Developers of hearing aids are always looking for new and improved ways of making hearing aids better and more useful in people’s lives. Wireless connectivity, such as Bluetooth, allows individuals to connect their hearing aids to various devices for improved sound quality directly from the sound source.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids can be wirelessly connected via wireless streaming accessory to devices such as televisions, cell phones, tablets and FM systems. Bluetooth technology works similarly to wireless internet, where sounds are sent through an invisible electronic signal.
The Bluetooth feature is compatible in most styles of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE), mini BTE, in-the-ear (ITE) and in-the-canal (ITC) styles, though each manufacturer provides a different array of products and accessories that are Bluetooth-enabled.
As with any hearing aid, Bluetooth-compatible devices have some benefits and downsides. One benefit is that using wireless technology allows you to obtain a better sound quality when using your hearing aids with your favorite electronic devices. Think of them as a wireless pair of headphones: they are convenient and cordless for high-quality sound.
Wireless connectivity makes it easier for hearing aid users to utilize the various technologies in their everyday lives. Making phone calls, using a tablet or computer, listening to music and even watching TV at home can be an enjoyable experience for the tech-savvy user. Bluetooth allows for more custom control when it comes to volumes of different technologies and can be adjusted through hearing aids or an app.
When Bluetooth-compatible devices are streaming to the hearing aid, the microphone inside the hearing aid may be turned off or turned down, depending on the hearing aid you are using and the way it is set by your hearing specialist. This can have its disadvantages, as you won’t have amplification of other environmental sounds around you during use if you prefer that.
Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids do require some simple set up steps before they can work with electronic devices, so you may require some help from your hearing healthcare professional or technology-savvy child. The transmitter converts the Bluetooth signal from the electronic device or mobile phone to a wireless signal that is understood by the hearing aid. Being out of range of the transmitter means that the Bluetooth signal will not reach the hearing aids.
Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids and accessories do come at a cost and may not be worth it for someone who doesn’t regularly use a cell phone, MP3 player, computer or TV.
If you are interested in Bluetooth-compatible hearing devices, talk to your hearing specialist about all of your options. Let them know of the listening situations you are in each day and the types of devices you use throughout the day. Ask to see a hearing aid and the streaming device, if required, and experience a real-time demonstration. Talk to your hearing specialist about how Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids could make your daily interactions with your world a better experience.