Hearing aids have come a long way over the last 10-15 years.
As each year passes by, hearing aids become smaller, more discreet, and more effective at enhancing sound. They also come equipped with a number of innovative features, including the ability to connect to other gadgets wirelessly, which is what we’ll be reviewing today.
Here’s how wireless technology works and how you can reap the benefits.
How Bluetooth technology works
Bluetooth is a standardized wireless communication platform that makes it possible for devices to communicate with each other through radio waves. A large variety of products incorporates Bluetooth technology, including smartphones, portable music players, tablets, computers, and TVs.
Have you ever watched someone speaking on their phone using a hands-free headset? Or someone receiving a call from their cell phone using their car audio system? That’s Bluetooth technology in action.
So can you buy a Bluetooth hearing aid?
Yes and no. Bluetooth technology calls for a greater power supply than can be granted by hearing aid batteries. But there is a workaround, and in fact, there are two.
Your options for wireless hearing aids
Hearing aids do not integrate Bluetooth technology directly because, as we stated, it would consume the battery too rapidly. Thankfully, manufacturers solved this problem a while ago by creating an intermediary between the hearing aid and the Bluetooth device (phone, television, computer, etc.). This intermediary is called either a “streamer” or an “assistive listening device.”
Here’s how it works: your Bluetooth equipped cell phone communicates wirelessly to the streamer which then sends the signal to the hearing aid without depleting the hearing aid battery.
So, if you’re shopping around for wireless hearing aids, you have two principal options:
- Hearing aids paired with an assistive listening device – as described above, the assistive listening device, or streamer, which is a small hand-held device, acts as an intermediary between the Bluetooth device and the hearing aid.
- Made for iPhone hearing aids – some hearing aid models are designated as “Made for iPhone,” which basically means that the iPhone acts as the streamer itself, communicating directly with the hearing aid.
Your hearing care expert can help you decide which choice is right for you.
The benefits of wireless hearing aids
Whether using a streamer or a Made for iPhone hearing aid, there are several benefits to going wireless, including:
- Improved music listening experience – imagine streaming your favorite music from your iPhone or handheld music player directly to your hearing aids. By doing this, your hearing aids become a pair of high-quality earbuds.
- Hands-free phone calls – answering calls without the use of your hands is more convenient and having the sound stream directly to the hearing aids provides enhanced sound quality.
- Clearer TV sound – streaming the audio from your computer, tablet, or television leads to clearer sound and enhanced speech comprehension from movies and TV shows. You’ll never struggle to follow dialogue again.
- Enhanced gym experience – listen to your favorite podcasts or music at the gym without any wires getting in the way.
- Personalized control – subtly adjust your hearing aid volume and settings by using your wireless remote control or iPhone (with compatible models).
- Connection to hearing loops – hearing aids equipped with telecoils can connect with hearing loop systems in public venues like auditoriums, movie theaters, and courts.
Considering upgrading to wireless hearing aids? Contact us today for more info.