photoAMPLIFIED TELEPHONE
Ameriphone, Inc., Garden Grove, CA, introduces the new Dialogue XL-50 amplified phone, reportedly the most powerful amplified phone the company has ever offered. The XL-50 delivers 48 dB of incoming sound, over 200 times louder than regular phones, with filtering technology designed to produce clear reception. Incoming tone control allows users to tailor the phone for clarity and distinguish between similar sounding words. The amplifier resets when the phone is hung up or it can be set to turn on automatically with every use. The ringer is loud and features a volume adjuster and tone controller. The audio output jack allows the phone to be connected to other assistive listening devices such as a headset, a neck loop or a cochlear implant. The handset is hearing aid telecoil compatible. The large-button keypad with back lighting is for dialing accurately day and night. The phone features 12-memory redial, hold and flash buttons.


photoTESTING COUPLER & SOFTWARE
Frye Electronics, Inc., Tigard, OR, introduces three new products: the HA-1 coupler for the Songbird hearing instrument, new software for the FONIX FP35 Hearing Aid Analyzer and a 32-bit version of WinCHAP (Computer Hearing Aid Program). The HA-1 coupler for the Songbird hearing aid can be used with any FONIX hearing aid analyzer to test the disposable hearing aids in the sound chamber.

photoThe new software for the FONIX FP35 Hearing Aid Analyzer Version 2.1 includes the ANSI ’96 test sequence for the first time. The company reports that there is a noticeable improvement in speed of the display and other details that improve the usability of the unit. The FP35 can be operated from a computer when the current version of Frye’s database program, WinCHAP, is used.

photoThe recently introduced 32-bit version of WinCHAP allows the user to save data collected from the FONIX instruments, as well as a wide range of client data. Version 2.0 is designed to fix problems in the initial release and brings WinCHAP up to date with today’s technology. The company reports that Version 2.10 of the software is scheduled for release in mid-October and will include the DSL program. Free demonstration versions of this program are available.


photoDUAL HEARING PROTECTION SYSTEM
Peltor and E-A-R, Indianapolis, IN, have developed a new hearing protection system, Peltor/E-A-R High Performance Series, designed to make monitoring hearing protection compliance easier. The series combines clear Peltor low-profile earmuff cups with either E-A-R’s Classic or E-A-Rsoft Yellow Neons foam earplugs. It is the first system to allow managers who monitor worker compliance to visually check if earplugs are being worn properly, without disturbing the worker or asking them to remove their outer hearing protection, according to the company. The product’s Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) range from 33-36 NRR. The company reports that every pair of Peltor High Performance earmuffs includes 10 pairs of either E-A-R Classic or E-A-Rsoft Yellow Blast earplugs.

Peltor and E-A-R developed the High Performance Series in part to address a change in the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulation. The new regulation requires the use of dual-hearing protection (using a combination of earmuffs and earplugs) in environments with 105 decibel or greater noise levels.


CAPTIONED TELEPHONE
Ultratec, Inc., Madison, WI, announces the Captioned Telephone or CapTel™, a new technology designed to allow people who are hard of hearing and those who have language disabilities to enjoy telephone conversation with the same speed and confidence as others. The device allows the person to receive live captions of their telephone conversation. It is similar to captioned television where spoken words appear as written text for viewers to read.

The Captioned Telephone looks and works like any traditional telephone with callers talking and listening to each other, but the difference is that captions are displayed live for every phone call. The captions are displayed on the phone’s built-in screen so the user can read the words while listening to the voice of the other party. The captions appear nearly simultaneously with the caller’s spoken words, according to the company. The user presses the Captions button on the phone which connects the call to a service that provides the captioning. At the service, an operator who is trained to use a voice recognition computer re-voices what is said by the other party.

