Lots of people think they need the latest bells and whistles on everything from their smartphones to their computers, to their cars. So why should hearing aids be any different? And if you want the latest hearing aids, what’s one of the top features you should consider?
According to our doctoral-level audiologists, one of the top features many people now enjoy on the latest hearing aids is Bluetooth connectivity.
Bluetooth connectivity makes it possible for you to stream music or sound directly to your hearing aids. You also can stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids, a feature that many people also find convenient. But what is Bluetooth, and why do you want it?
Originally, Bluetooth technology was developed to help us get rid of all the cables connected from our computer to our keyboard, mouse, and monitor. That’s why instead of relying on cables, one Bluetooth-equipped device can send a wireless signal to another Bluetooth-equipped device, and the signal can be interpreted immediately. This gives the user acceptable functionality without having to worry about plugging in all their devices or fighting with a twisted tangle of wires and cables.
Many Bluetooth devices have a range of about 30 to 40 feet. Occasionally, you may be able to find a Bluetooth device with a 100-foot range.
When you’re using a Bluetooth device, say your smartphone that is Bluetooth equipped, and it connects to your computer speakers, you can hear music or conversations through your computer speakers.
The same thing happens with hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology. When connected to your smartphone, you can stream phone calls directly to your ears, or music that you’ve downloaded to your phone.
This allows for convenient communication, as well as hearing in both ears, which results in a much clearer signal than when using a phone on one ear.
Some hearing aid manufacturers now have hearing aids that utilize Bluetooth technology compatible with Apple and Android phones. The more sophisticated hearing aids have a streamer built in, so no additional devices, streamers or wires are necessary in order to connect from your hearing aids to other devices, like your phone. All you have to do is pair the devices if they are compatible.
But what if you have hearing aids and they aren’t Bluetooth compatible, or they’re older? You can still use the same technology if you purchase an assistive listening device called a streamer. The streamer, which may look like a small device on a lanyard that’s worn around your neck or that you can place in your pocket, provides a communication link between the wireless technology in the hearing aids and Bluetooth-enabled devices, and it’s hands-free.
You also can pair several devices to one streamer, like your cell phones and your iPad. If you receive a call while listening to a podcast, for example, the streamer can pause the audio so you can receive the incoming call.
If you’re uncomfortable with learning the new technology or have questions about how this technology may help you, the doctoral-level audiologists at Associated Audiologists will help walk you through the initial set-up and will show you how to pair your new hearing aids with other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
There are a number of other technological innovations that the latest hearing aids may feature, including rechargeable batteries, special accessories, applications that allow you to control a variety of settings from your phone, and directional microphones. You may benefit from one or all of these new features.
To learn more about the latest hearing aid options and how this technology can improve your listening enjoyment, schedule an appointment with a doctoral-level audiologist.