Clarity XLC7BT Phone
Reviewed by: Alyssa Samosh
Date: May 25, 2020
Product Category: Assistive Listening Devices
The Long-Awaited Landline for Marvel Hearing Aids
Whether it is just in case of an emergency, nostalgia for the phone number you have had for years, or because you have spotty cell phone service, many people still have a landline at home.
As most hearing aid users will know, hearing well on a telephone can be a challenge. When the voice of the person you are speaking with is sent directly to both hearing aids via Bluetooth, instead of using the speaker of the phone handset, the hearing aid wearer can hear the phone conversation clearly in both ears. This drastically improves speech understanding and reduces listening effort.
For months we have seen the success of direct streaming for phone calls with our clients who have connected their Marvel hearing aids to their cell phones. Many of these people were not able to converse on the phone for years! However, you might be someone who does not have a cell phone and was disappointed that your Phonak Marvel hearing aids were not compatible with your landline… that is, until now!
The new Clarity XLC7BT cordless phone is the only landline phone we have found that offers a seamless two-way Bluetooth connection. This allows the phone conversation to be heard clearly in both hearing ears without the need of adding an extra accessory or manually changing programs. The hearing aid wearer will now have hands-free calling, because their voice will be picked up by the hearing aid. For incoming calls, the hearing aid push button can be used to answer the call straight to the hearing aids. For outgoing calls, simply push just one button after dialling the number. Once the phone is paired to the hearing aids, it will automatically connect when you are within range. Don’t worry, it is easy to switch the call between the hearing aids and the phone handset, so this phone can be used by everyone in the household.
This phone also has many of the great features that other Clarity phone models deliver, such as an extra loud ringer that flashes and large backlit buttons. It also has Talking Caller ID, so whoever is calling will be announced to you, as well as Talking Numeric Keypad, which verbally repeats the numbers as you press them. Both of these features are available in English and French.
With all the great benefits this phone provides, we did also find a few minor challenges, but don’t worry, most of these can be overcome. The most minor fault is that each time you dial an outgoing number, you need to select the hearing aids as the headset. This is very easy to do, involving pushing just one button, and can be done any time, even if you are in mid-conversation. Furthermore, the phone’s volume wheel and Boost button, which you would normally adjust to increase the volume of the call, do not work when the hearing aids are connected. Instead, you can adjust the volume by using the buttons on the hearing aid itself, or with your Phonak RemoteControl. Another potential issue is that although this is a cordless phone system, the connection works best within five meters of the phone base. If you walk farther away while on the phone, both people on the line will hear static, so make sure to stay close to the base. The final challenge with this phone is that although the Marvel hearing aids can be paired to two Bluetooth devices, it is not possible to use another Bluetooth connection with the aids if the phone is within range. Because of this, it is best to make the commitment to either the cell phone or landline world and not try to incorporate both modes at the same time.
Overall, with the Clarity XLC7BT there is no reason for you to give up your landline if that is your preferred way to stay in contact with loved ones and friends.
About the Reviewer: Alyssa Samosh is an audiologist at Davidson Hearing Aid Centres, working at our Ottawa clinic. Over the last year, she has tested out dozens of different amplified phones, and is our resident expert in Bluetooth connected assistive listening devices.