The voice recognition system transcribes the operator’s voice into text stream (captions) which is spliced together with the called party’s actual voice and sent down the line to the Captioned Telephone. When the Captioned Telephone receives this combined information, the voice and text are split so that the voice goes to the earpieces of the phone and captions go to the display screen.


photoFITTING SOFTWARE
Lori/Unitron, Golden Valley, MN, announces a new software version, Pocket Unifit 1.60, designed to provide a more complete programming solution. The system reportedly provides fast and easy programming for Digital Sound F/X, Sound F/X, Sigma and LoriPro II product lines. Pocket Unifit 1.60 includes improved QuickFit for various targets including DSL, FIG 6 and NAL. Updated online help files and a Wizard feature that will make adjustments to the hearing aid parameters based on the client’s verbal feedback is also featured, according to the company.


photoSOUNDFIELD SYSTEM
Phonic Ear Inc., Petaluma, CA, announces the release of VocaLight, a soundfield system intended to facilitate teaching and better comprehension for students in schools.

VocaLight operates on two wide-band infrared frequencies for students to hear full sound with good bass tone and less hiss. The infrared light transmits the teacher’s voice to the surrounding speakers and does not allow the signal to be picked up by neighboring classes, according to the company.

The receiver has a 140o reception angle to reduce dropout. It can pick up a signal from anywhere in a 7 x 9 m/25 x 30 ft. room. When paired with the two optional external sensors, the system will cover a 10.5 x 10.5 m/35 x 35 ft. area. It includes an audio-out jack for recording or connecting to FM transmitters used by children with hearing impairment. The receiver features two built-in channels intended to make team-teaching and student participation convenient. Each speaker uses a wireless transmitter on each of the two channels.

The receiver is compact in size and is designed for easy installation. The controls on the front are volume knobs for channel A, channel B, auxiliary input and a treble control.

The four small speakers (or a single ceiling speaker cluster) are designed to distribute the teacher’s voice evenly across the room to overcome the effects of distance, background noise and echo on communication. Teachers don’t have to speak loud to be heard inside the classroom and have reduced vocal fatigue, according to the company.


ASSISTIVE DEVICES
LightSPEED Technologies, Inc., Lake Oswego, OR, introduces two products, LES-390 Desktop SoundPak and LES-360 Personal FM System.

LES-390 Desktop SoundPak, a small unit that includes transmitter, receiver, microphone batteries and charger, is designed for students with cochlear implants and/or hearing instruments. The teacher uses the transmitter with the headset microphone, and the student places the unit on his/her desk, adjusting the volume as needed. The device provides higher signal-to-noise ratio and is simple to use, according to the company.

The LES-360 Personal FM System, a FM system that includes transmitter, receiver, Sony headset, batteries and charger, is designed for students with cochlear implants. It is a personal soundfield that is light and easy to carry.

Both products use 216-217 MHz frequencies and are Phonak MicroLink compatible (Channels 1, 9, 12, 18), according to the company.


photoPRODUCTION MICROSCOPES
Bio-Medical Technologies, Mandeville, LA, introduces two new production microscopes, BioVID and Paragon Production Microscopes.

BioVID is a video microscope with a zoom lens of 7x to 45x and a working distance of 90 mm. The camera is a color CCD with 480 lines of resolution. A glare-free 5.5 inch Flat Panel TFT Video Monitor is mounted on a swing arm that can be positioned for an optimum viewing angle. The instrument can be useful for circuit board observation and inspection.

The Paragon Production Microscope features an inclined binocular, 360-degree rotating head, dual 10x wide field with 1x and 3x objective. It has a 170 mm available working height and a 115 mm x 149 mm stage.


photoRECHARGEABLE BATTERY
Plainview Batteries, Plainview, NY, announces a new rechargeable battery, Nickel Metal Hydride Size #13 (NH20), for use by hearing instrument manufacturers. The battery has a nominal voltage of 1.2 V and its minimum capacity at C/5 is 20mAh. It is designed to fit in BTE, ITE and ITC instruments. The battery is said to provide manufacturers with the option of offering a battery sealed inside the hearing instrument, and the battery can be recharged by placing the instrument on or in a charger without the consumer opening the instrument or changing batteries.