Selecting a Phonak Roger Receiver

Digital FM assistive listening systems are a step up from older analog FM systems, as interference has become a growing problem, especially with CI’s, in our increasingly crowded frequency spectrum. To that end, the Phonak Roger is a very nice digital FM system that operates in the UHF band at 2.45 gHz, using bidirectional frequency hopping to find a clear channel in the band shared with 802.11 WiFi, 802.15 Bluetooth, and other services.

Phonak Roger X(03) receiver. Note the (03) adult version marking

Phonak offers two versions of their micro-sized receivers — The “Pediatric” (or “Educational”) -02 version, and the less-expensive “Adult” -03 version — and since the differences are not well documented, this short article will detail the differences… And possibly save you or your school district hundreds of dollars.

May 29, 2015 Update:

Please see our update near the bottom of this article describing the Spring 2014 silent upgrade.
Before continuing, we at The Hearing Blog strongly urge that all hearing impaired children be fit with FM or digital equivalent assistive systems on their hearing aids or CI’s, as the greatly improved signal-to-noise ratio increases their “listening ease,” as deafness is mentally exhausting due to the cognitive effort required. This can take the form of a separate system such as the Roger, or can be built in such as the Unite system on ReSound and Cochlear hearing devices, on which we have previously written. Even in relatively quiet classrooms, the reverberation time Tr or T60 is often far in excess of the 550 mSec criteria spelled out in ANSI/ASA S.12-60-2009. This independently produced demonstration, recorded in an actual Vermont classroom, will drive home this point:

[Link to YouTube video above.]

In addition to the MyLink conventional receiver for use with headphones or inductive neckloop and Roger Focus BTE receiver, Phonak also produces seven integrated micro-receivers for their hearing aids and AB Naida & Cochlear N5 & N6 CI’s, plus a universal receiver with 3-pin polarized “Euro” plug (pictured); so when you double this numner for the -02 & -03 versions there are 16 different models. When you look on the base beside the 3 pin plug there will be an 02 or 03 mark, so you can tell them apart. The appearance, size, range and audio quality are all identical between the -02 and -03 models, so we’ll lay out the differences, so you can decide whether the extra money is worth the feature set of the “educational” version. The following information is courtesy of UK distributor Connevans:

Roger Inspiro status checking, link quality measurement, and EasyGain:
• Roger type 02 receivers – Yes
• Roger type 03 receivers – No

Roger design-integrated receiverClick to go to description page

Roger design-integrated receiver
Click to go to description page

Roger Inspiro (master) & DynaMic (slave) transmitters:
• Roger type 02 receivers – Yes, unlimited
• Roger type 03 receivers – No

Roger Pen:
• Roger type 02 receivers – Yes, unlimited
• Roger type 03 receivers – Yes, unlimited

Roger Clip-On Mic transmitter:
• Roger type 02 receivers – Yes, unlimited
• Roger type 03 receivers – Yes, maximum of one user

Phonak Dynamic Soundfield:
• Roger type 02 receivers – Yes
• Roger type 03 receivers – No

Let’s discuss what these features mean, and whether you actually need them.

First off, if the use is for an adult, or in a mainstream secondary school or university where the student takes the transmitter from class to class, i.e. the receivers stay locked on one transmitter pairing, then the less expensive -03 receivers will work just fine (and is what your humble editor uses with a Pen Mic), as the important features are only available when the expensive Inspiro transmitter is used. What’s more, the Pen Mic duplicates the multi-transmitter functionality found in the Inspiro — DynaMic combination, i.e. where secondary transmitters are used as “pass-around” mics for student discussions. We have not tried the multi-mic configuration yet, as we only have one Pen Mic at present: Stay tuned for our extensive test article, in progress.

On The Other Hand, there are three situations where the more expensive -02 educational version with the Inspiro transmitter is preferred:

  1. For students in deaf ed programs where each teacher has an Inspiro transmitter, as it facilitates easy switches of transmitters with the Wall Pilot as the students walk into each classroom;
  2. For infants, toddlers & children up to about age 10 or so who cannot report when they have a problem, as the link integrity monitoring is good for quality control;
  3. For users of certain CI’s with the X universal receiver  (does not apply when the dedicated 14 receiver for the Nucleus 5 & 6 or 17 receiver for the Naida q70 is used). The default CI module setting in the Inspiro transmitter is “Automatic,” but with the following exceptions:
    • Cochlear Nucleus 5 or if the Roger signal is way too soft or too loud and cannot be corrected using the Easy Gain feature;
    • In this case it is recommended to program the Roger X receiver with the corresponding CI setting, to be selected in the Roger Inspiro transmitter

April FM Classroom P23

Of course, as Jane Madell PhD helpfully points out in this video, FM systems only work when the teacher is wearing the transmitter, and it is switched on!

Phonak Roger integrated receivers. Image updated 4 November 2014 to reflect the new 18 receiver for the Venture platform. Click the image to go to the relevant page on the Phonak FM website

Phonak Roger integrated receivers
Image updated 4 November 2014 to reflect the new 18 receiver for the Venture platform.
Click the image to go to the relevant page on the Phonak FM website

 

Update:

Roger-1-and-2-text-2517-cropPhonak made a quiet but welcome running change in Spring 2014 when they switched to their second generation chip inside their Roger headworn receivers: Besides on a drain meter where you will see a drop in power consumption from 3.0 to 2.4 mA, you can tell them apart as on the X universal receivers they switched to cadmium plated pins as the brass plating on the original series would flake off, and possibly cause a short circuit. In addition, another welcome change is the new receivers boot up about 2 seconds faster, almost immediately.

ReSound Enzo with optional combo DAI/programming battery door and Roger X 03 receiver

ReSound Enzo with optional combo DAI/programming
battery door and Roger X 03 receiver

← Marvel Reveals A New Hero With Cochlear Implants ReSound & Cochlear Wireless Accessory Compatibility →

About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech

5 Comments

  1. Holly Teagle
    October 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I work at a large pediatric cochlear implant clinic which uses all three cochlear implant manufacturers and serves a diverse population of children. While FM/DM use with cochlear implants can be successful, I highly disagree that it should should be used with all children with cochlear implants. At our center we do not recommend use of this technology until a child’s programming levels are relatively stable, a detection audiogram of about 25 dB HL across frequencies has been obtained, and the child is able to participate at some level in speech perception assessment to use of the device can be verified. It is also important that recipients are reliable reporters of device function and sound quality. Additionally, the experience and knowledge of the person with the microphone and the environmental need should be considered. This excludes many CI children from being good candidates for FM/DM.


  2. Anthony Vernucci
    March 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Dan,

    Sorry but Dr. Teagle is correct.

    Detectable audiogram and reliable reporting are absolutely essential.

    She works with children everyday.

    Please listen to her.


    • Dan Schwartz
      March 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Anthony, I addressed Holly Teagle’s objections in detail in More On Our Recommendation For Remote Mic/FM Use For All Hearing Impaired Children. As you read the article, you’ll see we do a deep dive into the engineering details (included in the footnotes) for our reply to Dr Teagle and others, namely that the entire FM/HA &/or FM/CI system must be properly spec’d out, configured, and tested.

      What’s more, I’ll probably update both of these articles after #AN16


Leave A Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: