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Hearing Aid Feature #4 – Wireless Connectivity

4.  Wireless connectivity – the hearing aids should communicate with each other.  My volume control is on the left.  When I adjust it, it automatically adjusts the right hearing aid, too.  My program control button is on the right.  I only have to use this one button to change the program in both hearing aids.

My favorite feature of all is the wireless connectivity I get from my Bluetooth neckloop!  The “Streamer” as it called with Oticon hearing aids, can connect to any Bluetooth device:  cell phones, computers, TV’s, land lines, etc.  (You can purchase a Bluetooth transmitter to make the TV and land line Bluetooth capable).  The Streamer is integrated with the hearing aids which means that when the phone rings, I only press one button on the Streamer and the caller’s voice is wirelessly transmitted into both my hearing aids.  I do not have to switch my hearing aids to t-coil first to answer the phone.  My ability to understand speech on my cell phone is so much better because I hear it with both ears and background noise is muted as the microphone is turned off.

I have an iPhone, so the iPod built into the phone is also Bluetooth capable.  I can listen to music, audio books, and podcasts wirelessly, too.  If I am listening to the iPod and the phone rings, the iPod automatically stops and I can answer the phone.  This would also apply to listening to TV or any other device.  When the phone rings, the Streamer would automatically stop “streaming” the audio so you can answer the phone.

The Streamer (and other neckloops) can be directly connected to audio devices.  This means a wire can be connected from the neckloop to the headphone jack of the device.  The advantage of this is that you do not have to remove your hearing aids to put on headphones.  For example, when I go to a gym that has exercise equipment with little TV’s, I can hard-wire my neckloop to the TV.  “Hard-wire” means I physically connect a wire from the bottom of the Streamer to the headphone jack of the TV.  I have a Pocketalker (personal amplifier) that I always carry with me.  If I am having trouble hearing in a noisy restaurant, I hard-wire the Pocketalker to my neckloop.  I don’t have a Bluetooth transmitter for my land line, so I sometimes hard-wire my neckloop by plugging it into the headphone jack on the telephone.  This allows me to hear with both ears when using the phone.

These are the hearing aid manufacturers I know about that have the wireless connectivity with either a neckloop or other type of accessories.

Phonak – SmartLink (FM) & iCom (Bluetooth)

Oticon – Streamer & ConnectLine

Siemans – Tek & miniTek

Unitron – uDirect & uTV

Widex – Dex (Just released!)

If you have had good or bad experiences with any of these, please leave a comment.  Also, there may be other companies that provide wireless connectivity – this is just a limited list of those I am aware of.  If you know of others, please comment.  Thanks!

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2 Responses

  1. Quite good posting about hearing,i got troubles,please carry on producing,thank you!

  2. I am deaf in one ear and have severe hearing loss in the other. My condition is getting worse with time. I have worn hearing aids for fifteen years. For seven years, I have worn a very expensive state of the art aid. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability to hear. I sent the aid in to get it rebuilt and then had it reprogramed to be sure it was in optimal condition. There was little improvement and a $200 bill. I tried another new top of the line hearing aid. It was no help. I decided to order an Acoustitone Pro so I would have a back up. I cannot be without a hearing aid. I was immediately impressed with the Acoustitone and have been wearing it ever since it came. It is better than anything I have tried. I just ordered another one as a back up as I do not want to have to go back to the expensive aid. The expensive aid may have some advantage in certain situations, but overall it is not as good. I wear my own ear mold as the ones that come with the aid made my ear sore. They did, however, work better than my custom ear mold. The problem may be my ear or it might just be a matter of getting used to it. I would caution anyone who has never worn a hearing aid, that there is no such thing as an aid that will restore your natural hearing. If you ever find such a thing, I would be willing to pay dear for it. A hearing aid is like a flashlight. It is terribly inadequate, but indispensable in the dark. You will never stop longing for the breaking of day. The Acoustitone Pro has been a real help to me.

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