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User Review of Bellman & Symfon Maxi Pro: A Useful Device for Amplifying Conversations, TV and Phone Calls

A test-drive of the Bellman & Symfon Maxipro. Here's what we liked and didn't like.
Belman Symfon Maxi Pro In Living Room

The name of the Bellman & Symfon “Maxi Pro TV listening system” (left) is a little confusing because it's actually a 3-in-1 device: it can be used for amplified TV streaming, listening to conversations, and cell phone calls. The control device (on right) for the Maxi Pro is shown in my living room where I tested it.

At the center of Bellman’s constellation of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) is the Maxi Pro, a personal amplifier that fits in the palm of your hand. It has a built-in microphone that can either be aimed toward someone speaking or simply placed on a dinner table, for example, to pick up and amplify conversations. It is sold on the Bellman and Symfon website and elsewhere online for about $300.

A key feature of the Maxi Pro is that it can act as a Bluetooth bridge to your mobile phone, TV streamer, tablet, or PC.

I am a journalist who has severe hearing loss and wears hearing aids. I am also a frequent contributor to HearingTracker and was asked to independently review the Maxi Pro.

The Maxi Pro can be used with the supplied headphones or earbuds, and it can also connect to hearing aids or cochlear implant (CI) speech processors, as long as these are equipped with a telecoil (T-coil). An optional package for $380 includes a TV streamer and a Bellman Neck Loop, which is required to access loop systems that are effective for listening in many theaters, places of worship, and other large-area venues; it’s a comfortable design that’s worn like a lanyard.

Belman Symfon Headphones Tcoil

The Maxi Pro comes with the supplied headphones (left) or with the optional Neck Loop (right) to connect with telecoil (T-toil) equipped hearing aids or cochlear implant processors.

The Maxi Pro performs very well whatever its configuration. The sound is clean and clear, and the controls are simple and easy to use.

I tried it using both the supplied headphones and through my hearing aids. My wife—who has better hearing than me—had essentially the same reactions to the system reported below using the headphones.

The Maxi Pro features six large buttons: a power on/off switch, a microphone and Bluetooth selectors, volume control (louder/quieter), and another to adjust the bass and treble pitches (frequencies). There is a gray microphone port at the top of the device, so when in the microphone mode, you point it toward the source you wish to hear. It’s that simplicity that makes it a good choice for people who not only have hearing loss but may also have mobility or dexterity issues.

One convenient feature worth noting is that, along with the two inputs, the TV streamer has a USB charging output, which allows you to charge the Maxi Pro.

Belman Symfon Maxi Pro Control And Tv Streamer

A close-up view of the Maxi Pro and TV streamer.

What I love about the Bellman & Symfon Maxi Pro

It works as advertised: provides clear amplified sound for conversations, TV, and smartphone
Pairs easily with mobile phone via Bluetooth
Good sound quality
Rechargeable: a 3-hour charge will provide up to 70 hours of use
Good for one-on-one conversations; set it on a table or wear it using the clip/lanyard
Fairly easy setup and comes with headphones or earbuds
Easy-to-use remote control with big buttons
Doesn’t squeal or produce feedback like some assistive listening devices
When on the phone, it automatically turns off the ambient microphone for easier dialog
Established and reputable company that stands behind its products

Limitations of the product

May not be suitable for more severe or profound hearing losses
Has a high nerd factor: using a headset or earbuds during conversation is awkward because some people may think you’re being rude unless you explain why you’re wearing them
Does not pair with Bluetooth wireless headphones or earbuds like Airpods
Decent noise reduction for conversations, but it does not offer noise cancellation
Bellman Symfon Maxi Pro Table Conversation

The Maxi Pro on our dining room table for amplified conversation.

Using the Maxi Pro with your mobile phone

Once the Maxi Pro is paired with a mobile phone, the user will hear the ringing of an incoming call, and all other sounds will be muted. Pressing the Bluetooth selector button will answer the call, and the caller’s voice is enhanced with few or no distracting sounds.

Again, the audio from the phone will be transmitted, either through headphones or to hearing aids or CI speech processors, via T-coil. The caller hears your voice through the Maxi Pro’s built-in microphone.

Using the Maxi Pro with the supplied TV Streamer

The Maxi Pro TV streamer has two inputs. One is for a fiber optic cable that connects to televisions that have an optical output; the other accepts the standard mini-RCA audio cables.  It’s worth noting that these inputs also allow you to plug in not just TVs but also stereo systems and PCs.

Since the sound comes directly to you via the Maxi Pro, you can adjust the volume to a level that suits you without worrying about disturbing others. For the TV, I encountered no lip-synching issues; the TV streamer is advertised as employing Qualcomm® aptX™ low-latency technology which is designed for fast transmission of signals.

This instructional video from Belman & Symfon gives you a good idea of the functionality and use of the Maxi Pro. Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions clicking on the gear icon.

Who makes Maxi Pro?

Bellman & Symfon was founded in Sweden by Peter Jungvid in 1988. He named it after the 18th-century Swedish composer Carl Michael Bellman, an apt choice since it has focused on delivering sound from the beginning. In 1997, Bellman acquired Symfon, another Swedish company that made assistive hearing technology.

Today, Bellman & Symfon manufactures a wide range of useful products for people with hearing impairment. Some are potentially lifesaving, including smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors. They can transmit alerts via flashing lights, vibrations from wearable devices, and bed shakers.

The company also makes devices that improve accessibility for people with hearing loss, such as custom doorbells and alarm clocks.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Maxi Pro delivers what it promises. It’s a great choice for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, especially seniors looking for easy-to-use assistance at a reasonable price. However, it must be noted that those with more severe hearing loss would likely need to pair it with hearing aids.

Although I’m not wild about the aesthetics of wearing headphones or a neck loop, I’d recommend this product, especially if its intended use is in your home. The Maxi Pro is a handy assistive listening device that provides clear amplified sound for conversations, TV, and smartphones, and the technology is a good value at around $300.

Digby Cook

Contributor

Digby Cook is a veteran journalist with a wide range of experience in television news, documentaries and newspapers. His interest in the science of hearing is both professional and personal.