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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Woman holding a phone connected to hearing aids

Hearing aids have advanced considerably over the last 10-15 years.

As each year passes by, hearing aids become smaller, more discreet, and more reliable at enhancing sound. They also come equipped with several innovative features, such as the capability to connect with other gadgets wirelessly, which is what we’ll be going over today.

Here’s how wireless technology works and how you can reap the benefits.

How Bluetooth technology works

Bluetooth is a standardized wireless communication platform that makes it possible for devices to interact with each other through radio waves. A wide range of products incorporates Bluetooth technology, including smartphones, portable music players, tablets, computers, and televisions.

Have you ever watched someone speaking on their phone using a hands-free wireless headset? Or someone taking a call from their cell phone using their car audio system? That’s Bluetooth technology in action.

So can you purchase a Bluetooth hearing aid?

Yes and no. Bluetooth technology demands a greater power supply than can be offered by hearing aid batteries. But there is a workaround, and in fact, there are two.

Your options for wireless hearing aids

Hearing aids do not include Bluetooth technology directly because, as we explained, it would drain the battery too rapidly. Thankfully, manufacturers solved this problem long ago by creating an intermediary between the hearing aid and the Bluetooth device (phone, TV, computer, etc.). This intermediary is called either a “streamer” or an “assistive listening device.”

Here’s how it works: your Bluetooth enabled cell phone communicates wirelessly to the streamer which then directs the signal to the hearing aid without draining the hearing aid battery.

So, if you’re looking for wireless hearing aids, you have two main options:

  1. Hearing aids paired with an assistive listening device – as identified above, the assistive listening device, or streamer, which is a small hand-held device, acts as an intermediary between the Bluetooth device and the hearing aid.
  2. Made for iPhone hearing aids – some hearing aid models are labeled as “Made for iPhone,” which essentially means that the iPhone acts as the streamer itself, communicating directly with the hearing aid.

Your hearing care professional can help you determine which option is right for you.

The advantages of wireless hearing aids

Whether using a Made for iPhone hearing aid or a streamer, there are a variety of benefits to going wireless, including:

  • Better music listening experience – think about streaming your favorite music from your iPhone or portable music player directly to your hearing aids. In this way, your hearing aids become a pair of top-quality earbuds.
  • Hands-free phone calls – answering phone calls without the use of your hands is more convenient and having the audio stream directly to the hearing aids results in enhanced sound quality.
  • Sharper TV sound – streaming the audio from your computer, tablet, or TV leads to clearer sound and enhanced speech comprehension from movies and TV shows. You’ll never struggle to follow dialogue again.
  • Better gym experience – listen to your favorite music or podcasts at the gym without any wires getting in the way.
  • Personalized control – inconspicuously adjust your hearing aid settings and volume by using your wireless remote control or iPhone (with compatible models).
  • Connection to hearing loops – hearing aids fit with telecoils can connect to hearing loop systems in community venues like auditoriums, movie theaters, and courts.

Considering upgrading to wireless hearing aids? Contact us today for more information.