What is the Roger Pen?
13th May 2020 | by Peter | posted in Hearing Solutions
You cannot write with it! But it is a sophisticated FM personal listener. I have used FM listeners since 2005, when my deafness finally overtook me, and the Roger Pen since it was launched in 2013. It is not an exaggeration to say that these devices can vastly improve your quality of life. Sometimes hearing aids are not enough.
There are two broad type of personal listener: non-FM which are much less expensive but usually quite basic compared to FM listeners like Roger. Both types have a transmitter and a receiver.
Non-FM listeners need to have the headset or neckloop (receiver) cable plugged directly into the body of the listener itself (transmitter), so you are limited by the cable as to how far the listener will reach. They do make a difference and are good value for money. Sarabec Crescendo 60 is one of the market leaders of this type of listener: https://www.sarabec.com/crescendo-60-s54/.
FM listeners like the Roger Pen are wireless and therefore can be placed at a distance from you close to the person speaking. Like all FM products there is a range limit and with the Roger pen the range is up to 10 meters from transmitter to receiver, but obstacles such as walls may reduce that.
FM listeners tend to have more features than non-FM.
Important Features of the Roger Pen
Multiple microphone settings. This helps us to listen in different situations:
Omnidirectional setting. Use this setting for small meetings and groups of people sat around a table. This setting picks up sounds 360 degrees. At a presentation, the pen can be placed on the speaker’s table whilst you sit within range in the audience.
Unidirectional setting. Is best for face-to-face, one-to-one conversations in noisey places. This setting picks up sound from the direction that the pen is pointing and subdues sound from the sides and the back.
Lanyard setting. This is for where a speaker wears the pen using the lanyard around their neck and within 8 inches from their mouth. The short speaking distance on this setting will minimise any background noise around the speaker.
Automatic mode. Cleverly, when the pen is switched on it recognises the way that it is being used: a) when it is held by the user i.e. in a face-to-face conversation it automatically adopts unidirectional setting; b) when it is placed on a table it changes to omnidirectional setting ideal for small groups; c) Lanyard mode when it is worn by a speaker. This automatic setting feature can be easily overridden so that the mic stays fixed in the same setting regardless. All three microphone settings can be fixed in this way, or easily switched back to auto mode, using the microphone button.
The pen can also recognise if it is falling so when it hits a surface you will not get a loud bang in your hearing aids.
Bluetooth. This allows the Roger Pen to pair with Bluetooth devices such as a mobile phone. You might have a Bluetooth TV or use a Bluetooth adaptor. If so, you can listen to your TV or other sound devices by pairing with your Roger Pen.
Directly connecting to other devices. Using the cube shaped docking station, you can connect and hear sound from a range of devices: corded telephone, laptop, tablet, radio and TV. Also, the Roger pen comes with a mini USB to 3.5mm plug audio cable that can be used for connecting to a device that has a 3.5mm headset socket.
The Roger pen is the microphone or transmitter; all personal listeners need a receiver so you can hear the sound. The most popular Roger receiver is the MyLink – see image.
Roger MyLink. As with all Roger receivers this is easily synchronised, on first use, with the pen receiver using the connect button on the side of the pen. On successful connection there is an audible signal (in your hearing aids) to confirm that and from that point on, when both devices are switched on, the MyLink will automatically connect to the Roger pen via FM. The MyLink works like any neckloop i.e. worn round the neck. To receive the sound from the MyLink into your hearing aids the loop program (or T setting as it is sometimes called) needs to be programmed on your aids by your audiologist and then switched on by you when required.
Direct Input. This means the sound goes directly into your hearing aids using tiny plug-in receivers called Roger x receivers. This is a much more expensive option than the MyLink and requires that your hearing aids are capable of having radio programs enabled by your audiologist. Also, a small attachment called a shoe needs to be fitted to your hearing aid. The shoe is specific to the make and model of hearing aid and replaces the existing battery compartment with another that has a socket to accommodate the Roger x plug-in receivers.
Some Phonak hearing aids will work with what is called an integrated receiver.
Next, see our article on using the Roger pen.