Due to my hearing impairment, I usually need to have the volume on the TV turned up to maximum. Some DVDs are nearly impossible for me to enjoy because I can’t hear enough to understand what’s happening. My audiologist suggested the Phonak ComPilot might help resolve this problem so I decided to give it a try.
The ComPilot improves audio for televisions, mobile phones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. The user must be wearing wireless hearing aids. Setting up the ComPilot involves pairing and connecting it with compatible devices. This procedure only needs to be performed once.
How it works
The device is slightly larger than a matchbox and hangs from a cord around your neck. It has a switch on the side, which you slide down for on and up for off. When you do this, there will be a couple of musical beeps, followed by an automated voice that lets you know if the device is on or off. Then a couple more beeps sound.
On the bottom half of the device there are two buttons that control the volume. The one on the right is a plus and the one on the left is a minus. Above these there is a large button, which has various functions, including answering and hanging up your mobile phone.
Using the ComPilot certainly enhances my enjoyment of television as I am able to hear everything that is going on. I don’t need to worry about disturbing my neighbours at night by having the TV blaring. Not only is the volume increased but speech is easier to understand. I can clearly hear my favourite program from the other end of the house.
When I’m wearing the ComPilot for the TV other sounds from my environment are softened, except for my mobile phone as this is also linked to the ComPilot. This may be annoying if you’re watching a DVD with friends and someone makes a comment or asks you a question. In a situation like this, I either turn the volume down on the ComPilot or take the device off for a moment.
The ComPilot acts as a hands-free device for mobile phones. The user can answer their phone and converse with the person on the other end, simply by pressing the large button on the top half of the device. Their mobile may even be a few metres away.
I decided to test how far away you can be from your mobile before the signal dies. After placing my iPhone on the kitchen table, I talked to someone on the other end while walking around the house. Even when I stepped outside through the front door, we could still hear each other clearly. As I wandered onto the footpath, however, the audio crackled and cut out.
I could hear my mobile well enough prior to receiving the ComPilot. However, I like the fact that I can now converse on the phone without having it pressed to my ear. Also, I used to find it embarrassing when I was typing a text message in public, as I didn’t want others to hear what I was saying. I tried to solve this problem by wearing headphones, but this reduced the sound so much that I could no longer hear my phone at all. ComPilot allows me to use my phone in public without disturbing others.
I recommend ComPilot for anyone who wears wireless hearing aids and has trouble hearing the TV and their mobile phone. It’s advisable to take it off if you’re engaging in physical activity like running or jumping, as it may get knocked around or caught on something. I prefer to wear the device only when I need to use it for the TV or mobile phone.