BLUETOOTH HEARING AIDS
Most modern hearing aids are now Bluetooth compatible. Bluetooth technology makes it easy to stream from your electronic devices directly to your hearing aids. Using Bluetooth, the user will be able to connect and directly listen to their television, mobile phone and/or landline. It also allows for connectivity to other devices such as a remote control which can greatly benefit those with dexterity and vision issues.
A simple card-sized device that plugs into the back of your TV and allows for direct stereo streaming to your hearing aids. They are capable of connecting to two or more Bluetooth enabled hearing aids at a time. A perfect device for households with more than one hearing aid user. Additionally, the TV can be played through its speakers, independent to the stream, so even normal listeners can join in.
Modern hearing aids are now capable of connecting directly to your mobile phone. This makes phone calls easier to manage. Answering or rejecting calls become easier, while caller audio is directly streamed to the hearing aids. Music, videos, e-books, podcasts and more can also be streamed directly to your hearing aids for hands-free listening. Additionally, the mobile device can double as a remote control, making it easier to change hearing aid programs or for adjusting the volume of the aids.
The remote control is great for those who want to change the volume or programs of their hearing aid easily. Depending on the hearing aid model, the button controls can be difficult to press or may not be present altogether (particularly if the hearing aid is too small to accommodate for external controls). It is especially useful for those with dexterity or vision issues. It has large, tactile buttons allowing for easy management.
THINGS TO NOTE
Despite the advancements to Bluetooth technology in terms of battery drainage, there are still limitations that hearing aid users should be aware of. Utilising wireless transmission through Bluetooth connectivity can significantly increase the power consumption of hearing aids. As disposable hearing aid batteries are often smaller than a quarter of the size of a 5c coin, power draw is limited. When additional power drain (via Bluetooth) occurs, battery life will be significantly reduced.
Despite these concerns, users should typically be able to get about 4-7 days of use from their disposable batteries. Specific battery life estimates are difficult to give as the degree of hearing loss, the size of the hearing aid battery and hours of streaming spent will all affect battery life and also varies with individuals.
If battery life is a concern, rechargeable hearing aids may be a great option for those planning to stream regularly. Modern rechargeable hearing aids can provide at least 24 hours of continuous use, inclusive of streaming time. Additionally, portable chargers are also available for those with more demanding needs. For most users, as long as the hearing aids are charged overnight, the battery will provide more than enough power for the next day.
Due to the limitation of older hearing aid technology, past hearing aids may not be able to directly connect to a Bluetooth enabled device and will need a streamer to act as a ‘middle man’. Additionally, a streamer may also be needed to stream from an Android device for certain hearing aid models. If this is a concern, please ask your clinician whether this is applicable to you.
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