Okay, I’m not an audiologist. I’m just a dude that has worn hearing aids for about 15 years. Therefore, I like to think of myself as an amateur audiologist. I secretly subscribe to The Hearing Journal, a publication specifically for audiologists, and I once purchased hearing aid software just to learn it and try to make my own adjustments, but it crashed my laptop before I could get very far.
I’ve always been the guy at the audiology clinic who’s looking over the shoulder of the audiologist as they make adjustments. The guy who wants to not only try new programs, but wants to know how the software makes those programs work. I always imagined myself as a sound technician at a rock show, but the rock show was my hearing aids (stick with me here). I’d be in the booth, twisting and turning and manipulating a thousand different knobs to get the perfect sound quality, an audiological mad scientist in pursuit of auditory perfection.
Read more: Why is the audiologist-patient relationship so important?
To me, there is something deeply satisfying about making small adjustments, tinkering with all the different settings, then testing them in the real world. But that was always the most frustrating thing about going to an audiologist. We’d make one change to a program, then I’d be sent home to see if it worked in the real world. If the adjustment wasn’t satisfactory, it might be weeks before I could come in again and make another adjustment. After several visits and lots of trial and error, it might be months before I got the setting exactly how I want it.
But now, the Marvel 2.0 myPhonak app lets me live my dream of being an amateur audiologist.
“… the Marvel 2.0 myPhonak app lets me live my dream of being an amateur audiologist.”
With this app, I can tinker away with the settings like never before. Almost everyday, I’m messing around within the app, trying out different programs, creating new settings, all in the various environments within my world.
When you open the myPhonak app on a smartphone, the Remote Control section will pop up. On this screen, you’ll see a information icon in the top left corner, a menu icon that takes you to many additional areas of the app. On my phone, the default setting is set to the AutoSense OS 3.0 program, which automatically adjusts for whatever situation I’m in.
I simply click on Autosense OS 3.0 and all of my programs pop up in list mode: Calm situation (great for restaurants, sporting events), Speech in loud noise (also used in restaurants, networking functions, business events), and all the other programs I’ve created (I’ll get to that in a second).
I also have programs identified for the other Phonak devices I use, such as the Roger Pen and the Roger Select microphones, as well as the TV connector , which I use to listen to my flatscreen in my living room or my laptop.
The Marvel 2.0 myPhonak app has clear volume control where you can split the volume control into Left and Right to control the hearing aids individually. I use this sometimes if my wife is to the left of me, asking me something like “Can you do the laundry tomorr…” “What?” I say. “Can’t hear you babe,” as I slowly lower the volume of the left hearing aid as she is asking me to do an extra chore. Just kidding!!! I’m happy to do the laundry. Sometimes. Not that “like” doing it. But, I do it. There’s also the mute button, which I DO NOT use with my wife as that would get me in big trouble. But I do use it sometimes at a concert, or at kid’s birthday parties.
For me, the highlight of the new myPhonak app is the little equalizer icon in the bottom right corner. Click that, and I can enter an entirely new world of controlling my hearing aids. For many of these adjustments, I previously would have had to make an appointment with my audiologist to get the updates. But now I can make them myself, like a real audiologist.
At the top of the screen, there are two buttons that give me a quick change ability for my settings—a Clarity setting and a Comfort setting. `The Clarity setting, bumps up the mid-frequencies and treble, along with a small boost of volume and Speech Focus. This is great for situations such as group conversations where I need a little help in understanding the speaker. The Comfort setting lowers the treble and overall volume, and loud sounds, and lowers the Speech Focus just a bit.
But that’s not all. You might be like me and want more control. Shouldn’t you be able to make your own setting? Phonak says “heck yeah.”
Whatever environment you’re in—at home, at work, at the grocery store, at a concert—you can tinker with the Frequencies, adjust the Bass, Middle, and Treble levels, and modify the Volume, Noise reduction, and Speech focus sliders as well, so you get everything at your ideal levels. Underneath the Volume, Noise reduction, and Speech focus slider features, there is a Dynamic feature that allows you to “Decrease loud sounds” and Increase soft” sounds too.
Then, once you’ve made all your adjustments and all your settings to the optimal levels, you can save and name a new program of those settings. If you have high frequency hearing loss, you can bump up the Treble and save that as a new Program. You can use my name for it: “Here Comes Treble.” “Treble Rouser” works too. I have a “Grocery Store” program, another one called “Loud Restaurant,” another for “Hiking/Biking,” and a “My Kids Are Fighting Again” one as well, which is technically the mute button.
What’s unique about these adjustments is that you can make them in real-time. In other words, you can actually hear the changes as you make them. No matter what environment you are in, you can make adjustments and tinker with all these settings until you find the perfect sound. That means you can be the Audiological Mad Scientist that you were born to be! HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!! Okay, that’s just my crazy fantasy.
“No matter what environment you are in, you can make adjustments and tinker with all these settings until you find the perfect sound.”
The myPhonak app gives you more control of your Phonak hearing aids than ever before. And that’s great news for everyone that likes to make adjustments on their own.
Download the myPhonak app on GooglePlay or the Apple App Store.