First Person Report: Widex M-Dex Hearing Aid Streamer Woes

First Person Report: Widex M-Dex Hearing Aid Streamer Woes

Atlanta software engineer and applied mathmatician Rippah Ultmuncher shows in his stinging blog entry that although he is having great success with his Widex Clear 440 hearing aids, the same cannot be said of his M-Dex combination remote control/Bluetooth streamer.

Here at The Hearing Blog, we like to publish First Person Reports from people describing how technology that supposedly looks good on paper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, such as London flautist and blogress Deafinitely Girly who exposes a major flaw in non-linear frequency compression (NFC) in Hearing aid update: My flute and Paper Aeroplanes. This First Person Report is quite astute, and in fact raises additional points that even we had not discovered with our own M-Dex and Clear 440 Fusions with high power RITE’s.

From Clear C4FSBR – the good and the bad in Hearing Aid Hacks

After the glowing review of my hearing aids and my audiologist, it is unfortunate that I have to be so negative about the other component in question. The M-DEX is a piece of shit — I am a software engineer and architect, and I have never seen such poor interface quality or assumptions about the listener.

First, let’s start with the good things:

  • FreeFocus — being able to tell the hearing aids in what direction to focus on. This is very useful.
  • Bluetooth pairing with iPad — when I pair it with my iPad to watch a film, the quality is remarkable as I have noted earlier.
  • Direct audio input – if I run a cord from my device to the M-DEX, it works well.
  • Changing programs — this is moderately useful, though I am able to change it directly on my hearing aids.

However, these are the only positive things I can say about the M-DEX.

  • When a Bluetooth device drops a connection, such as my iPhone or iPad doing so when not actively playing sounds, it switches to the Master program, and loudly announces it. So the cycle happens like this: The program on the iPhone or iPad plays, the bluetooth connection is brought up, a beep emanates from my hearing aids. When it stops, it changes back to the Master program. Every time this happens, this announcement is made. Repeatedly.
  • Further compounding this issue is that the ‘room off’ which mutes my hearing aids microphones turns off, and unmutes every time the bluetooth connection drops. If I am listening to a movie, and I exit out of the film to check on something, I get the loud announcement, ‘Master program’, and a blast of environmental noise. I then have to re-mute.
  • Further compounding the unacceptable state of affairs, it does not work well as a headset or headphones. The Widex engineers obviously did no testing or quality assurance outside of mobile phones. It does not work at all with my Mac laptop or my Mac desktop — when I attempt to play sounds through it, the M-DEX believes it to be a phone call for the duration of the sound effect and then disconnect. This causes the computer to no longer play sound effects through the Bluetooth connection, as it is disconnected. Most of the time, it does not even work — the computer tells me that there was a Bluetooth error.
  • The M-DEX barely works with the iPad and iPhone outside the context of a phone call — as I have mentioned before, it works as a hands-free profile, and a headphone profile. But it does not work as a headset with a microphone. Skype on my iPad and iPhone is a no-go due to this — I briefly get a connection and then it drops.
  • The microphone quality on the M-DEX is poor — I would have imagined that Widex with its state of the art research into microphone and signal quality, would be able to put some of this technology into the M-DEX. This is a $350 device that is surpassed by a $10 piece of electronics.
  • Effectively, the only way I can do phone calls with the M-DEX is as a handsfree headset for phone calls. Which is unfortunate, as my mobile phone quality is far inferior to what I can get over VoIP which is important to me as a Deaf person. I need every bit of call quality I can get, and this device cripples me.
  • The user-interface is extremely poor. I am a software engineer, and I get a little confused as to how to get to certain functionality. How is a normal non-geek supposed to use this device?
  • Also rage-inducing is the fact that this device only pairs with one bluetooth device at a time. If I have it paired with my iPad and want to use it with my iPhone, I have to go through the whole pairing process. Logitech with its cheap headsets is able to support multiple bluetooth pairings!

It is obvious that the people who worked on the M-DEX have no understanding of people with hearing loss and their actual needs. This is perhaps due to being an entirely different product and project than the hearing aids themselves which are wonderful.

The following naive assumptions were made:

  • That other devices would maintain a Bluetooth connection throughout the life of the session. This is only true for mobile calls. In every other context, Bluetooth connections are dropped, to conserve battery.
  • That the user would want the program to actively change when the Bluetooth connection drops. Again, this is only true for mobile calls. If an user is using this device for other purposes, the user does not want to hear the loud announcement that the program has changed.
  • That the user would only want to use Bluetooth for phones. This shows a shocking lack of creativity, vision and initiative. Bluetooth is much more versatile than that, and they should have expected that an user would want to use this device with their computer or to watch films on a mobile device with.
  • That the user would not care about his own voice quality with the shoddy microphone — sometimes, those of us that have hearing loss need every bit of clarity that can be transmitted to the other party, due to accents or inflections. Did they actually test the microphone as a deaf person?
  • That they do not need to put thought or effort into the user interface of the device — the paths to some of the functionality are simplified to the point of being un-simple to use. Any good human interface person would have spotted these issues.

It is extremely unfortunate that with all the careful engineering and thought that Widex put into the hearing aid instruments, to see them fumble so severely with the M-DEX. The whole experience is basically like getting a flawless one-hundred yard pass for the touchdown, and then suddenly fumbling and going back thirty yards.

