I would not be without it.

Naida said...

I've ended up with 2 Phonak ComPilots and a new TV Link II and a Remote Mic thanks to a nice friend who has just got CIs. Looking forward to using the ComPilots again and it's nice that I've got 2 because being in hospital, I'm continually using it so I can charge 1 and use 1. :-)

Liz Fisher said...

Lucky you, for ending up with two ComPilots. :D That's great, especially while you are in hospital, knowing you can use one while the other is charging. Lovely gift to receive from your friend. Enjoy. :-)