Bluetooth-enabled Hearing Aids
Developers of hearing aids are always looking for new and improved ways of making hearing aids better and more useful in people's lives. Bluetooth technology is being used to make it easier for hearing aid users to connect their hearing aids to various devices for improved sound quality directly from the sound source.
Bluetooth technology in hearing aids can wirelessly connect to devices such as televisions, cell phones, FM systems, GPS systems, iPads, and PDAs. This technology is available in most styles of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE), mini BTE, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal hearing aid styles.
What are the Benefits and Disadvantages of Bluetooth in Hearing Aids?
As with any hearing aid, Bluetooth-enabled devices have some benefits and some downsides. One benefit is that using Bluetooth 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.
Bluetooth technology is quickly replacing telecoil use in hearing aids as it eliminates feedback and static noise interference. The Bluetooth feature is quick and easy to use which makes phone calls and conference calls a more enjoyable experience for the tech-savvy user.
However, Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids do require set up to work with electronic devices, so they are not for the gadget-shy individual. Also certain manufacturers require the hearing aid wearer to use a small receiver accessory worn around the neck or near the hearing aids. The accessory converts the Bluetooth signal from the electronic device or mobile phone, to a technology that is understood by the hearing aid. If you are out of range of the receiver, the Bluetooth signal will not reach the hearing aids.
If you are interested in Bluetooth accessories, talk to your audiologist about all of your options. Let your audiologist know the listening situations you are in each day, and the types of other devices you use throughout the day. Ask to see a model and experience a real-time demonstration to better understand how technology can improve your day to day use of technology. Bluetooth accessories are an extra expense, so your audiologist will review those costs with you as well.