The Hearing Blog Editor replies:
Our single biggest complaint with the M-Dex is in the 10.6 mHz antenna design for the link from the M-Dex to the hearing aids: It is extremely sensitive to angular position, i.e. twist it more than about 20 degrees, or turn your head to the side, and it drops out in one ear or the other, i.e. it is anything-but isotropic. As any antenna engineer, or even Ham radio hobbyist will tell you, this is one hell of a feat to pull off in the 28 meter band, but somehow the Widex engineers accomplished this dubious feat. What this means is that the wearer must slide the M-Dex 6-8 inches up the lanyard, and then button the bottom of the lanyard into the shirt… Or safety-pin it for a pullover shirt. This means that once it is buttoned or pinned into place for streaming, it has to be unpinned to lift it up to see the display and keys. Granted, some of this is due to the antenna design in the hearing aids themselves, as the instruments also communicate with each other; but nonetheless it is still a poor design… And one the TV-Dex does not suffer as badly from.

Another issue: We saw one report that the M-Dex can handle as many as 8 pairings; but this does not seem to the the case with iOS 6.1.2, as we have to re-pair it when we switch between our iPod Touch 4 and iPhone 5.

Also, even though the M-Dex presents as an A2DP headset to the sending device, in fact (and unlike the TV-DEX) it only transmits a channel mixed monaural signal to the hearing aids. Worse, the headphone audio input jack is monaural, only sending one of the two stereo channels to both hearing aids: This we can tell because there’s a particular Color Beautiful commercial that is (annoyingly) played every hour on a particular DFW broadcast station where the speech audio switches between channels: We only hear half of the words when our iPod is plugged in via stereo cable.

Even worse, when we went to the Widex Clear training session in August 2011 (and wearing a pair of Clear440 Fusion instruments with our M-Dex), we explicitly asked if there would be a firmware upgrade to enable stereo transmission and/or using the USB jack for digital audio input; and we were informed:

  • The M-Dex is not capable of firmware updates, which I found out a year later that it’s due to them using ASIC architecture instead of FPGA architecture (probably to save battery drain and also to deal with their proprietary digital signal transmission protocol);
  • The USB jack only has two pins connected for charging, and is not capable of accepting any digital data.

Another complaint we have is that the size of the M-Dex is huge, compared to the ReSound Phone Clip Plus:

ReSound Unite Mini Mic, Unite Phone Clip+, Widex M-Dex

Left to right: ReSound Unite Mini Mic, Unite Phone Clip+, and the much larger Widex M-Dex, compared to a standard business card for scale
Click to Enlarge

That being said, the Clear uses a 33k sample/second rate in the ADC connected to the mics with a 107 dB input dynamic range (IDR); and 22k sample/second rate for the digital audio signal path, both industry-bests. UPDATE: The new Dream has a maximum input before saturating of 113dB SPL (re 20µBar).

However, severely deaf and power junkie users will gag at the downright fuggly power Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) assemblies, which are built even if the patient has a large canal: Starkey can get their AP70 RIC into a canal mold with the same receiver. Although we can see the RITE earpiece being used for the Output Extender plumbing (which is negated anyway when the Sensogram is used… Duhhh), it being supplied for standard earpieces is dodgy at best. What’s more, we have repeatedly asked that a Libby Horn bore be made for extended high frequency response — Which is a trivial task in the CAMISHA process — with the wax filter being placed at the throat of the horn. At present, we have to take a Dremel grinder to make this vital acoustic modification; however when this is done, the wax filter is lost.

Here’s a picture of the downright fuggly Widex Power RITE:


Widex Power RITE for the Clear Fusion, Super and Dream hearing aids
Click to enlarge

Our Recommendation:

Although somewhat quirky, and with a lack of programming granularity with everything tied to the Master program, the Widex Clear, Super and Dream hearing aids offer good performance, especially with music. However, if you’ll be a heavy user of audio streaming, we recommend the ReSound Verso instead, as their Unite wireless accessories work much better, especially the Mini Mic and new Phone Clip Plus.

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About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech


  1. Edinburgh2000
    December 30, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I use Widex Clear 440 aids, and I have the TV-Dex and the M-Dex. I am very frustrated with the M-Dex, for the reasons set out well in this thread. The TV-Dex gives very good sound quality and shows that it is not difficult to stream stereo sound. I have two TV-Dex base stations, one for my living room TV and the other in my study connected to my PC to stream music (stereo) and to receive Skype calls. By contrast, the M-Dex is useful only for my mobile phone. I cannot use it with my desk phone. And the mono streaming is very annoying. I do use the M-Dex when travelling, especially on long-haul flights. (I carry a 3.5mm jack-to-jack lead with me for this purpose.)

    My Widex aids are by far the best headphones that I have – far better than taking my aids out and using the airline’s headphones. But when I want to listen to music or to the sound for a film on the plane, I can only get mono sound, which really detracts from the experience. I wish Widex would invest more in a better product than M-Dex, recognising that it should do far more than stream the mobile phone. It needs to be a universal streamer of good quality stereo sound. Of the total package I paid for my Widex aids and the TV-Dex and M-Dex, the M-Dex was only 3% of the total cost. I would be happy to pay about 10% of the total cost for a good quality device. Come on Widex! You have customers waiting!

  2. Diogo Tigeleiro
    January 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Just wanna say, about the Widex M-Dex, the announcements (changing programs, turning the hearing aid on,…) can be switched off or/and volume can be reduced.

    • Thomas Muller
      June 1, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      The voice alert can be changed to a beep-tone alert instead. The loudness level can be reduced. Your audiologist will have to make these adjustments through the Widex Compass hearing aid fitting software. Wishing well.

      • Dan Schwartz
        June 2, 2015 at 7:25 am

        Shutting off the voice alerts defeats the whole premise of them; and not only are they the best quality out there, they are needed due to the byzantine program structure.

