The Smartlink for me is really cool. I can connect it with my hearing aid on the program, which makes it possible to hear my co-workers a little better than without it. Mind you, I can have conversations without it, but the Smartlink makes my work day so much easier being able to hear my co-workers better when having conversations with them. It also makes it a bit easier to follow when there is a bigger group meeting. I just place the Smartlink on the table in front of me and kindly ask my co-workers to only speak once at the time, so I can follow the meeting as well.
Now that I am out of work, the Smartlink is good for another use and one I use a lot. It can be connected to the television and thus the sound goes directly to my hearing aid, instead of out of the speakers. I connect it with this Walkman plug and on the plus side; the neighbors can’t hear whenever I have the television on. Smart. Or even better, I connect it to my cell phone, music stereo, or laptop when listening to the music. I also have this MP3 player which I’ll turn on and leave in my bag while I stroll outside in the good weather and no-one knows I’m listening to the music because there is no wire from my hearing aid to the MP3 player. Unlike with normal hearing people you can see them wearing the earplugs or headphones and you know they are listening to the music. You’ve got to love the good sides of it sometimes; even some of my former co-workers were just a bit envious that I have this Smartlink and the options it gives me.
So the Smartlink made it possible for me to get my education to become an office assistant some 6 years ago (when I graduated), maintain a job, and be able to connect with my co-workers.
I also use it at times with my family, but that is rare as the connection is so different that the talk flows a lot more than at work or at least I feel it does.
I have had a few troubles with the Smartlink as it can be sensitive. If you drop it on the floor, a small chip inside may dislodge and could be hard to find. Since the local city hall pays for it, if it is still in warranty I can call or mail them to get it fixed. If it is approved, there is a technician in Phonak, Copenhagen that will repair it for me. Sometimes I am lucky and only need to wait a half a day, but sometimes I have had to wait like 3-4 days. Luckily, the longer wait is rare and only depends on how busy he is.
Now you can go out as an individual and get the Smartlink yourself at a hearing aid store. I prefer not to get it that way both because I can’t afford to pay for it myself plus I’ve been in the “system” for so long that I feel more comfortable doing it this way. I have always gone via the health/taxes/local city hall system we have here in Denmark. So yes, in general I don’t pay for it like you do when you buy something in a shop, but I do pay for it via my taxes. However, it doesn’t mean I pay more in taxes for that reason. There is waiting time sometimes, but given the service I get at the hospital and Phonak, I am quite happy doing it this way.
One of the funny episodes I have had with my older Smartlink (a model that looks similar to the one I have now, but not nearly as good), was when I was in Los Angeles at this fan convention of the TV show called JAG. I had bought my Smartlink with me and asked if I could put it on the stand where the guest actor would talk about their job at JAG and such. However, for some odd reason they all thought it was something they could fiddle with. (You know, when people like to have something in their hands or fingers and move it around, like a pen) They just started tapping or banging it lightly on the table, so I had to speak up from front row to stop it, as the noise hurt in my ears and told them it was like a microphone to me. The Smartlink survived the rough handling surprising well. It was a good, funny memory. :-)
If you want to know more about the Smartlink, you can check it out here:
The Quiet Photographer