Updated: Feb 27, 2021
I have now been using my two Marvel processors for a week and have so much I am loving! To everyone's surprise, the day after I had my audiology appointment to get my Marvel processors turned on and programmed, I had already emailed my audiologist for a second appointment to get some minor changes. I had AutoSense programmed as an additional program slot in my processor and within a day I preferred AutoSense and wanted it set up as my default program. This is a big deal for me as I am notorious for turning down any and all software upgrades. I love ClearVoice, but other than that I’ve not liked any other software upgrade, except for now with AutoSense.
Choosing my processor color was something that took me several months, I’d been thinking about this for quite some time. Ultimately, I settled on white for a variety of reasons. Previously, I had a blue Q70 and Q90 processor for a total of 8 years, I loved my blue ears and embraced and loved how they stood out. I loved that others noticed my ears and because they noticed it gave them an opportunity to ask me questions and it gave me an opportunity to educate others, something I am very passionate about. I decided on white, not because I wanted ears that would easily be hidden; not because I wanted something that would “blend in”. I chose white because I wanted something that would stand out in a different way that my blue ears had for the previous 8 years. I wanted something that stood out, professionally. At this point I am a year away from my student teaching semester, after which I will graduate from NAU and be in the schools as an Elementary/Special Education teacher. It’s important to me that as an educator my ears still stand out. I want to step into my classroom and have my future students notice my ears and ask my questions. Regardless of whether or not my ears are the conversation starter, I will take the time to teach my students about my deafness. The color of my ears is not going to change my desire and passion for having my ears stand out and for educating others.
Now for the fun part…. Some Marvel features:
Processor Size and Curve
The processor as a whole feels smaller, lighter and much more snug than the Q90 processor, the curved design really helps with this. I absolutely love how this processor fits now with the curve, I also feel like the curve makes the already smaller batteries seem even smaller. I was so used to my processor with the battery going down to the bottom of my earlobe, but as you can see that's no longer the case!
I chose 2 size small batteries and 3 medium batteries. At first I thought I'd regret picking the small batteries because I never used my Q90 110 batteries due to the very short life span. I always had to change my batteries during the day when using the Q90 110 batteries, but to my surprise the Marvel small batteries lasted me 10 hours and the medium batteries 17 hours! Overall I'm very pleased with the battery life and am not disappointed in the small batteries as I thought I might be.
Battery comparison photos: The first photo has a small battery, the second a medium battery, and the third photo shows the size of each battery detached from the processor.
It’s no secret that I am an avid streaming junkie when it comes to my music. It’s been a big deal for me to have integrated Bluetooth capabilities within the Marvel processor. Connectivity is super easy and very painless, which I appreciate as I stream a few too many hours, every day. I use Bluetooth for music, and for TV shows, and for… you get the idea! Some advice and things to be aware of for using Bluetooth capabilities with Marvel: In your phone's Bluetooth settings, you will see a LE connection for each ear if you are also utilizing the AB Remote app. LE stands for Low Energy, this is the connection that allows you to connect to the AB Remote app, and this is a connection that is done through the app, not through your phone settings. The connection for streaming is separate from the LE connection, for streaming, you will go into the phone's Bluetooth settings and will then pair your ear from there. Just one ear (your primary Bluetooth ear) will show up for pairing. In my case, you can see that I’ve named my ears “Righty Tighty” and “Lefty Loosey”. I have a LE connection for each ear as I do utilize the app, then I also have an additional connection for “Righty Tighty” - it’s this last connection that allows me to stream music or whatever it may be. A pro tip for you: if you are streaming and having some issues and trying to disconnect your devices to reconnect and resolve the issue, “Righty Tighty” can be disconnected from your phone's settings, but both LE connections have to be disconnected and reconnected within the AB Remote app.
Just like with Bluetooth, there is also integrated Roger capabilities. No more need for a Roger 17 boot to go on my Q90 170 batteries to make them even bigger (same with the CI Connect, no need for any boots)! With classes being online, I have found that I am actually using my Roger Select more than I would while we were in person. I use my Roger now to stream all of my classes, this has really helped with the quality of sound during my classes as well as being able to hear these classes well while in the dorms with competing noises. I prefer using Roger streaming for classes over Bluetooth streaming for one reason - with the AB Remote app, when using Roger you can change your mixing ratios to either hear more environmental sounds and less from Roger, or to hear more from Roger and less from your environment. I like to change the audio mixing so I hear less from my environment, especially if my roommates have classes as well and we’re all competing over one another. When using the Bluetooth capabilities in a Zoom class, you can change the mixing ratio before you connect audio to your Zoom class, but once you are in the Zoom class you cannot change the mixing unless you unpair your ear from Zoom then change the mixing and repair it. This is due to the fact that when in Zoom, like with phone calls, you are not only using Bluetooth to hear Zoom, but you are also using a microphone to pick up your voice for Zoom. This is what limits the audio mixing abilities, and because of that I prefer using my Roger so I can change the ratios in the moment as my surroundings get louder.
The Activity Kit (waterproof case for Marvel) is much smaller than the AquaCase I used with my Q90 processor. There are so many things I love about this kit, where to start?! First of all, it is much smaller and lighter, I can clip it to my shirt and it doesn’t weigh or pull down my top. The case itself is a battery which means no more forgetting my 110 battery which allowed me to use my AquaCase, since I always lived in the 170 batteries, I’d often forget the smaller battery and thus wouldn’t be able to use my AquaCase. You do have to remove the T-mic to get the processor in the Activity Kit, this does not bother me although I will say, don’t take the T-mic pin all the way out when you take the T-mic off. This will make it much easier on you, you don’t need to go through the hassle of potentially losing and trying to find that tiny little pin. Since Roger and Bluetooth are integrated into the processor, you could also utilize Roger and Bluetooth capabilities while using this case. And last but not least, the new aqua headpiece is significantly thinner, a big win!
5 pictures comparing the Q series AquaCase to the new Marvel Activity Kit
The AB Remote App
And lastly, the AB Remote app, there are so many useful features on the AB Remote app which I have been utilizing and loving! In the last week I have not been using my processor buttons to change programs since this can easily be done through the app. This is a big help as I am someone who typically does not change their program at all, until summer time when I use my waterproof ears, and always forget which program is which. In the app you can see the name of all your programs and switch your program here. Similarly, you can also change volume levels for each ear (or both ears at the same time) while in the app. Other features include seeing your battery level, average CI use time, a device check where you can check that your CI is working, and audio mixing as mentioned with Roger and Bluetooth. I have also been enjoying the ability to see my battery life in the app as I get battery anxiety as a part of a nervous habit of mine. And one last feature I enjoy but is only relevant to my left ear - is progressive programs. You are now able to set up progressive programs in a way that they do not take up any of your program slots. These progressive programs can be accessed and changed in the app as well!