  3. Karl
    January 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I have the most recent Widex hearing aids as of 1/1/11 (sorry but I don’t have the box anymore so I am not sure what my model is), and I also bought the M-Dex a few months later for the reasons mentioned earlier. I am in sales and all my work is via phone and email. I was thrilled when I was able to pair the M-Dex to my Avaya 9650 IP Phone as opposed to pulling my hearing aids out to use another in-canal Bluetooth ear pieces. I have had major issues with losing hearing aids when I take them out for anything except a battery change or to retire them for the night to the dehumidifier. Before I bought the M-Dex I would take my left aid out, for example, to fit the Plantronics earpiece I used previously, and then I still said “what” too many times for my customers and our VP to stand.
    I found that even with the in -canal Plantronics, I could not hear people. But they could hear me just fine. The M-Dex was the answer! Now, however, I have customers ask me to mute when on calls because I cause such unbearable feedback/buzz/background noise. It’s embarrassing, and the fact that I paid almost $400 for this device is maddening.
    I cannot connect it to any computer for use with simple system sounds, but more importantly, with Skype, which is a major business phone app for me. I’ve tried to get assistance from Widex, but they continually refer me to my audiologist, who, bless her heart, is not Bluetooth savvy, and actually uses Windows XP. At first I was told by Best Buy that I needed a Windows 97 driver, which Widex said they didn’t have. Eventually I got a different Bluetooth dongle but still can’t pair to my computer.
    That said, I’m fine when on my iPhone, with only occasional complaints, mostly I assumed due to poor cell network performance. It’s basically flawless with my cell and I love the sound when using Pandora and iTunes. It’s awesome for that. Also, I resolved the “master” issue by having my audiologist turn that function off. My major issue is the bad quality for listeners when I call from my Avaya 9650. I’ve tried everything, tested various PBX to listener connections, and the result is that sometimes it’s tolerable, but even the best of situations results in a “buzzy” background, which is likely due to the proliferation of cell use for business, which is often poor quality. My final attempt to resolve this has been to try to contact Avaya to see if the Bluetooth version on my desk phone needs an update. You can imagine how much help I’ve gotten on that one.
    So, a final comment and a question for fellow M-Dex users: The M-Dex is a piece of crap, and likely a known embarrassment to Widex, so they are using the “damage control” approach and just not acknowledging the poor quality or any clear path of resolution. It really sucks when the company who makes and sells a device won’t even try to help. I’m not a software engineer, but as an end user, I’d ask for my money back, except the warranty expired 2 years ago.
    Question: will any other non-Widex Bluetooth device work as a microphone to pair with my hearing aids? I’d pay a lot to have my voice sound acceptable because my hearing aid audio when on the phone is excellent.
    Thank you for enduring my rant.

    • Dan Schwartz
      January 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Karl, it’s not a rant — You’ve provided valuable information for Widex’ engineering staff: Your report of buzzing/feedback on transmitted phone audio that other people hear is a new complaint we have not seen before. I’m curious if it is a defective M-Dex, or if it is reproducible with another unit in the same environment.

      • Joann Martin
        June 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        Hello, (First time here: new 440 / MDEX user.)
        My caller complained of buzzing and feedback noise, “like an electrical wire”.
        I was all rigged up with my MDEX on T and could hear her fine. She could not hear me because of all the static sound.
        This was my maiden voyage. Any ideas?

        • Dan Schwartz
          June 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

          Joann, I’m a bit confused: You wrote,

          I was all rigged up with my MDEX on T

          Do you mean you were connected to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, or you had the T-coil in the M-Dex enabled?

          Do you have a CDMA (Sprint or Verizon) phone, or GSM (ATT or T-Mobile) phone? Due to the nature of the GSM modulation it generates much more interference — Buzzing — in the audio spectrum.

          My recommendation is to go back to your hearing aid professional and call her while you are there, so she can hear the transmitted audio: It should be crystal clear. She should also substitute it with another M-Dex to see if yours is defective.

          • Joann Martin
            July 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm


            I was connected to MDEX through the Bluetooth Induction and not through the T-Coil, as I had assumed. I am a T-Mobile subscriber. I’ve been using the MDEX for a week and have not been able to replicate the flaw.

            One more thing: When my MDEX is on and I am working at my computer, it sends me “Alerts” from my Samsung Galaxy Blaze. So, every text message or email alert generates a “gong” in my ear, and then the setting reverts to setting one. Is it possible to turn the alert off through the MDEX, and not the phone itself? The vibrating alert doesn’t control this function. Jo Incidentally, if you want some help managing your WordPress site, I can help.

            • Dan Schwartz
              April 14, 2015 at 11:21 am

              Hi JoAnn — Sorry I missed your reply July of last year. You need to shut off all audible alerts on your mobile to stop the interruptions; or alternately while at your computer quit the offending apps and launch the web-based versions on your PC.

              By the way, your internet domain appears to be down; but Yes, I Really need help with my WordPress template, as it’s a mess and the guy I bought it from is about as useful as tits on a bull.

    • Abdesslem
      May 19, 2014 at 3:54 am

      My friend is suffering from hearing impairment and initially he was hesitant to buy hearing aids, neither an analog one nor a digital hearing aid. I took a lot of initiative and learnt a lot about hearing aids in order to help him. Finally he agreed to go for digital hearing aids. I explained to him that though they are expensive, hearing aids are worthy investment in life. Now I can see that his life has changed a lot, improved in a lot of ways. He is enjoying each and every moment of his life. I even started to blog about hearing aids these days. Thanks for the post.

    • Jeff
      June 13, 2014 at 8:48 am


      Completely agree with you on the sound quality of your own voice for people receiving our calls. The poor quality micropohone is definitely a factor, as some people have even noticed issues when I’m speaking on the iPhone (though this has mostly been acceptable). However when it comes to connecting to a Plantronics phone base, people have told me the quality is absolutely terrible. I need to be able to speak on the phone on my job and this has been incredibly frustrating.

