In the past, hearing aids could limit a wearer from many types of personal audio devices, such as mobile phones and music players. If this is what you think of when you imagine using hearing aids, you are thinking of the hearing aids of the past!
Nowadays, hearing aids are wireless and feature sophisticated technology that makes using hearing aids easier and more enjoyable than ever before. This advanced technology enables your hearing aids to easily connect to personal electronic devices and to stream audio from multiple devices directly to your hearing aids.
The technology that enables wireless hearing aids to stream sound is called Bluetooth. Bluetooth technology was first developed through a collaboration of leading technology firms in 1994, so it has already been tested and refined for many years. It is a wireless communication platform that allows data to be transferred between two or more electronic devices. Bluetooth uses radio waves set to a high frequency to transmit data without interference or security risks.
Hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can connect directly to other devices to stream audio to your hearing aids. Apple has created and patented specific Bluetooth connectivity, called Made for iPhone. This allows certain hearing aids to communicate directly with the iOS platform that runs Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices. The Made for iPhone technology is specifically designed to allow a direct connection for the devices without extreme stress on battery power. Like Apple, Google is currently developing a standard hearing aid Bluetooth connectivity for Android devices.
If you do not use Apple devices or your hearing aids are not Made for iPhone, don’t worry! There are simple ways to work around this. If your hearing aids do not feature a way to directly connect to your mobile device, you can use a compatible assistive listening device called a streamer. Streamers are small and can be worn around your neck or placed in your pocket for hands-free use. The streamer provides a communication link between the wireless technology in the hearing aids and any Bluetooth-enabled device. This allows the device, like a mobile phone, to send signals to your hearing aids.
The benefits of wireless hearing aid technology are numerous. Here are a few of the benefits of using Bluetooth technology with wireless hearing aids:
The audio signal sent to your hearing aids can be matched to your hearing aids’ personalized settings. If you are listening to music with a device, your hearing aids will become your wireless earbuds. You can also stream calls from your mobile phone, making it much easier to hear conversations without holding a phone up to your hearing aids.
In many cases, a streamer can be paired with multiple devices. You can then easily switch between devices, such as switching between your tablet and your mobile phone to take calls.
The streamer commonly includes controls for you to change the volume or program of your hearing aid directly from the streamer. This can be especially helpful if your hearing aids are too small to manually control.
Bluetooth is an electronics industry-standard protocol. This allows uniformity in the way devices work and connects with your hearing aids. It is also a secure way to transmit data.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of wireless hearing aids, or if you believe you may benefit from wireless hearing aids, we encourage you to contact our hearing practice today.