The Audio Tech Controller and Nitro Hearing Instruments

The Audio Tech controller is a small 2-inch device that integrates with 1 or a pair of hearing instruments, as far as I know only the Nitro Aids for Siemens  are compatible with this device so check with your hearing professional before purchasing one.

So what exactly does the Audio Tech controller do? 2 things, firstly it allows fine adjustment of hearing instrument settings, the other crucial role of this device is to act as a bridge between your aids and audio devices so let’s take the example of a bluetooth enabled mobile phone, when the Audio Tech Controller is programmed correctly you can take calls using the Audio Tech Controller and hear the caller through your aids.  As you would expect you can talk back to your callers through the microphone on the controller.

Some programming needs to be done by your hearing professional – allowing the controller to recognise the hearing instruments, setting up the parameters of the controller and your aids – but paring an audio bluetooth device to the controller can be easily done by anyone without site, just hold down one of the buttons on the controller, be sure your phone is searching for devices and your phone will prompt you to enter a “Pairing code”, the default code is listed in the manual of the controller.

So where does access come into the equation? The controller along with the hearing instruments are equipped with “Acoustic audio feedback” as its termed, the aids will emmitemit a series of beeps depending on what operation they’re put in by the controller, for example when you go to programme one of your aids which may be set to automatic operation, you will hear one beep, when you go to programme 5 you’ll hear 5 beeps and so on. Beeps are heard when adjusting the audio controls such as volume and treble, a series of beeps are heard when the volume or treble is set halfway and a quite different series of beeps are heard when the volume or treble are set to their minimum or maximum positions.  I congratulate Siemens for doing this as the blind user would have no other way of telling the position of the controls, if you have sight then you can reference the small LCD display on the controller to see the status.

A function exists on the controller to allow the wearer of the aids to see the status of each, what programme each aid is set to, what volume level each is set to and so on but this function is absolutely useless to those without sight so you’ll have to rely on the beeps of the controller and your memory so perhaps in a future version of the controller Siemens may think of adding some static or synthetic speech, if Apple can do it then anyone can <smile>

So I’ve talked about integrating a bluetooth phone but that’s not the end of audio integration, the controller comes with both a direct line input and a bluetooth transmitter which can be connected to the line output of a device, this means that you can sit in your comfortable armchair in the same room as your TV for instance without cords over the floor whilst you enjoy the rich audio experience of your favourite programme through your hearing aids. How the audio sounds will be determined by your hearing professional and it may take some appointments and some tweaking of the settings by the professional to get the sound comfortable for the wearer.

So to sum up, if you can get this or a similar device for your hearing instruments then I think you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour, hearing audio directly is far better than say hearing it bounce around a room and yep, you can even play your Ipod through the system – if you have an Ipod Touch or Iphone then you can use bluetooth for a direct connection -.  Music can sound utterly superb through the controller I tel you now.

The controller will cost around $500.00 but check with your hearing professional first.


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