Hearing aid accessories offer a wide range of wireless options to boost your hearing aid performance and keep you connected. These accessories are designed to meet your everyday needs–offering the right solution for every hearing situation–whether you are on the phone, watching TV or in a noisy environment.
Hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can be wirelessly connected via wireless streaming accessories to devices like televisions, cell phones, FM systems, GPS systems, and PDA. Bluetooth technology works similarly to wireless internet, where sounds are sent through an invisible electronic signal.
Bluetooth accessories are compatible with most styles of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE), mini BTE, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal styles, though each manufacturer provides a different array of products and accessories that are Bluetooth-enabled
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids using Bluetooth technology allow you to obtain a better sound quality when using hearing aids with your favorite electronic device. Think of them as a wireless pair of headphones–they are convenient and cordless and provide high-quality sound.
In the past, the telecoil was a new, exciting technology that allowed people with hearing aids to use landline phones. Today, Bluetooth is the new exciting technology that makes connectivity to the everyday world a more widespread and reliable possibility for hearing aid users. Making phone calls, using a tablet or computer, and even watching TV at home can be an enjoyable experience for the tech-savvy user. Bluetooth can also eliminate the annoyances of technology use, such as feedback and static noise interference, associated with traditional hearing aids.
When Bluetooth streams to the hearing aid, the microphone inside the hearing aid may be turned off or turned down, depending on the hearing aid you are using and the way it is set by your hearing specialist. This can have its disadvantages, as you won’t experience an amplification of other environmental sounds around you during use, which you may typically prefer.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids do require some simple set-up steps before they can work with electronic devices, so you may require some help from your audiologist or a tech-savvy relative. Plus, they require the hearing aid wearer to use a small transmitter accessory. The transmitter converts the Bluetooth signal from the electronic device or mobile phone to a wireless signal that is understood by the hearing aid. If you are out of range of the transmitter, the Bluetooth signal will not reach the hearing aid.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids and accessories can also be pricey, and they may not be worth it for someone who doesn’t regularly use a cell phone, MP3 player, computer, or TV.
If you are interested in Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, talk to our hearing specialists about all of your options. Let them know of the listening situations you are in each day and the types of devices you use throughout the day. Ask to see a hearing aid and streaming device and experience a real-time demonstration. Finally, talk to your hearing specialist about how Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids could make your daily interactions with your world a better experience.
Although the FCC now requires that hearing-aid-compatible (HAC) cell phones meet strict guidelines for quality, some hearing aid users wish to improve their cell phone experience further by using cell phone accessories. Add-on devices and cell phone accessories can make cell phones even more compatible with hearing aids.
Many cell phones can be used with hearing aid telecoils. Hearing aid accessories that provide a hands-free option may also be helpful.
A telecoil (also known as a t-switch or t-coil) is a telephone switch feature that is now built into about 45% of all hearing aids. If you are unsure if your hearing aid has this feature, contact your hearing specialist or the hearing aid manufacturer.
HAC devices and accessories support hearing aids that have a telecoil feature.
You can use a Bluetooth accessory and have a Bluetooth signal sent to your telecoil through a neckloop or earhook silhouette from phones that support Bluetooth technology.
A neckloop is a necklace-sized wire that connects to many devices, including HAC phones and accessories. It can be worn around the neck and adapted to telecoil hearing aids. Neckloops generate a weak magnetic signal that is recognized by the telecoil and amplified by the hearing aid. They are popular with many hearing aid users because they can drive both hearing aids and do not require wires running to the hearing aids.
Like the neckloop, the earhook silhouette creates a magnetic signal that can be recognized by the telecoil in your hearing aid. It can be hooked over your ear, and it nestles behind BTE hearing aids. It is attached to a thin loop of wire that can be plugged into many devices, including HAC phones and HAC cell phone accessories.
HAC cell phone accessories put distance between the hearing aid and the cell phone, which can cut down on any buzzing or feedback and decrease interference between the two devices. Plus, some HAC accessories can give you hands-free cell phone usage, which is especially important if you plan on using your cell phone while driving. In addition, you may be able to use the speakerphone function on some devices if you use the microphone mode on your hearing aid.
Visit your cell phone carrier’s local store to inquire about HAC phones and accessories. We encourage you to try them out in the store with your hearing aid before making a purchase. Trying the phone with the device will give you a good idea of how well the accessory will work for you.
Keep in mind that some phones and devices will work differently once you leave the store, so it is also a good idea to find out about any money-back or satisfaction guarantees.