      Has anyone had any luck finding a base that connects well with the M-DEX and doesn’t result in such poor sound quality for the receiver on the other end of the call when I’m speaking into the M-DEX? I believe I used a Plantronics 600A Voyager – I believe there may also be a problem with that base as my previous streamer (forget the name of the product) with Oticon also seemed to have these issues.


  4. Mike Gaddis
    February 6, 2014 at 1:06 am

    I’m beginning to question how good the m-dex is as well. For a year and a half it worked beautifully with my Samsung Galaxy S3 Smartphone. Never any problem. In January, Samsung upgraded the software in the S3 to android 4.3 from 4.1 Suddenly I lost the capability of caller number showing up on the m-dex and did not have a call log so I could redial any of the last received 5 calls. Every call that came in showed as an unknown call. There is no log of numbers as I used to have. The only thing it did was to allow me answer calls coming in on my Galaxy S3, but now I had to look at phone to see the caller id. My audiologist has sent it to Widex for “repair” and I’m waiting for it to come back. Meanwhile I was provided with a loaner m-dex. This has been a piece of crap in clarity for callers. Everyone I have talked to using the loaner m-dex on the bluetooth says there is noise, fading in and out and overall no clear conversation. I now have to turn it off and not use it as intended.

    I determined after a lot of internet searching that the logging problem and caller number id had something to do with the android update. I emailed Widex USA to find out why they haven’t upgraded the firmware in the m-dex to be compatible with android 4.3 or if they would upgrade the firmware. Their response is that newer m-dexes have the compatible firmware and I should talk to my hearing provider about a replacement m-dex. What a response-I have to buy a new one? I have found a website that will walk me through the process of rolling back my S3 to the previous android 4.1, but I don’t know if I’ll lose my phone’s functionality.

    So Widex’s solution is something like tough shit, buy a new m-dex. I won’t know till it comes back if any “repair” will change the quality of any calls through the bluetooth function and I doubt I will have any call log function restored. Just wanted to share my experience with all of you bloggers

  5. Garrett
    February 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm


    Seeking some advice from you all that have been there done that… I am getting ready to get my first set of hearing aids. I have tinnitus in my left ear (14 years) and a significant loss of hearing, especially certain tones, as a result. My hearing loss has gotten more noticeable and I found an audiologist in Colorado that specializes in Tinnitus, which recommended a pair of Widex Dream 440.
    Well, I am in technology and spend a great amount of time on the phone (work or car) or in front of a computer. Phone is primarily my iPhone but, our conference room speaker phones also plays a big part in my job. Also, like a lot of you that have replied here I spend a fair amount of time listening to music as I work.

    I am pretty nervous about getting an expensive paid of hearing aids and not being technologically comfortable with them. Which would mean they would not get used.

    Any thoughts or other recommendations?

    • CAROE
      March 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      This past week I just received my second set of aids from Costco. I have been wearing Costco top of the line aids for 5 years and decided it was time to upgrade to new technology. I paid extra for the Blue Tooth phone connector and extra for the TV Streamer. Total cost was $2400.00 They worked great right out of the box. I can answer my Iphone with my remote it plays through my aids and I can talk into my remote which I can clip on my collar. Sound is great and people say it is very clear transmission. Love the TV Streamer plays directly into my aids with great clarity the only down side which we are trying to figure out is when watching Netflix the streamer interrupts the wifi signal and kicks Netflix off. Talk to the company (ReSound) they are aware and no suggestions for a fix.
      Still wouldn’t give them up. Stream music right from my phone and listen to Podcasts from phone. It is wonderful.

  6. Scott
    March 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I have Widex Dream330’s with Bluetooth-enabled M-DEX remote. The devices have stunningly high fidelity, much better than any in my experience of 20 yrs or so. These are my 1st RIC models, I think the superiority is largely due to that factor. The deices are tiny, comfortable and barely visible.

    However my positive feelings end there.

    I have had multiple problems with the receiver component being disconnected or fall off completely.

    I just now had the battery “drawer” break and leave a battery embedded in the device.

    The Bluetooth RF connectivity from the M-DEX to the phone is good and reliable, the M-DEX’s RF connectivity to the devices is sporadic. To get stable connections the M-DEX must be snug up under my chin and my head forward and still.

    The M-DEX industrial design is bloody AWFUL. It is so heavy it can only be comfortably worn with a collared shirt. It is miserable to wear with a T-shirt. It is large and ugly on a cloth lanyard. If I leave it hanging around my neck, I reliably get puzzled questions about what the heck that thing is. I suspect the ID [Industrial Design ~Ed.] is off-the-shelf generic (cheap). The interface is confusing and awkward. I have had it for a year now and still don’t really understand it. (I am an engineer and can usually understand such devices very well).

    The Bluetooth function is awkward, noisy and unreliable, frequently requiring M-DEX and/or phone reboots. It is not my phone since my Plantronics device works like a champ. I think they did cheaped out and the Bluetooth design in-house (on-the-job-training), rather than hire a designer who is expert, or integrated a mature, stable 3rd party module. It incessantly shouts “BONG!”, “MAS-TER” under unexpected conditions and all the alarms are loud with annoying voices, e.g. “BONG!”, “MAS-TER”, “COME-FERT” and “BATTERY LOW”. Other owners know what I’m talking about. I depend on my Bluetooth for work and while this does function, it is barely adequate.

    Also, the mic in the M-DEX is probably the cheapest mic they could find. It sounds rough on the other end of the call, I have verified. Again, my Plantronics is a champ in this regard.

    I like the “COME-FERT” setting, but it gets turned off if a call comes in. With a call up you can turn the RIC devices mics off, which is very useful, but that also turns off the side tone (your own voice) feed to your ears. [Good catch ~Ed.] I can tell you, missing the side tone on a phone call is extremely awkward and uncomfortable. Why did they do that? It is a mistake designers with no telephony experience would make.

