Monday, January 05, 2009

What is an FM System? How Does It Work?

Off and on I talk about my FM system, a Phonak Zoomlink. It has the microphone and settings (surround sound or omni-sound, partial focus, and very focused (directly aimed at the speaker’s voice or object I want to listen to). This new receiver is custom-made for the Cochlear Freedom. It really puts the sound of the speaker, who may be thirty feet away, directly in my ear, as though as if I am standing right next to him/her. It is an assistive listening device (ALD).

Because I use an FM system, I know how it works and forget that some people don’t have a clue to what I am talking about, even those who have hearing loss and never used it.

Let’s get “clueful,” shall we?

(Source: )

An FM system is a wireless system that transmits sound directly from source to ear. It consists of an FM microphone and one or two FM receivers. (This just means some people just use one receiver for one or two-one for each hearing aid/cochlear implant processor.)

The FM microphone is actually a microphone connected to, or inside, a radio transmitter. The microphone picks up the desired signal, which is often the voice of a person that you want to listen to. The transmitter then sends it via radio waves directly to the FM receiver. The FM receiver, in turn, is connected to the hearing instrument. The sound is delivered to the hearing instrument, the hearing instrument applies the right amplification and the voice can be heard as if the talker was speaking from a very short distance.

There are also Phonak FM receivers for cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing aids. However, the basic principle remains the same.

In a previous post (Squeezed In), I talked about how I now have a new receiver for my FM transmitter(Phonak Zoomlink) because I only had one receiver for the hearind aid ear; I didn't have one for the new processor for the cochlear implant.

Here are some older posts I made about the receiver for my hearing aids:

My, What Big Ears You Have

The Boot

I hope this post gives you a much clearer understanding of how FM systems work.

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At Mon Jan 05, 09:43:00 PM , Blogger contemporary themes said...

I learn so much each time I come here. Thanks for informing us about your journey. I really am grateful to have a better understanding of what you experience with your CI and other devices.

At Tue Jan 06, 08:56:00 AM , Blogger hillgrandmom said...

Happy New Year Shari!
Thought the FM hearing aid probably worked a bit like FM radio stations. seems like that.

At Tue Jan 06, 07:05:00 PM , Blogger Beth said...

An ongoing education at your blog...

Belated Happy New Year to you!

At Wed Jan 07, 03:05:00 PM , Blogger * said...

Reminds me of a radio!
I recently read about the FM system on another blog, now I think I finally have a better understanding of it.

Happy New Year.

At Wed Jan 07, 06:00:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Shari! It's funny that after wearing hearing aids and/or CIs for over 40 years, I have never even seen an FM system nor has it been suggested I use one. They sound SO cool!! :)

So where do you use this? Is it something where you hand a person the microphone (transmitter) and ask them to talk into it? Do you take this around with you (in your purse, maybe?) and use it in various settings, like the girls' school functions?

I find this fascinating -- what an awesome help this must be!!



At Tue Jan 20, 11:00:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

FM systems are so cool. They are used in the schools, too, for "special" kids. I think my middle son has used one.

Just wanted to say hello, 'cuz I've missed you! And thanks for the funny email you sent me (about the dog)!


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