So, you are telling me that I can stream my cell phone calls directly through my hearing aids? That I can use my phone as a remote control? And, I can use Bluetooth connectivity and stream television audio? What?? Tell me more!
Please give me the 411 (number for information) on how this works and whether I may want, and benefit, from any of these additional accessories or features with my hearing aids!
Advances in hearing aid technology have yielded not only an increased quality of sound, improved hearing in background noise, and more cosmetically appealing instruments, but have also added enhanced abilities to connect to external accessories to further elevate one’s hearing experience.
The latest technology allows hearing aids to connect directly to your iPhone. This affords the user the ability to receive phone calls, and to directly stream audio (i.e. music, movies, audiobooks) into their hearing aids. We know that hearing with two ears is better than one, and this direct connection allows the user to not only listen with both ears, but listen with the advantage of their own unique prescriptive program in their hearing aids. Additional advantages include having the sound delivered straight into the ears, therefore negating the effects of outside noise, and eliminating the need to maintain/support the phone in place on the ear.
If you do not have an iPhone, have no fear. There is an available hearing aid model that utilizes technology that can receive streaming to one’s hearing aid via an android phone as well. If binaural (both ears) streaming is what you desire, there are accessories that send the sound signal directly from your android phone into your hearing aids via a small neck-loop or even a clip-on accessory, and can deliver remote control access as well. With these available accessories, you can actually receive your streaming audio signal hands-free!
There are additional exciting features to the above-mentioned cell phone hearing aid technology. Your cell phone is also able to function as a remote control, allowing you to adjust volume, change listening programs, change microphone directionality/focus, and even create and save programs you have customized for use in certain listening situations. Most people have their cell phones close by for a majority of the time, thus eliminating the need to carry an additional remote control.
If you do not carry a smart phone, small remote control units are available to provide you with additional flexibility in being able to change listening programs and make volume adjustments.
Also available are accessories that are able to send your television signal straight into your hearing aids. They are small remote control-like devices that can either be located near you, or worn to deliver the television signal directly to your hearing aids. This allows the you, as the user, to feel like you are plugged into the sound system, overcoming obstacles such as distance from the television, or bothersome room noise. Some of these systems even have an available mute button to permit the user to turn the hearing aid microphones off, and only hear what is being transmitted from the TV itself. This feature permits you to catch that insightful commentary for the game without the distraction of family cheering getting in the way!
If you have found that hearing over your home telephone presents some challenges, even with your hearing aids, various manufacturers make portable hand-held phones that are compatible with their own brand of instruments that will deliver a telephone call straight to both of your hearing instruments, again giving you that direct sound signal to both ears, and making it easier to hear your loved ones on the telephone.
Your audiologist is happy to inform you of the options available to you, and will glad to assist you in navigating through the process of choosing the right hearing aids and accessory options for you and your lifestyle. The exciting news is that there are many choices to complement your hearing aids and achieve and even better hearing experience!