    Enough on all that. As I sit my devices are broken and my audiologist is off at some conference. I can get them fixed but other audiologists in the area will not honor the Widex warranty.

    A bitter $6,000.00 mistake.

    • Dan Schwartz
      March 28, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Scott, that was a Good Catch on the lack of the sidetone (hearing one’s own voice while on a call): This is a serious problem for severely deaf people who can’t hear their own voice very well, as hearing their own voice is vital for modulating their speech level, and even monitoring their overall speech production quality.

      Yes, the American Academy of Audiology convention is this week in Orlando; but it is inexcuseable that your audiologist has abandoned her patients while she is away: You have a valid complaint; and a second complaint against the other Widex dealers in your area who are not honoring the warranty.

      The RIC wire faling out of the aid is a problem that the factory should fix by soldering a new 2-pin socket onto the chassis: As with any connector, it only has a finite number of mating cycles; and from our own experiences, it’s maybe 10 cycles.

  7. Dennis Lee
    April 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Hello. I have had my aids for just over a year. I have all the standard M-Dex complaints. I particularly hate MAS-TER, that voice in my head will make me psycho. Good to know that the audiologist can turn it off.
    But my real complaint is that my backlight has failed. This really helps with the famous interface. Being a few months out of warranty there seems to be no repair/replacement path other than buying a new one.
    That is really shoddy and bush league.

  8. John Luke
    April 18, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Editor’s Note: The following comment is from a gentleman in the New Dehli area; and it shows the importance of finding a good hearing aid professional, as it appears that the “technician” does not know even the basics of hearing aid fitting. In fact, although as we’ve documented above that the M-Dex is lousy, in fact as “Ulf” and I have said, Widex hearing aids are actually quite good, and in fact I dispense a few of them with very high patient satisfaction, especially when the Sensogram is used (which unfortunately here in the US, very few audiologists use). What we recommend to John is to take his mother to a professional who will simply hook up the hearing aids to the COMPASS software, run the Sensogram on each channel as we described here, and click on Auto Fit to get the settings reasonably close.

    Widex is an overpriced and badly designed product. We spent a lot of money to buy them for my mom – at the first fitting itself things did not go well. The technician was a total ass and did not have any bedside manners so to speak of – he had absolutely no compassion for my mom and had the volume turned up so high that in spite of repeated feedback he insisted that the settings are normal and that my mom should get used to them.

    Well, we came home and my mom could hear even conversations from the street – the volume was set so high. We called the stupid technician and he called us back to his office the very next day. My mom is 82, has a bad back and it is difficult to get her there – not that it mattered the least bit to him. We went over the settings again – although the guy never smiled even once throughout the appointment he finally seemed to understand that my mom’s ears were being pounded with too much noise. He lowered the volume but my mom still cannot hear things properly and as for the TV – forget it – she cannot understand the speech at all.

    We are willing to work with them but the technician is unskilled, really unprofessional and has no people skills at all. What a shame – I wish we had never invested in this stupid product. I understand some people may like this product but it has been a total waste of time and money for us.

    I tried to talk to a different office / distributor-this guy hinted that my mom might need a new pair of Widex hearing aids. Now are supposed to flush our money down the drain with the first pair and buy another set of these expensive good for nothing crap sets? What a ripoff.

  9. Richard Slade
    October 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I bought the Widex 330s after my excellent Sonic Ion’s couldn’t address my hearing loss any more. I needed the frequency adjustment feature, and it works fairly well. The 330s are pretty weak in the directionality and noise suppression areas compared to the Sonics, but they do give me a better chance of hearing speech.

    My main problems have been with the M-DEX. It did the job of hooking me up to my iphone via bluetooth, but the battery life was so poor that I had to turn it off between calls, thus the auto-connect feature was useless to me. I use past tense because it died last week for the second time. The first time my audiologist was able to pair it to my hearing aids again ($50 charge) and all was well for a while. Last week it went into some error mode with white text messages about “lost communication” on the screen and won’t wake up. In general the MDEX software, in my opinion, is very poorly designed. It doesn’t have an interface for selecting which bluetooth device you want it to connect to, and it says “Master” in your ear every time your phone does ANYTHING. View an image “Master”. Listen to a song. “Master”. Dial a number “Master”. Hang-up “Master”. Check a route map. “Master”. I appreciate the attempt at extreme deference, but really I’d prefer it to STFU and do it’s job a bit better. This doesn’t count as customer service.

    Now comes the real story. I’ve owned the MDEX for 18 months. Widex’s response when my audiologist returned it for repair was to simply send it back with an “Unrepairable” note attached. In other words, it’s out of it’s 1 year warranty and you’re screwed. Buy another one. $350. This they call “customer service”?

    I am now using a Beetle H-3ST. It’s 1/5th the size of the MDEX, very clear, costs $89 and includes a built-in FM radio. The only disadvantage is that it talks to the hearing aids via Telecoil, so I have to use the ear hooks or the neck rope that come with it.

    How can a company offer an inferior product for $350, walk away from it after the 1 year warranty is up and expect to retain or attract customers?

    • Dan Schwartz
      October 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Richard, your timing is exquisite: Not even an hour ago, I received an e-mail from Widex USA with the subject line reading “Meet Your Local Widex Professional Team

      From 1956 to 2010, Widex was distributed in the USA by Hal-Hen, which is a very reputable hearing aid accessory distributor started in 1947 by the Spar & Meltsner families of New York. Unfortunately, about four years ago, Widex, which is a privately-owned Danish company, forced sons Eric & Ron to sell the company to them, which broke Harold & Henry’s heart (though they wouldn’t admit it publicly). Let’s just say that since then, their dealer prices have gone up, to the highest among the hearing aid manufacturers… And I’m not surprised at the “Unrepairable” note, either.

