June 5, 2014

Ask the Audiologist: What is a Made for iPhone hearing aid?

margaretBy Margaret Christiansen, Au.D.
Audiology Consultants, P.C.

Over recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of wireless technology being used with hearing aids. This allows hearing aids to wirelessly connect to electronic devices such as cellphones and televisions and the use of remote microphones to help hear specific voices in a crowded room. These wireless functions have been made possible through the use of a remote control device that communicates with the hearing aid. Wireless connections are allowing hearing aid users to connect with our technology-driven world better than ever.

The latest innovation in hearing aid technology is that several hearing aid manufacturers have paired with Apple to develop Made for iPhone hearing aids. What does this mean? This means there are hearing aids out there that have the ability to do some pretty amazing things! A Made for iPhone hearing aid is able to connect directly to your iPhone, iPad or iTouch. This allows any audio from your Apple device to be streamed directly through you hearing aids, often without any remote controls or extra devices. Whether you are listening to music, watching a YouTube video or using navigation, the sound can be easily transmitted through your hearing aids. In some cases, your iPhone can even be turned into a microphone that directly transmits voices to your hearing aids, which can be helpful in a crowded restaurant or social gathering.

Like any premium hearing aid, these hearing aids are able to automatically adjust themselves depending on the environment you are in or what is happening around you. While these adjustments are largely successful, there may be times when an individual wants the capability to make further adjustments on their own. Well…there’s an app for that! Several manufacturers have apps available in the iTunes app store that allow the user to control their hearing aids through their Apple device. Some apps allow the user to adjust volume, adjust treble and bass and remember hearing aid adjustments that have been successful in the past so these can be easily accessed next time you are in that same environment. Some apps can also give you a GPS location on your hearing aids in case they get lost, give information on your battery life, provide a simple trouble shooting guide and more!

While Made for iPhone hearing aids may not be for everyone they are an exciting step forward in the world of hearing aids. As the technology continues to advance, so does overall hearing aid satisfaction and acceptance. An individual
consultation with an audiologist can help determine what technologies are best suited for you and get you on the path to better hearing!