By now you may have heard of new hearing technology that is able to link (“stream”) your iPhone or other smart phone to hearing aids. The idea that a hearing aid user may be able to listen to a mobile phone through hearing aids via a wireless connection is long in coming, but it has become a reality. We now have access to these systems here in our office.
The main purpose of any hearing instrument is amplification of live sound, particularly speech, in environments such as home, work, travel or social activities. This is done selectively, based on the kinds of sounds a patient hears well and the kinds he or she hears poorly. All digital hearing instruments must be programmed by a professional qualified to select appropriate gain, compression and other parameters for the patient’s specific loss and needs. This must be done in person for even a reasonably good outcome.
The idea of pairing phone to hearing aid wirelessly was predicted years ago, and the capabilities of modern microchips and streaming technology has finally enabled this. Adding a mobile phone, such as an iPhone, to the mix requires even more interaction between professional and patient. These are not plug-and-play devices. Instruments must be paired, and the user must be familiar with the controls and devices used for the pairing. This is accomplished during a consultation in our office.
The benefits include: customized settings for various environments (perhaps your living room or favorite restaurant) selected by the user, hands-free iPhone use, using your mobile device as a microphone to improve listening in noise, adjusting hearing aid settings using your phone, streaming music or videos wirelessly through your hearing aids, applications (apps) to help find missing hearing aids.
Current iPhones (5s, 5c, 5), iPad Air, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini, and iPod Touch 5th generation are compatible with these hearing aids. This is “MFi functionality” bringing you the ultimate marriage of hearing aid and phone technology. Call us to find out if you may benefit from this incredible advance. We want to keep you on a Clear Path to good hearing and ear health!