HLAA Exhibits – Part Four

HLAA Exhibits – Part Four

By Bonnie O’Leary and Cheryl Heppner

July 2009

Editor: One of the best things about the HLAA convention is the opportunity to see all the latest and greatest technology. For those who can’t make it to the convention, Cheryl Heppner and Bonnie O’Leary do an OUTSTANDING job of reporting on the exhibits.

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– Clarity
– Sonic Alert/Geemarc

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Clarity

By Bonnie O’Leary

Somebody asked me today if there was a personal highlight to my adventures at the HLAA Nashville conference. Aside from achieving what I thought would be impossible, i.e. find my way around the sprawling, multi-roomed convention center, I discovered two phones that I could use with my severe to profound hearing loss. I chatted with National Account Managers, Steve Woods and Gary Moore, about what Clarity has been doing to advance the technology in phones for people with hearing loss. I shared with them the frustrations that many of us experience when we “boost” the sound of the speakers’ voices on the phone and just end up with distorted speech which is difficult to understand. Gary told me that Clarity is now using digital processors in their phones to combat this very problem. He suggested I try their new XL45 phone which will be on the market in July. I set my telecoil, he called me on the model phone, and I was astounded at how well I understood him. I turned my back so I wouldn’t be tempted to lipread him, and we had an actual conversation amid the cacophony of the busy exhibit hall. I also tried the XL40D and got the same result. Comparing these two to my home phone, a much older Clarity model, it sounded like they had shaved off all the fuzz of speech distortion. Wow! The XL40D has amplification controls for outgoing speech as well, and a tech support button a user can push to get help 24/7 if they encounter a problem with the phone.

Other Models

Also on display were Clarity cordless phones: the Professional C4230 Amplified Speaker Phone and Digital Answering Machine, two Clarity Professional Amplified Phones: the C4420 and C4220HS. All three of these models offer adjustable volume up to 50dB. The other Cordless Amplified Phones were the Clarity D613 and D603, offering amplification up to 30dB.

Clarity has also introduced its first mobile phone, the ClarityLife C900. It amplifies up to 20 dB, has M and T ratings of 2. You can program up to 5 emergency contact numbers, reachable by pushing the red emergency button. You can also program 200 names and numbers in the mobile phonebook. This phone operates on the GSM system through the AT&T or T-Mobile service.

For more information, visit www.clarityproducts.com or call 423-629-3544, 800-426-3738, TTY 800-772-2889, or fax to 423-622-0414.

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Sonic Alert/Geemarc

By Cheryl Heppner

In late 2007, Sonic Alert signed an agreement to become the exclusive distributor of Geemarc Telecom products in the U.S. and Canada. Sonic Alert is a brand that’s been known for its alerting devices for doorbell, telephone and sound signaling as well as a line of alarm clocks and accessories. Geemarc is a relative newcomer in the U.S., though it has the largest range of amplified telephones and assistive listening devices in Europe.

Eddie B. Brink, Product Brand Manager, gave enthusiastic answers to all of my questions and was very helpful. One thing I noticed right away at the exhibit was a Geemarc neckloops like the ClearSounds CLA7 that has been getting so much attention in our NVRC demo room. Neckloops, as the name implies, are like a necklace with an interesting high-tech pendant.

Geemarc has two neckloops. The Geemarc’s tLoop is hearing aid compatible and powered by 2 AAA batteries. It is compatible with many of the company’s corded and cordless amplified phones— the Ampli250/200/400/600/1100 models. It also works with most cell phones, though you may need to purchase a connector. My husband always finds connector thingies at Radio Shack in case that’s not your area of expertise.

The second neckloop is the iLoop. It is an amplified powered neckloop (30db) for audio devices such as MP3 players, iPods, and computers that have a 3.5mm audio jack. It works with the telecoil in a hearing aid to improve sound from a cell phone, regular phone, or other audio device like an MP3 player. It has a built-in microphone.

Geemarc also has BlueHook,a gizmo for hearing aid wearers to connect with BlueTooth-enabled mobile phones. BlueHook gets up to 250 hours standby time, takes 2-3 hours to charge, and can be charged by USB, car charger or AC adapter, all of which are included.

Kudos to this company for its web accessibility! The neckloop page on the SonicAlert/Geemarc website has captioned videos of all three products. Before visiting with Eddie, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new version of the ClearSounds CLA7. Now I’ve added these products to the list.

Geemarc also has corded and cordless phones, amplifiers, personal listening devices and portable loop systems in its product line. Its U.S. headquarters is located in Troy, Michigan.
www.geemarc.com
www.sonicalert.com

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(c)2009 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org. 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.