Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Hearing aid technology is always evolving. In addition to artificial intelligence and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, it is becoming increasingly important to have access to sound from our smartphones, computers, and video players. Whether it’s videoconferencing, listening to the audio on a video lesson, or enjoying music, our ability to stream audio from smartphones is an integral part of modern life.
That has long been possible with Bluetooth and wireless headphones, and now the same benefits are being enjoyed by hearing aid wearers through Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids.
What exactly is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless communication platform that permits data transfer between two or more electronic devices. The technology uses high-frequency radio waves to relay data without interruption. A wide range of products has been developed which integrate Bluetooth connectivity, including mobile phones, music players, computers, tablets, cars, and televisions.
One of Bluetooth’s best advantages is that it has low power consumption, but it still has a significant drain on battery-operated devices, such as hearing aids. But Bluetooth technology, like everything else, is continuously evolving, and it is hoped that battery drain will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. It’s also a secure communication process. This is because paired devices are continuously changing the frequency they use thousands of times a second!
Bluetooth & Hearing Aids
The first Bluetooth hearing aid, the Starkey ELI, launched six years after the first Bluetooth compatible consumer products. In the years that followed, accurate Bluetooth hearing aids emerged. Still, almost all of them required a third system in addition to their smartphone and hearing aid: a portable streamer that connected the two devices.
Using Bluetooth low-energy technology, hearing aid manufacturers then started releasing Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids directly connected to your devices (without the need for a streamer, providing a seamless link to your mobile device). ReSound LiNX, the first real, stand-alone Bluetooth hearing aid, was launched in 2014.
In the years to come, nearly every major hearing aid company followed suit and launched a Made for iPhone hearing aid. By 2016 the word ‘Made for iPhone hearing aid’ had become ubiquitous in the industry.
However, highly-sought ‘Made for iPhone’ hearing aids had become, as Android controls nearly 75 percent of all smartphones worldwide, many users of hearing aids were still left without direct communication.
This is changing slowly as more hearing aids on the market feature a direct connection with Android-based phones. For instance, the Phonak Marvel introduction in 2018 was the first hearing aid capable of connecting to any smartphone. As the only hearing aid of its kind on the market, the Phonak Marvel rapidly grew into a bestseller. Since then, the Phonak Marvel has been joined by the ReSound Link Quattro and the Starkey Livio AI as a special class of hearing aid that can connect to just about any phone.
Advantages of Bluetooth Technology
- Convenience: You no longer need to remove your hearing aids to listen to music, watch TV, or use your phone. While you will need a fully direct connected hearing aid to realize the full benefits of streaming, Bluetooth provides you with a unique listening experience.
- Better sound: One of the key benefits is that Bluetooth technology allows you to achieve a much higher sound quality when using your hearing aids with other mobile devices.
- App support: If you are connected to a phone, it will also inform you of the amount of battery life left in your hearing aids. You can use your smartphone to adjust your hearing aids volume, programs, and other remote control options.
If you’re a tech-savvy user of hearing aids and enjoy streaming music, telephone calls, television, and movies, Bluetooth hearing aids are a perfect match. As technology advances, so are hearing aids. There are now a variety of Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids and allow wireless communication between different devices. Contact us to find the right one for you.