      I have forwarded your complaint along with your e-mail address to the people named in the e-mail I received the last hour~

  10. Richard Slade
    November 5, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Thanks, Dan
    I got an email from the Widex Manager, Audiology and Technical Support Services, the following day asking for contact info for my audiologist.
    I’ll post the end result.

    • Richard Slade
      November 7, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Well, Dan – Widex have certainly stepped up. I was contacted the next day by their Audiology and Technical Support Services Manager. She called my audiologist and quickly arranged for a free replacement M-DEX. She also told me that they’ve received other comments about the concerns I raised and are considering these for future product planning. I hope they’ll also consider making the MDEX firmware field up-gradable.

      I suggested that they consider revising their replacement policy on accessories to match what they do for the hearing aids themselves (which, I am told, is repair or replace at minimal cost for 5 years) – the same as Sonic do.

      Perhaps this very fast resolution was due the public exposure in your blog, but I’d like to think it was just good timing and poor internal communications. We will know which when their new policy on accessories is announced… or not.

      Regards, & thanks

      • Dan Schwartz
        November 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

        Richard, I could tell by the server logs that within a day or so of us publishing this article, the entire headquarters saw it. I also know from the logs that it popped up on Starkey’s intranet, and a curious amount of traffic originated from the US headquarters of the other manufacturers!

        Widex builds very good (and horribly expensive) hearing aids; but I’m not the only hearing aid professional who will not dispense them because of the M-Dex. If they can fix it, and also put in the 3-pin Euro socket that Phonak, Unitron & Oticon has on their streamers (to make the FM+Dex redundant), then the situation would change.

  11. Rick Gilbert
    December 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I wear Widex 440 Dreams and have an M-DEX, but this comment is about your website. I did not see another way to contact you. Your website home page opens and then disappears. Checked with two different browsers.
    Thank you for a great website.

    • Dan Schwartz
      December 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Rick, and thank you for the compliment.

      I’m a bit puzzled as to the viewing problems you are having, as this is a pretty basic WordPress template. That being said, if the problem is across two browsers, then that may mean you have a flaky browser plug-in — Macromedia Flash is notorious for this behavior.

      Please write me back at Dan@Snip.Net and tell me what operating system and version you’re using, the brand & model of the computer or other device, and the browsers you’re using along with the installed plug-ins; and I’ll forward this to the web developer.

  12. sandy
    December 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    How do i pair my mdex to my Avaya work desk phone

    • Dan Schwartz
      December 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Your phone must either have a Bluetooth adapter, or a headphone jack that you can plug one end of a patch cord into, with the other end plugged into the bottom of the M-Dex

  13. R Stevens
    February 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I would like to connect my Telkom line to my hearing aids. What do I need to buy for this and what is the cost involved.

    • Dan Schwartz
      February 15, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Ron, what make & model hearing aids do you own?

  14. berk1206
    March 11, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Is there any specific type/model bluetooth adapter I need to purchase in order to get my laptop (Windows 7 enterprise) paired with my M-Dex? Not sure which version of bluetooth it uses though (2 or 4??). I also have found that I can’t use the audio input connection as it is nothing but static. My audiologist returned it and I received a new one but have the same results. I am happy using the bluetooth function, but my work computer doesn’t have bluetooth and I would like to take advantage of the M-Dex if I can.

    Suggestions please!

  15. Phyllis A Jean
    April 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    This is my 2nd set of Widex hearing aids. I have clear 440, M-Dex remote & the smaller remote. My M-DEX doesn’t seem to
    be as strong as it was. I had the battery replaced, which cost
    almost as much as the new M-DEX. Not a happy customer at
    this point.

  16. Jackie Bowman
    April 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Hi, I am new to all this and am very concerned that I may make a mistake with my hearing aids. I am blind and hearing impaired. I use speech software on my computer and on my Iphone. I am supposed to be receiving a The dream 330 fusion and an mdex receiver. All this talk has got me concern that the mdex is not going to help me. Should I not agree to take the Mdex? I am being financially supported by Vocational Rehabilitation a state run program. There is no way I would be able to purchase this on my own. I have to have the ability to listen to both my computer and my Iphone. Any suggestions?

    • Dan Schwartz
      April 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

      Jackie, that’s a cute lorakeet next to you in your Facebook picture!

      Anyway, without seeing your audiogram, including speech scores using recorded material, we can’t really say if the Dream 330 Fusion — Which is a good aid — would be appropriate for you; however as you can see from the litany of problems documented in this article, and with no replacement planned for at least the next six months (as confirmed at AudiologyNow two weeks ago), I would ask for something else.

      Since you have an iPhone (hopefully an iPhone 5 or higher), instead we would recommend you ask to trial either the new ReSound LiNX² (LiNX2) model 762 receiver-in-canal (RIC) aid with the #13 battery; or if you meet the fitting range we extended of the Enzo 798, that aid, as the streaming is more robust with the 675 cell. In addition to the mid-range LiNX² 762 costing less than the midrange Dream 330 (and the Enzo 798 costing even less than the LiNX²), there is no extra streamer required, as it will pair with your iPhone; and since you also have low vision, the Retina display on the iPhone will make operation easier.

      What’s more, the Unite Mini Mic duplicates FM functionality (Widex doesn’t have a remote mic), and dealer cost is about half that of the M-Dex.

      Audiologically, if you require frequency lowering technology due to high frequency cochlear dead zones, ask to try both the Widex and ReSound offerings, as they differ radically in implementation: Some people receive much more benefit from one than the other — Or none at all.

      In short, LiNX² 762 and Enzo 798 (what we wear) both cost less than the Dream 330 as well as having much better connectivity, so ask your dispenser or audiologist for a trial.

