FM Genie

fmGenie_white_pair2

(June 2011)

The instructions

These were good. On first looking at the book which runs to over 100 pages including 7 appendices I formed the impression that the Genie was very complicated. However having familiarized myself with the basics I found the instructions very good and the instrument is simple to use. The detail outlined in all the appendices deal with particular problems which one might encounter in different circumstances which normally one would not encounter.

The equipment

This consist of a transmitter and a receiver. The receiver is normally attached to a neck loop (T position needed on the hearing aid), though one can use a ‘direct input lead’ which connects the receiver directly to a shoe on the hearing aid or aids. This would have to be separately purchased. The receiver has a socket for an external microphone. It has no internal microphone.

The transmitter is normally worn or carried by the person with whom one is communicating. I found the transmitting distance to be normally about 20-30 metres and even more than this under ideal circumstances. The transmitter has an external microphone socket. The microphone is attached to the lapel of the person carrying the transmitter. There is also an internal microphone on the transmitter. Only when this is used a short aerial lead is required connected to the transmitter.

There are rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. There is a conference microphone (as an extra). This connects with the transmitter.

The accessories are numerous and allow convenience for the Genie to be used in all sorts of circumstances. Shoulder straps, belts, cases for the transmitter and receiver etc.

A version of the Genie is now available with a ‘direct input’ shoe on the hearing aid.  This obviates the need of a receiver as the sound signal from the transmitter goes direct to the hearing aid.  It is more expensive but without the receiver would be more convenient in use.  I say this but have not tried it out myself.

How does it perform?

I used the Genie with my hearing aid  (neck loop of the Genie, HA set in T position).

Used for watching the TV

The Genie connects with either with a scart lead or via audio leads or using the internal microphone on the transmitter. Quality of sound is best when using the scart lead or audio leads. The sound quality was excellent. But bear in mind the slight drawback of there being no microphone on the receiver (mentioned later).  This means that talking to someone sitting close may be difficult.

Used in the car

Using the lapel microphone with the transmitter the sound quality received was very good. Having the microphone close to the speaker means the engine noise is not so intrusive. By clipping the microphone close to the radio speaker on can enjoy radio programmes and at the same time cut down on the engine’s background noise.  Be aware that in many modern cars there may be an annoying electronic hum when using the telecoil.  This point should be checked out if use in the car is important.

Used for a walk

The sound quality was again very good. One is able to keep in touch with the person with whom one is walking even when they are at some distance. The batteries had good reserves of energy and can be used for a prolonged time even when showing some battery depletion.

Used in a group

Coffee morning situation  The transmitter is place on a table in the middle.  It is best if the table is uncluttered and without a tablecloth ( sound is reflected best off a hard surface).  There is no directional facility on the transmitting microphone.  This is a slight drawback compared with similar devices.   Improved hearing was achieved though it was best when only one person was talking at any one time!

Used in a conference

The conference microphone was placed on the table in the middle. Hearing was good. My impression was that it was probably better than other listeners in a similar situation.  The

Assessment

Sound quality was very good in all situations. Transmitting distance was also good. In general the Genie is very good in situations when one is communicating with one single person. The lapel microphone is small and easily worn and is more convenient than some of the transmitters which can be difficult to attach to clothing. The transmitter and receiver are both small enough to fit in the pocket easily but there are accessories like pouches, shoulder straps and belts for convenience. Both the transmitter and receiver were slightly bigger than some of the other listeners but I formed the impression that the Genie was a robust and highly reliable listener with very good battery reserves and well worth the slight additional bulk.

In this respect the Genie is designed for communicating with one single person – on a guided tour of a public building – in a lecture in a hall or theatre with the lecturer or guide wearing the transmitter. It is also invaluable when walking or dining with a single companion who would of course wear the transmitter.
It is also good in for a group meeting like a coffee morning or a conference with up to 8 to 10 people in a single room – provided of course there is a convenient table on which to put the conference microphone.

The battery capacity of the Genie was remarkable.  Connevans boast that it can be regularly topped up and does not have the drawback of capacity loss if topped frequently. Even when the battery signal was getting low I used the Genie on a 3 hour walk and there appeared to be still plenty of power left when I got back.

There is no directional microphone on the transmitter and this is a slight drawback in certain situations when one is in company with two or three people or even at a meeting when there are speakers in different parts of the room. Nor is there an internal microphone on the receiver. This means that one listens to one source at all times. To hear someone sitting close to the person with the receiver the switch on the hearing aid would need adjusting.

The Genie was simple to use and would therefore be suitable for elderly users who need a simple instrument which is reliable in use. I had one instance of failure of communication between the transmitter and the receiver.  I tried to resolve it with the manual but failed and I resorted to a phone call to Connevans who dealt with it swiftly and easily.  Connevans provide a very good backup service.

Summary

I thoroughly recommend the Genie as a highly reliable and life enhancing instrument for listening particularly in those circumstances I have described. It is very adaptable to different listening scenes, from watching the television, hearing while driving the car, attending lectures and guided tours and even on coffee mornings.  It is a little more expensive than some other devices but it is reliable and robust and easy to use for those who have a moderately severe hearing loss

For more information about the FM Genie why not visit the Connevans website by clicking this link?
www.DeafEqipment.co.uk who supply the FM Genie