Modern hearing aids have a lot of technology stored inside them. Many people don't even realize what's available out there and how it can help them. One feature many modern hearing aids can offer you is wireless connectivity. Wireless connection means many different things, here's how it can work for you and with your hearing aid.
What Wireless Technology Offers
New hearing aid technology offers various innovative ways for you interact with other electronics. For example, you can set up a receiver that transmits sound directly to the hearing aid from another source. That source can be a television, radio, or even your smartphone. Most of this happens between a combination of Bluetooth and radio transmission.
Cellphone to hearing aid – Many of the wireless features associated with hearing aids focus on allowing you to use your phone through Bluetooth. They also help to facilitate hands-free phone operation. They can allow your hearing aid to act as both a receiver and microphone so you can talk and hear.
Television to hearing aid – It's possible to wirelessly control the volume of the television through the hearing aid. Of course, you're not really controlling the televisions volume, but the volume of the television sound signal streaming wirelessly to the hearing aid.
MP3 player to hearing aid – You can wirelessly stream media from an mp3 player to the hearing aid. This is a boon especially for those that like to go jogging or do other things while listening to audio-- you won't need a separate pair of earphones.
Streaming to hearing aid – If you can stream it, then you can likely listen to it through your hearing aid. This goes for audio from stereos, computers, car radios, and anything else that can transmit sound.
All of these things are possible but not all hearing aid solutions do them all in precisely the same way. There are a multitude of third party companies that offer accessories to facilitate wireless sound transmission.
How It All Works
While there are so many options, there are also several different ways the process can work. In most cases, wireless connectivity involves the following:
The hearing aid(s) – Wireless connectivity starts with digital hearing aids. The telecoil in the hearing aid is the final piece of the wireless chain. But it needs signals it can recognize, such as FM or electromagnetic fields.
Receivers and streamers – These devices pick up the signals from external devices, convert them, then stream them to the hearing aids. There is some technology that will allow a direct connection from an external device to some specifically branded hearing aids, but that isn't currently widespread.
Receiver technology can vary. There are external receivers, but there are also embedded ones. There are even ones you can wear in the form of a necklace or earring.
You use the receiver to pick up a signal and translate it much as you do with a streamer. However, when speaking of streamers, it's almost always Bluetooth connectivity rather than any other kind of wireless streaming.
Speak to Your Audiologist
The schemes for transmitting wirelessly vary widely. Many manufacturers have whole proprietary setups involving multiple pieces of equipment. Some offer apps and remotes that can control some of the digital aspects of the hearing aid along with whatever's streaming.
The most important thing you can do is let your audiologist, like those at Audiologists Northwest, know you want digital hearing aids, and specifically mention you need wireless connectivity. They can help you pick out an initial setup.