Bluetooth® has been around since the 90s, but it wasn’t until recently that it became available for hearing aids. It’s just one more way that the experience of wearing hearing aids and assistive listening devices continues to improve. With this technology, users can now wirelessly stream audio from their smartphones, tablets and other audio devices directly to their hearing aids and enjoy a more seamless, personalized listening experience.
Understanding the Technology
Bluetooth is a type of wireless communication technology that uses radio waves to transmit data from one device to another. It’s most commonly used to connect cell phones. For example, most modern vehicles are now Bluetooth-compatible. Drivers can pair their cell phone with the car’s speakers to stream phone calls, music and more while they drive. Another common example of Bluetooth technology being used is listening to music at the gym through wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Bringing the Technology to Hearing Aids
Due to recent rules put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), cell phone makers and service providers are more committed than ever to improving accessibility. Apple devices with iOS 7 or later are specially equipped for Made for iPhone™ Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids. After pairing their hearing aids, users can then use their iPhone to control audio preferences, such as streaming to the right/left device and adjusting the volume, all from the palm of their hand. Hearing aids with Bluetooth technology built in are also compatible with Android cell phones.
How Bluetooth Benefits Hearing Aid Users
In the past, if hearing aid users wanted to listen to music on their phone, they had to remove their devices and replace them with earbuds. But with Bluetooth, the hearing devices double as a set of wireless earbuds. Plus, they’re not just great for listening to music – they can also be used to watch streaming videos, listen to apps like Pandora and Google Maps and connect with friends through phone calls and FaceTime. Many people find that Bluetooth makes it easy to listen to the things they want, with the volume, convenience and privacy they need.
In addition, Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids work for more than just cell phones. They can be paired to most modern electronics, including televisions, computers, laptops and tablets. Users can sync up multiple devices and switch from one to the next as needed.
Today, there are several different kinds of Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids available. Some require a streamer, also known as a compatible assistive listening device, in order to connect to external devices. Even so, being able to make seamless transitions between devices helps people feel more confident throughout the day. As hearing aid technology continues to advance, users can look forward to even more features like Bluetooth wireless connectivity.