Hearing aids have been rapidly growing in technological capabilities. They get smaller, they are rechargeable, and battery life is increased with each model. And of course, enhanced sound quality, speech clarity and background noise diminution. For many people, the importance of hearing aids starts and ends with getting better hearing. For those who are a bit more technophile, there are so many options out there!
Let’s start with the basics: accessories. Hearing aids can come with a range of accessories designed to enhance performance in specific environments. Remote microphones for example offer a boost in sound at a distance or in a noisy environment. They can be worn by a speaker or partner, and placed on a podium or on a table. TV streamers can send the sound from the TV directly into your hearing aids to avoid interference. Multiple hearing aids can be connected to a single device, and the TV will still have the sound on. That way you can enjoy clearer speech with your hearing aids and still watch with friends and family.
Going up a notch, we now look at phone connectivity. As you may know, your hearing aids can now be connected to your mobile phone. As long as you have a smartphone (i.e. a phone with a touchscreen) there are a number of options. Firstly, each hearing aid brand has a phone app to control volume and other features. Most recent Android or iPhone devices will be compatible with these apps. Through these apps, you can adjust hearing aid volume (or mute!) and check battery levels. Some apps also have sound enhancement features to help you understand better in noisy environments or with mask-wearers.
Building further on this is phone streaming capabilities. This means when receiving a phone call, the sound goes directly into your devices. Not just phone calls, but music or videos from your phone can also stream directly. Almost all iPhones have the capacity to do the streaming, as do most modern hearing aids. The latest updates will now even use your hearing aid microphones to pick up your voice for calls. This means you can leave your phone on a table and walk around talking – completely hands-free!
The most recent Android phones can also do this streaming directly, while some older models just need a helping hand. A remote microphone or clips can be used to make the link between your Android phone and your hearing aids. Using a microphone will make your calls hands free as well by picking up your voice directly. For direct streaming, you just need to keep the phone close to you until the updates drop for Android too.
Feeling good so far? Let’s take it to the next level then! For those really in touch with their Apple tech-savvy life, you can connect even more to your devices. You can connect your iPad to your iPhone and watch movies on your tablet with sound in the hearing aids. If the phone rings, the connections will automatically adjust to pause the movie and allow the phone call. If you have an Apple Watch as well, some hearing aid apps can appear on your wrist. This allows you to control the volume on the go without the phone – neat!
If all that’s not enough for you, hearing aids can now act as your health guide. Several brands now offer health checks through your hearing aids and the app on your phone. This includes step counts and identifying time spent in social environments, or moving/exercising. You’ll even get a health “score” to show you which areas could use improvement for your overall wellbeing.
The possibilities really are endless with your modern hearing aids, and will continue to grow! If you have questions or want to know more about the features, have a chat with your audiologist. The Falls of Sound offers tech consultations to get you comfortable and knowledgeable. So don’t hesitate to book a tech consultation and make the most of what your hearing aids can do!