How Oticon's ConnectLine Microphone has changed my life.

Ok I have had a lot of time with this small microphone that Oticon released recently and here are my thoughts:

WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?  Seriously, it is the most wonderful product I have seen in a long time…maybe ever, for helping those “companions” of those with hearing loss.  (And I know…this wasn’t possible before the advent of wireless technology so I get why it wasn’t available. I was kidding about that.)

Here’s what I know for sure. I am an audiologist. I am a wife to a lovely man with a big hearing loss.  He always has the latest technology and does a great job of communicating. The problem is me.  When I leave work, after counseling patients about NOT talking from another room and how difficult that is for communication for anyone, let alone someone with hearing loss…what do I do? Yup.  I take my audiology hat off and put my wife hat on and do exactly what I told others NOT to do.  I am hopeless.  Perhaps it's just marriage.  After a while you can think each other's thoughts… he knows you so well, you just start talking! Yeah, and the both of you are in different rooms. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t do that to me… very often, anyway.

So I’m left to wonder…maybe there is some female DNA link or something that just makes me start talking expecting him to hear me. Maybe life is just like that. Rest assured I am not condoning my behavior… it's terrible… and Mike is a strong man so he will just laugh when I am talking and I know he is thinking…"She’s kidding… right? There is no way I can hear her!"

This whole story is a prelude about why I think the ConnectLine mic, or what I call the spouse mic, is a godsend. For all those bad communication behaviors I have….and I KNOW better, it's really hard for others to always remember the rules of clear speech and good communication.

First of all, it works GREAT. It's reliable, small, consistent, easy to use, effective, and the sound quality is fabulous for Mike, the husband (not to be confused with the mic on my shirt.)

We used it in several places: in a restaurant, at home of course, while I was talking to the computer and he was cooking (and yes, I'm awful lucky that way, too!), and also in the car.

The car is heaven. No more turning to look at me while he is driving. That gets scary.  I can talk in a normal to soft voice with great clarity for him. Nice. Really nice.

In a restaurant we tried, foolishly, to clip it on to a wine glass to see if we could use it as a table mic: no go. It needs to be about 5 inches from the sound source, usually me. Poor guy. We did pass it to others at the table with success.

Home is where I began to realize that we could now engage in more “normal” communication. When my voice was softer (sometimes vents were on over the stove), he could turn away from me and cook and we could still tell each other stories or talk about the day. I began to understand what I had been missing with him, that light and airy banter husbands  and wives have, streaming over subjects with ease, bouncing from family to work to the weekends events with ease.  I missed that, but didn’t really know I did until I got it back…and that got me to thinking…

I know the mic is for Mike, the husband with the hearing loss. But what I know now is it's also for me. I truly love this thing for what it has given me, the spouse. I get my hubby back. I am more relaxed. I am not sad about the conversations we don’t have. He is delightfully engaged, witty, and able to keep up with changing conversations and contribute with humor; just the coolest thing!

Two things I have learned not to do with the mic, though: 1) chew corn chips with the mic on and talk under my breath… yeah… got caught a couple of times doing that too. I get a resounding "I HEARD YOU!" from out in the garage. Be careful and mindful… respectful of this thing because who ever is wearing it has YOU, your voice, in his head! That is awesome

(and a good reinforcer to stop talking to yourself!).

It works with the streamer, the wireless connection, which is a kinda cool looking Ipod kind of thing. It's light, not hard to use at all.

So, that's it. I won’t be without my spouse mic even a day. I like how he hears challenging conversation and I like that he is a part of the group again.

Thanks, Oticon. What a gift you have given me.

Karen Van Doorne, AuD

Wife and Audiologist….usually in that order. 🙂

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