What is hearing aid connectivity?

The words, ‘hearing aid connectivity’ are bandied around a lot but what do they actually mean? We live in an ‘always on’ world where the ability to connect to technology is highly valued but what are the real world benefits for hearing aid users?

In simple terms, hearing aid connectivity refers to the ability of your hearing aids to connect to other electronic devices such as smartphones or a TV. Not so long ago you used a cord to connect from one device to another. Modern connectivity has done away with all of those messy and sometimes dangerous cords and wires.

But connectivity isn’t just about convenience; it’s also about adding features that make your hearing aids smarter than ever. Connectivity has quite simply transformed the way modern hearing aids work. So, let’s explore how connectivity can transform your daily listening experience.

Direct link to your phone or TV

Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity enables a direct wire-free link to many of the most commonly used items in the modern world: smartphones, iPads, TVs and other entertainment devices. This means you can enjoy pure sound transmission directly to your hearing aid without the interference of background noise.   

Hearing aids with connectivity give you the freedom to chat on the computer via Skype or watch a movie at a volume level that’s appropriate for you without disturbing other viewers. Connectivity allows you to switch from one activity to another without having to manually turn on another device. 

This means you could be streaming a movie and when the phone rings, your hearing aid can pause the movie and automatically switch to the phone. Wireless connectivity means you can hear your phone ringing and even carry on a hands-free conversation when you’re driving for example. 

The concept of connectivity is expanding constantly and now includes the appropriately named ‘internet of things’. The ability to connect to the internet via the ‘If This Then That service’ (IFTTT.com) enables hearing aids to communicate with a whole new raft of devices. 

For example, this kind of technology allows you to connect your hearing aids to smart doorbells, smoke detectors, thermostats, and baby monitors. You can even connect to your smart lighting system to turn on a preset lighting ambiance for watching movies or having a romantic dinner.

Easy adjustment and monitoring

Wireless connectivity also means you can adjust your hearing aid sound levels from your smartphone. Apps for iOS or Android allow you to create customised listening settings for different situations as well as offering full manual control.

Whether you’re in a crowded restaurant, taking a call or in a meeting, you remain in total control of your listening experience with a swipe of your finger. Just choose the appropriate setting and the specified listening programme will kick in giving you the sound you want.

No longer do you need to struggle with fiddly manual control buttons on your hearing aids; connectivity makes instant adaptability to your sound environment simple and very discrete. If you want to adjust the setting, people will simply think you’re checking your phone. It’s that easy,

 Companies such as Starkey and Signia even offer a full remote tuning service where hearing professionals can fine-tune your hearing aids while you are wearing them during the trial phase. This offers a perfect opportunity for achieving optimal performance from your hearing aids.

Bluetooth connectivity also means you can monitor key aspects of your hearing aid performance such as remaining battery charge. You’ll never be caught with your batteries down again.

Connecting to the world

But apps can do so much more than just provide a remote control for your hearing aids. App designs and connectivity are all about offering freedom and flexibility for hearing aid users and expanding your connections with the world around you.

Phonak offer a ‘my-Call-to-Text’ app that allows you to read what the other speaker is saying as they say it. This kind of technology can make life so much easier whether you’re calling for a pizza delivery, a taxi or having a phone conversation on a noisy street corner.

Separate devices such as Signia’s easyTek, Oticon’s connectclip, or Phonak’s RogerDirect act as microphone relay stations transmitting signals up to 20 metres or more. These small, discrete devices can add enormous flexibility and performance to your hearing aids whether you’re in a busy office or simply enjoying the time out with friends and family.

Phonak’s Roger range of accessories includes the Roger Table Mic II. Its 360° range means it’s perfect for large meetings and offers the additional advantage of being able to transmit multimedia presentations. And there are also table microphones such as the Roger Touchscreen Mic that are perfect for classroom settings.

Instant recharging

Connectivity has helped to transform the way you recharge your hearing aids. Gone are the days of fiddly battery removals. Many hearing aid companies such as Phonak, Starkey, Oticon, and Signia now use contactless lithium-ion batteries. Recharging is simply a matter of placing your hearing aids in the recharge pod where they automatically recharge overnight.

Maybe you have just had a hearing test and are thinking about which hearing aid is the best one for your needs or it’s time to replace your old outdated hearing aids. No matter how you look at it, connectivity is making hearing aids better than ever.

Research shows that hearing aids can significantly improve your life. So come and let us show you how modern technology combined with high speed wireless connectivity is revolutionising the modern hearing aid. 

We have a wide range of hearing aids to suit all budgets and lifestyle requirements. It’s time to hear your world in a new way; it’s time to get connected so talk to your House of Hearing audiologist today.