Ring, Ring: Pick Up the New Clarity XLC8 Phone
If you saw our Clarity XLC7BT blog post a few months ago, you know that we were absolutely thrilled to finally find a phone compatible with Phonak’s Marvel and Paradise Bluetooth hearing aids. Well, we now have more exciting news to share: Clarity has created an even better phone, the new Clarity XLC8. This phone has many of the great features we love from past Clarity phones – excellent amplification, large buttons, adjustable ring tones, talking caller ID – and now with the addition of three new features:
- Slow Talk – How many times has someone left you a message in which they spoke so quickly that you had to replay their message at least 3 times to write down the details? With the new slow talk feature, you can slow down the speed of the caller’s voice, making it easier to understand. What is incredible about this feature is that it is not just for voice messages – you can also literally slow down a caller’s voice in real time during a phone call!
- Answering Machine – This feature is different from voicemails, which are a service provided by your telephone carrier. The main difference with the new answering machine feature is that you don’t need to dial in to obtain your messages. Instead, they are stored directly in the phone. This also means that you don’t need to pay additional monthly fees for voicemails from your home phone provider… Hello extra money in the bank!
- Call Block – When the National Do Not Call list came out a few years ago to put a stop to unwanted telemarketing calls, we were all thrilled to avoid getting calls asking us to subscribe to random magazines or sign up for travel packages with airlines we had never heard of before. However, somehow many of these calls still make their way through to us anyways. The Clarity XLC8 new call block button does exactly what you would expect it to do: It blocks unwanted phone numbers from calling you again. However, you will need to be careful not to accidentally press this button and block someone unintentionally, though if that does happen you can always unblock the number in the phone’s accessible menu settings.
Another important phone feature that is not new, but should be highlighted, is the option for Bluetooth connection to your cell phone. We have had a few clients who do not have Bluetooth compatible hearing aids and struggle to hear when talking on their cell phone. With the Clarity XLC8, you can connect any model of cell phone wirelessly by Bluetooth while physically talking on the easy-to-hold and loud and clear Clarity phone handset. This option essentially gives you all of the benefits of a home phone, while using your cell service to make and receive calls. What’s amazing is that this works with or without having an actual landline phone service. So if you got rid of your landline number in the past and regret it, this makes for a great option.
During testing with the new Clarity XLC8 we verified that the Phonak Paradise hearing aids still work seamlessly to allow these hearing aid wearers to hear phone conversations clearly in both ears. This is not just a convenience – it notably improves speech understanding and reduces listening effort. The Phonak Paradise hearing aid wearer will have their voice picked up by the hearing aid, so there is no need to hold the Clarity XLC8 handset during the call. It is important to note that some of the minor issues found with the previous Clarity phone still exist, but maybe that is because they are so negligible. For example, the phone will remain paired to your Bluetooth hearing aids, but each time you dial an outgoing number, you will need to select the hearing aids as the headset. This is very easy to do, involving pushing just one button, and can even be done mid-conversation. And don’t forget that although this is a cordless phone system, the Bluetooth connection works best within five meters of the phone base or you may experience static.
This is a phone that has it all and can meet everyone’s needs, whether or not you wear hearing aids. Whether you suffer from a mild or severe hearing loss, this phone has an adjustable volume (up to 50 dB) and a good array of customizable settings. Right now during the current COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, it means so much to be able to connect and hear the voices of family and friends. The Clarity XLC8 is the best phone available for you to stay connected during these strange times and beyond.
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.