      Here is the Enzo fitting range we at The Hearing Blog extended — Note the green zone we added in the lower right corner
      [caption id="attachment_3341" align="alignleft" width="324"]ReSound Enzo datasheet, with the fitting range spliced in.Note the additional fitting range recommended by The Hearing Blog in the green shaded area.Click to enlarge in a new window ReSound Enzo technical specifications, with the fitting range spliced in.
      Note the additional fitting range recommended by The Hearing Blog in the green shaded area.
      Click to enlarge in a new window

      • Jackie Bowman
        April 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        Thanks Dan, He’s a little cockatiel and his name is Chief. He thinks I’m his mate.
        I appreciate what you’ve said about the hearing aids and the choices. But, I believed the dream 330 has already been ordered for me. By any chance is there a separate item I can purchase to work with the hearing aids? and not have to use the MDex? My audiologist said that the dream is the best fit for me and my hearing loss. am I stuck with the Mdex?

        • Dan Schwartz
          April 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

          Jackie, hearing aids can be returned to the factory anytime within 60 days with no penalty; and in fact the manufacturers don’t care when the seal on the packaging is unbroken.

          In any case, especially since you have Usher’s Syndrome, you don’t want to fuddle around with the complicated M-Dex user interface.

          Here is the link to the other Dex accessories.

  17. Frank Lawlor
    May 6, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    One additional thing which really bothers me about the MDex is that when I get a phone call and I hit answer using the phone I end up with silence. By the time I figure out what happened and turn off the MDex, I’m too late for the call.

    I would like to be able to accept the call using my phone since it is often sitting on my desk in front of me while the MDex is difficult to get to an hit answer.

    Give me sound on the hearing aids or on the phone BUT NOT SILENCE.

    I agree that the overall design is terrible and find it hard to believe that they did any testing (or cared).

  18. Jack
    July 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    I have the M-Dex which I use mainly for phone calls. It’s been a game changer for me. Unfortunately, the navigation screen has gone black (no longer is illuminated). I recently had to “wipe” my phone and it erased the bluetooth connection between the M-Dex and the phone. Without the screen I can not figure out how to navigate to turn on the M-Dex’s bluetooth and pair with my phone. Widex will not repair the M-dex and I’m wondering if I can fix it myself?? Is it just a battery change? Can I pop off the back and change batteries? Can anyone help? I’d rather not spend another $400 for a new M-Dex.

    • Dan Schwartz
      July 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Jack, the battery should still be OK; but even if it went bad you can still plug it into your charger and re-pair it (if the screen is indeed illuminated). You can also use a “booster” battery the size of a lipstick tube or so to power it — They run about $10-15 on

      • Jack
        July 18, 2015 at 6:49 pm

        Thanks Dan, but maybe I didn’the make myself clear. I have a charger. No problem there. My problem is my screen is black. I used the MDEX for over a year this way, but once I had to re-pair the unit to my aids I was lost because I couldn’t control the MDEX without the screen. Did I make myself clear? I’m wondering if there is some wat I can fix the unit myself by opening it up and avoiding the $300 charge for a new one. Any ideas?

        • Dan Schwartz
          July 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm

          Jack, no, you didn’t make yourself quite clear, as if it works, what would changing the battery accomplish?

          I have the M-Dex which I use mainly for phone calls. It’s been a game changer for me. Unfortunately, the navigation screen has gone black (no longer is illuminated). I recently had to “wipe” my phone and it erased the bluetooth connection between the M-Dex and the phone. Without the screen I can not figure out how to navigate to turn on the M-Dex’s bluetooth and pair with my phone. Widex will not repair the M-dex and I’m wondering if I can fix it myself?? Is it just a battery change? Can I pop off the back and change batteries?

          In any case, Widex USA now has M-Dex repairs: Ask your hearing aid professional for a price quote.

          • Jack
            July 20, 2015 at 4:46 pm

            Changing the battery was just a guess. I assumed the blank screen was due to a lack of a adequate power source. Can’t figure out how to pair up the aids and Mdex without the steps that the Mdex screen would walk me through. Thanks for your help.

            • Dan Schwartz
              July 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

              I’ve never opened up my M-Dex; however the LCD backlight may be able to be replaced.

  19. Mari
    July 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I can echo the negative comments about the M-Dex. I broke mine, and was waiting to replace it until I knew whether there would be any improvements for 2015 – in addition to bluetooth, the focus function is useful when I attend large meetings or depositions. Sadly no improvements. In case Widex is listening, in addition to the enormous size, the user interface is very poor and never became intuitive for me. And although the charger looked like a micro usb connection, it apparently wasn’t standard so I had to carry the charging cord around with me when I traveled. I’m on my third pair of top of the line Widex aids, but next time I’m going to try aids that can be controlled by iPhone/watch.

    • Dan Schwartz
      July 18, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Actually, it’s a mini USB connection, and it’s more rugged than the micro USB connection. However, about two years ago EU bureaucrats forced consumer electric manufacturers — mainly mobile phones — to use a single universal micro USB connection, ostensibly to cut down on landfill waste from orphan battery chargers which have proprietary connectors.

      • Mari
        July 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm

        Thanks. You’re right — it does look like a mini USB connection, not micro. But only the cord that came with it fits — none of my (many) other mini USB connectors worked and the M-Dex cord didn’t fit my (many) other mini USB powered devices. Was this an anomaly, and do standard mini or micro cords currently fit the M-Dex? Just wanted to check before I decide for sure whether to order a new one. I’m in the US, if that makes a difference. The brochures says there are 4 different versions, though I assume that refers to the wall socket, not the device connection.

