Friday, November 26, 2010

Cochlear Bone Connected to the Cell Phone

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Anniversary after anniversary since my miraculous Cochlear Implant surgery, I’ve been trying to find a way to connect my CI personal audio cable to my cell phone. When I try to listen to a CD or tape via my direct connect audio cable, what I hear is my best experience with sound, because the signal is clean, unpolluted electronics, without any airborne sound waves bouncing around or mixing in background noise. I considered cutting and splicing cables but was afraid I might make a mistake and ruin my CI personal audio cable, which listed for $130 in the catalog that came with my implant four years ago, back when I had a job, insurance coverage, and lawyers at Let them Hear Foundation barking and biting on my behalf, because the insurance company excluded anything that would fix hearing loss.

My old cell phone provides a 2.5mm headset jack; the connector of my CI personal audio cable jack is 3.5mm, standard for portable audio products like CD and tape players, as well as radios. I bought a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter plug at Radio Shack. Great fit. No sound. I got in touch with a guy at T-Mobile, where I used to work, and discussed this with him. He explained that an adapter was a waste of time and money, because the mismatch is more than just the matter of size. Anyway, he says the problem has pretty much gone out of date, as of the last year or so. He said the 3.5mm connector used by audio products like portable cd players and other popular demand electronics is now commonly provided as the output jack for the newer cell phones.

"Put your old cell phone in your closet, behind the polyester leisure-suits," he said.

We immediately tested my 3.5mm direct connect personal audio cable for my Cochlear Implant hearing device with his new cell phone, a Nokia 5230 Nuron. Double thumbs up. It worked like a champ. T-Mobile sells the Nokia 5230 Nuron for $149, not including service plan. A contract plan will always get you a discount on any new phone. I talked to the Nokia factory, and according to them, the following Nokia models also use 3.5mm connector jacks: N8, N97 Mini, X6, E72, 5730, E5, and 5530. Then I checked with AT&T, and the same was true with many of their newer phones from various manufacturers. The AT&T list: HTC Surround, LG Encore, LG Incite CT810, LG Neon II, LG Prime GS390, LP Quantum, Motorola Backflip, Motorola Bravo, Motorola EM330/EM28, Motorola Flipout, Motorola Flipside, Motorola Karma QA1.

I hunted for a bargain and found an AT&T Go Phone packet at Walmart for $79, a Nokia C3 smartphone with QWERTY keyboard and $30 credit balance to open the account. I picked the pre-paid plan that charges $2 per day of use, only on the days you actually use it, and includes unlimited calls and texts. So if I use it only one day a month, it costs me only $2, even if I talk for hours, five days during the month, $10. Read the fine print, of course. The Nokia C3 is a Smartphone, smarter than me. As I explored the touch screen icons, I unintentionally nickel and dimed my free start-up balance of $30 down to $27.47. Internet whistles and bells all cost extra. Nonetheless, I made basic cell phone voice calls and texting tests the rest of the afternoon with no further charges.

Check out the specifications on the C3 at . This is the critical information: 3.5 mm stereo headphone plug. Even the vendors get confused about 2.5mm plugs, 3.5mm plugs, headphones, headsets, hearing aid compatible, and often can not tell one from the other.

Here is a very useful website where you can search by vendor, type of phone, 3.5mm jack, etc. It is called Phonescoop at

Phonescoop listed these cellphones with 3.5mm jacks:

Alltel/Sprint -- Apple iPhone 3GS, Apple iPhone 4.
AT&T – HP Ipaq Glisten, HP Palm Pixi / Pixi PLUS (CDMA), HP Palm Pixi Plus (GSM), HP Palm Pre Plus (GSM), HP Palm Treo Pro (CDMA), HCT Aria.
Sprint – HTC Desire (CDMA).
Sprint/Verizon -- HTC Droid Incredible.
T-Mobile – HTC EVO 4G, HTC G2, HTC HD2, HTC HD7, HTC Hero (CDMA), HTC Imagio.
U.S. Cellular – HTC myTouch 3G/Magic.
Verizon – HTC myTouch 3G Slide, HTC myTouch 4G.


Tina said...

emenaI listen to WCPE all-classical on my computer. Radio stations that stream on the computer are perfectly clear--no static. Had to update my Windows Media Player to get the best sound. My computer has a place where a headset can be plugged in. Maybe you can enjoy the radio stations that are streaming online by plugging into your computer. WCPE plays opera every Thurs nite. I also listen to WGBH Boston and BBC. Just a thought.

Carl Bergman said...


Congratulations on a perfect christmas present to yourself. I may just call you to wish you a hearty Mazol Tov as well!

ABY said...

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arshad said...

Hi its really very nice blog,very useful information..Mobiles

Lorraine said...

Hi Bill, WOW this is HUGE for you and others to enjoy more sounds!!! I'm sure I'll hear more about it in a few weeks. I can't imagine how wonderful it is to hear your favorite music and voices again.


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