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Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

The “Made for iPhone” (MFi) trend is growing!  Hearing aid companies are making hearing aids that connect to the iPhone via an app.  With these hearing aids, you can stream phone calls, music, videos, FaceTime, and Skype directly into your hearing aids without needing a neckloop, phone clip or other intermediary device.  They connect easily to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  The app allows you to use the phone to change programs and volume.  It can also save a setting you like in a certain environment so when you return, you can go directly to that setting.  In fact, your GPS will know when you return and automatically adjust the sound to your preferred settings!  It even includes a program to help you find your hearing aids. 
TruLink 1
However, I think the best feature is that they can turn your iPhone into an assisted listening device by using the microphone to pick up someone’s voice and stream it directly into your hearing aids!  The “Live Microphone” (Starkey) or “Live Listen” (ReSound) turns the iPhone mic into a wireless, remote microphone.  The big question, though, is how well does it work?  As with similar devices, I imagine you must hold the phone very close to the speaker’s mouth to get good sound quality.
The LiNX hearing aid by GN ReSound was the first MFi hearing aid, released in February.  This was followed quickly in March by the Halo hearing aid by Starkey.  The Apple website lists 7 hearing aids that are MFi, but on closer examination, they are all owned by either GN ReSound or Starkey.
Audibel with TruLink App (Starkey)
888 771-8606
Audigy AGX with TruLink App (Starkey)
800 432-7464
Beltone First with HearPlus App (GN ReSound)
800 235-8663
MicroTech Kinnect  with TruLink App  (Starkey)
800 745-4327
NuEar iSDS with TruLink App (Starkey)
800 626-8327
ReSound LiNX with ReSound Smart App (GN ReSound)
952 769-8000
Starkey Halo with TruLink App (Starkey)
888 481-5512
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) programjoin
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program

Oticon claims to have joined Apple’s Made for iPhone program……but not really.  It does not stream directly into the hearing aids, but has just come out with an updated Streamer,  the Streamer Pro 1.2, that can be paired with the iPhone via the ConnectLine App.  It seems to me that the ConnectLine App is nothing more than a remote control, as it lacks the features of the truly Made for iPhone hearing aids.  It does allow you to save settings for different environments, but the real advantage of the MFi hearing aids is that you no longer need a neckloop/streamer!

If you have tried any of these MFi hearing aids, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear how you like them!

9 Responses

  1. Really interesting now my questions is what about those of us with Cochlear Implants?

    • Donna,
      Let me see what I can find out about that.

    • Donna, What brand cochlear implant to you have? I have learned that Cochlear Americas has paired with GN Resound. Their Baha now has the ability to work with all the Resound accessories such as the mini mic, TV streamer, and phone clip. The Cochlear CI will soon be coming out with the same.
      I have not heard anything about working directly with the iPhone, but these wireless accessories would be very nice! The phone clip wirelessly streams sound from the phone to your CI.
      I haven’t heard anything about Med-El or Advanced Bionics working with iPhones, but Med-El has paired up with Phonak and can use Phonak accessories. Not sure about AB but if you have an AB, ask their support people and let me know! Thanks!

  2. Disappointed!! I just learned that these Made for iPhone hearing aids do NOT have t-coils! Why?! Why haven’t hearing aid manufacturers gotten the message that WE WANT T-COILS! Grrrrr!

  3. I’ve learned a few more things about the MFi hearing aids – none of them good. Not only do they NOT have a t-coil, the Starkey brands do not have a volume control or a program control on the aid. You have to use the iPhone to adjust them. The ReSound aids have a program control button, but not a volume control.

  4. Marilyn,

    First of all hello from one San Diegan to another. Second, I wanted to let you know that I did a blog post on both the Starkey Halo & ReSound LiNX made for iPhone hearing aids, I’ll link to them both below, but you and your readers may be interested because there are a lot of user reviews in the comments. Great blog! I’ll be checking back frequently.



  5. There are some excellent reviews on both the ReSound Linx and the Starkey Halo on the links Jeff posted above. See what users are saying in their comments after Jeff’s description of these hearing aids.

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