This is the first of a three-part series addressing ideal business phone solutions for hearing aid wearers experiencing difficulty using the phone at work. Why a three-part series? Because viable business phone solutions depend on available hearing aid features (streamer vs. no-streamer, T-coil vs. no T-coil) as well as the type of business phone being used (PBX system phone vs. mobile phone). Part 1 specifically addresses the use of standard PBX phone systems for users of streamers and/or T-coil equipped hearing instruments. The outlined product solutions allow the use of the business phone without the need to remove hearing instruments from the ear.
What is a PBX Phone System and Why Should You Care?
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, a special type of phone system that connects internal telephones to one another within a business as well as to a public switched telephone network. This type of system not only allows users to make outgoing calls, but to make internal calls to co-workers via a 3 to 4 digit extension. Why should you care? Commercially available amplified telephones will NOT work with PBX systems. In other words, do not recommend an amplified telephone as a business phone solution in the presence of a PBX system because the amplified phone will not work in this environment. Here is what you should recommend:
FOR HEARING INSTRUMENT WEARERS USING STREAMERS:
1. ClearSounds QH2 Bluetooth Hub & Phone Amplifier (CS-QH2): this is an in-line amplifier that will convert any corded or cordless phone (including a business phone running on a PBX system) into a Bluetooth phone. Once connected to the business phone, the CS-QH2 may be paired to the hearing aid streamer, enabling the user to hear business phone calls via their hearing instruments in a hands-free fashion. NOTE: when used in the Bluetooth mode, the 30dB of adjustable amplification offered by the CS-QH2 will not be accessible for the incoming call. For this particular situation, the intended use of the CS-QH2 is to provide the ability to hear business phone calls through their hearing aids. The hearing instrument telephone program should be programmed as needed to accommodate amplification needs.
FOR HEARING INSTRUMENT WEARERS with T-COILS, NO STREAMER:
1. ClearSounds QH2 Bluetooth Hub & Phone Amplifier (CS-QH2) + Bluetooth Amplified Neckloop: in the absence of a hearing instrument streamer, the CS-QH2 remains an option as a business phone solution in instances where the hearing instruments are equipped with T-coils. Rather than a streamer, a Bluetooth amplified neckloop [i.e. CS-QT4 (pictured right)] may be paired to the CS-QH2. Incoming calls will be routed wirelessly from the CS-QH2 to the Bluetooth neckloop and then directly to the user’s T-coil equipped hearing instruments.
2. Plantronics Non-Bluetooth Professional Office Neckloop System: this configuration requires the purchase of three separate components: 1) the Plantronics M22 Phone Amplifier (Item# 62421), 2) ClearSounds CLA7V2 Amplified Neckloop (Item# CS-CLA7v2), and 3) the Quick Connect Cord (Item# CS-M22C). This particular business phone solution is also available in a bundle whereby all three components are packaged as one item (Item# PLAN-M22-PONS) and shipped together.
While this is not an exhaustive list of options, the provided recommendations represent the most ideal solutions for users of T-coil equipped hearing instruments, both with or without streamers, experiencing difficulty using the phone at work. Additional options will be reviewed in Part 2 of this series, addressing business phone solutions for hearing instrument wearers without T-coils.