All posts by Helga Velroyen

About Helga Velroyen

Born 1982. Living in Munich (German) with husband, cat and snake. Hard of hearing and wearing hearing aids since about 10 years. Software engineer at Google by day. Geek by heart.

What sucks about Bluetooth Hearing Aids?

A while ago I wrote an ode to Bluetooth hearing aids and described how they changed my life. While that is totally true, it is not the whole truth. Not everything is super cool about Bluetooth hearing aids. In this article I’ll list the annoying quircks that you might encounter when when you buy Bluetooth hearing aids. While I still think they are an awesome piece of technology, I want you to have the full picture.

Note: I assume that most of these problems are not necessarily problems of the implementation in the hearing aids itself. A lot things things that are annoying are due to Bluetooth itself, how it is implemented in the sending device (the phone, the laptop) and how other devices in the room might interfere with the hearing aids. Hence I am not necessarily blaming the hearing aid manufacturers here, but if there is something they can do about these things, I would be grateful for an update.

Continue reading What sucks about Bluetooth Hearing Aids?

How Bluetooth Hearing Aids changed my life

While this might be unusal for my American-English speaking audience, I am the type of person who uses phrases like “changed my life” only for things that literally changed my life. Life-changing events happen usually not that frequent, but today I want to talk about one of them. Late 2019 I got my new hearing aids, the Phonak Audeo Marvels. Those have built-in Bluetooth technology and that really changed my life.

Continue reading How Bluetooth Hearing Aids changed my life

Why rechargeable Hearing Aids aren’t there yet

When I tested hearing aids for my latest purchase late last year (2019), I was specifically curious about hearing aids with rechargeable batteries. Nowadays several manufacturers offer those. I wanted to do my part for the environment, and hence not having to buy new batteries all the time was on my wish list. However, it turns out that the offering of hearing aids with rechargeable batteries on the market does not do it for me yet. Sadly, it seems I have to wait till the next cycle. See my report.

Continue reading Why rechargeable Hearing Aids aren’t there yet

Music Not Impossible

I recently stumbled upon this video about an awesome project: a tactile harness with various vibrating parts designed to experience music “physically”. Watch the video of the story here:

Although designed with the Deaf and hard of hearing in mind, I find this a really awesome idea for anyone. I think anyone who loves music might be interested into experience it on an even more intensive level. I would be very curious to try this out 🙂

My take on Hearables

Recently I was interviewed by Peggy Sylopp, head of the research project “Hear how you like to hear“. The project is about people’s view and need of hearables and Peggy gave me the opportunity to express my opinion here. I enjoyed the conversation very much, I hope you do too. Here’s the video (in German):

This was published as part of an article in the “Make” magazine and on heise.de:

https://www.heise.de/amp/hintergrund/liketohear-Ein-Raspi-Prototyp-fuer-individuelle-Hoergeraete-4687101.html?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR0pFYtKZGo6WOHOsqw7W54iujLWFlZ253_x39ysncq_sD3ijGcl8wM6sBI

Just use a headset already

In times of Covid-19, social distancing and home quarantine, many people resort to meeting their people via (video or telephone) conferencing. You call your coworkers when you work from home, after work you have a with call with Aunt Amy, and later in the event you join your nerd group of friends that you play the latest boardgame with.

I don’t have a clue about virology or any of the medical stuff, but if I could give you one piece of advice in these times: do your peers a favor and use a headset.

A person wearing a mickey-mouse style headset with a fixed microphone. The headset is connected to a laptop.

To some people, especially the gamers, this might be the obvious way to do conference calls, but I noticed that even for my tech savvy colleagues this isn’t all that obvious.

Continue reading Just use a headset already

Talk: Hear how you like to hear

A while ago, I mentioned the research project Hear how you like to hear. The researchers want to find out how users use hearables and what requirements they have for hearables. They have a very human-centered approach, which I like a lot, as it includes that hearing is very subjective and not everything about hearing can be captured in an audiogram.

The project is soon coming to an end. Peggy, the main researcher, gave a talk about the project and the results (the talk is in German, the slides are English). In particular, she found out that 90% of hearing aid users don’t find it important that the devices are small. That is pretty much the opposite of what the hearing aid industry is still selling. Great project, I hope there are more like this in the pipeline.