        • Dan Schwartz
          July 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

          Standard mini USB connectors fit, as it’s the same connector as on the Phonak ComPilot and ReSound Unite Mini Mic & TV Streamer 1. In addition, it’s the same connector as used on the Widex USBlink programmer.

  20. steve
    July 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    The MDex is looking for a termination of the data wires. While it doesn’t have ANY data transfer abilities, the stupid chipset they use won’t recogize just the presence of +5 volts and ground as a valid power source.

    The data pins also have to be terminated correctly before the piece of crap “recognizes” the power supply and uses it for charging.

  21. drdata
    September 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Isn’t it great to know one is not alone? Yes, it is.

    I am not sure I have anything to add. Thank you.

    [MASTER] Yes the de[BATTERY LOW]vice does cha[MASTER]tter a[BATTERY LOW] lot.

    What I find sufficiently irritating that I have not used the MDEX in a long time. It is seems [BATTERY LOW] to [MASTER] give me the same sound as [BATTERY LOW] the TV. My wife can hear the T[MASTER]V but I can’t. When I try to [BATTERY LOW] boost the volume using the M-DEX, in reality the only way to do that is to boost the TV volume. I would like to be able to boost my volume up independent of the TV so she is not rendered deaf while I listen to the TV. The[MASTER]n maybe we could watch TV without CC? [BATTERY LOW]

    Oh, and the M-DEX is a bit annoying. It natters constantly. Why do I have to hear the battery is low for a month? [MASTER]

    Jes’ askin’ is all.

    Just found this site. OMG. Thank you


    • Dan Schwartz
      September 20, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      @drdata: I’ll reply to all 3 of your comments at this link (give me a few moments to compose my reply) — I can’t reply to the e-mail addy you provided :-/

  22. Rick Gilbert
    October 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    After all the issues with M-Dex is it being replaced by the new Com-Dex? Also I have been using a Call-Dex attached to my iPhone 6 and it has some definite issues. Has anyone else used a Call-Dex plugged into their smart phone?

  23. Steve
    November 20, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Got a new Com-Dex 784 two days ago. So far, so good.

    NO stereo, though.

    It uses the inductive loop system, so there is no “pairing” with the hearing aids like the M-Dex. On the positive side, the audio is MUCH clearer, and people tell me that they can now understand me when I use it as a headset. Since the inductive loop is the neck band, I haven’t been getting the one ear disconnect when I turn my head. (The M-Dex was absolutely TERRIBLE as far as mic quality was concerned.)

    Time will tell on the Bluetooth disconnect problem, but so far, it only has trouble if I walk away from the phone and get out of range, then come back. That really is a characteristic of Bluetooth anyway.

  24. Eric
    October 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I have the M-dex, and initially found it a positive life changer, as so much of my work is done on the phone, and it was impossible to jury rig acceptable functional work arounds with other tech.

    Yes the “master” bong was world class annoying, the switching modes bong announcements every time an email, text or even cell coverage changed was annoying (and in an industrial environment unnerving to the point of borderline dangerous). Like other users I found if you turned your head 45 degrees streaming dropped out from antenna problems. The unit was ugly, obtrusive, and waaayy oversized, but this was tolerated by me because it allowed me to do one thing I couldn’t do any other way…. talk on the phone.

    But…, the M-Dex is super unreliable. I have yet to have one last more than 13 months. I am on my 3rd one. Widex replaced the 3rd one for free, but I bought the other 2. They just die. No reason revealed.

    My audiologist said last time that M-Dex was no longer being sold and counseled the Com-Dex. I bought that. Sleeker for sure, however there is not an equivalent audio volume output from the Com-Dex to the M-Dex and therefore I cannot use it except in a dead silent environment. In a noisy environment the M-Dex allowed external room mute, effectively filtering background noise to allow me to hear. Com-Dex doesn’t have this native function. I was told to down load app for android phone to gain volume boost for Com-Dex, only to find that the software required access to my photo gallery and complete contact lists. Why is that necessary for a hearing aid? Click deny, and you close out half the functionality of the Com-Dex. For me it just doesn’t work. Also, in order for the Com-Dex to have half the functions of the M-Dex you always have to have your cell phone with you. How thoughtful.

    Widex industrial designers, think “KISS” Keep it simple, stupid. We carry small slippery, delicate, water phobic, super expensive hearing aids, batteries, a blue tooth interface (M-dex, Com-Dex, R-Dex, Something Dex) and a Cell phone? Where is my man purse? Make our lives simpler and more seamless (aka closer to a non-handicapped persons life) and we will love you for it.

    So, the M-Dex was more functional, but annoying and unreliable, the Com-Dex was not functional but more reliable. Perhaps if they combined the two? I’m, disappointed, and am thinking I need to change brands.

    • Dan Schwartz
      October 10, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Eric, we recommend the ReSound LiNX² or Enzo² (or similar Beltone Legend or Boost+) aids, as they offer direct Bluetooth 4.0 connections to the iPhone and a few Android phones; and also a nice portfolio of wireless accessories. The Starkey Halo also has this functionality; but even though they have been released for 2½ years, they still lack a remote mic, while ReSound is on their second generation of remote mics.

  25. Jonathan Hazell
    March 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Mdex REPLACEMENT battery needed, mine no longer accepts charge (after 4 years, not bad) HOW is it done and by whom?

  26. Mark
    November 24, 2017 at 4:55 am

    I am looking for some advice from people who know about hearing aids – sorry if this is the wrong forum
    My Father is 88 with profound hearing loss over 1000hz
    He struggles to cope with minituarized in ear equipment, pairing bluetooth etc.
    I suspect he would do better with a body worn device with remote wireless mic and wired ear buds
    I have seen the Comfort Contego advertised?
    What is the best bodyworn device?
    Or is there another set up you would suggest?
    Would a graphic equalizer help to boost high frequencies?

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