Latest developments in FM technology, plus FM training news

FM systems (also called radio aids) can be very helpful devices for hearing aid or cochlear implant users who have difficulty hearing in noisy environments.

A popular system in BRITE’s Equipment Loan Bank is the Phonak SmartLink transmitter, which can be used with a range of receivers. This sophisticated system has proved useful, especially where students are working in different noisy environments, including out of doors.

At last year’s Phonak Focus Day, Phonak announced some new features in the Smartlink (as well as ZoomLink and EasyLink), to further enhance the high quality of performance in these devices.

The new version, Smartlink+ is the same price as before (around £500) and looks very similar except that it is now in a stylish black case. The changes to the case aren’t just cosmetic though! The cover material has been designed to reduce friction against the wearer’s clothes and therefore reduce the noise resulting from this.

Other improvements include:

  • Dynamic FM which adapts to increase speech understanding when there is background noise.
  • SoftLanding Technology enhances a transmitter user’s listening comfort by instantly reducing the gain of sharp, abrupt noises such as the bang made when a transmitter is placed on a flat surface. It even reduces other ‘peak’ sounds such as slamming doors and banging dishes.

Of course the existing features remain, including:

  • Bluetooth wireless technology, providing access to mobile phones, audio output from computers and MP3 players.
  • Multiple microphone settings for different listening situations
  • Audio input – use the audio cable to connect the SmartLink to TVs, MP3 players or computers.

Full product details are on the Phonak Smartlink page. For purchasing information, visit Connevans.

Equipment loan bank users should note that BRITE is still lending the previous (silver) version of the SmartLink as our kit is very recent and functioning well. However, should you make a purchase following a successful loan period, you will received the new (black) model with enhanced features.

Training Opportunities: face-to-face group sessions, virtual learning resources and bespoke on-site set up

In November BRITE ran a popular ‘FM for Beginners’ seminar at Angus College in Arbroath. This seminar, facilitated by Richard Vaughan from Connevans, looked at how FM works and why it is so beneficial to students. A hands-on session also gave participants an opportunity to try a range of systems.

If you would be interested in a repeat of this session, either at BRITE in Edinburgh, or another location, please get in touch. Also let us know if you would like more advanced training on Phonak or other systems, and we will do our best to arrange a free training day for Scottish FE staff.

For those of you who would like virtual, on-demand, sessions about FM systems, have a look at Phonak’s extensive e-learning resources.

Additionally, note that Connevans can now provide on-site bespoke training and set up for FM users. Sessions are tailored to the specific needs of the user. A friendly and approachable trainer will spend as long as is required to get the system working in a specific environment and to ensure that the user is happy and confident about all the different ways the equipment can work. Contact Connevans for further information.

Product image from Phonak.

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