If you wear traditional hearing aids, there is a good chance that you have struggled to hear audio from other electronic devices. This is something that most people take for granted. For instance, trying to listen to music, taking a cell phone call, hearing the sound of a television or computer, all can be difficult for hearing aid wearers. It can be surprising to realize that the very thing that you need to hear, a hearing aid, is also what is preventing you from hearing when you are using an electronic device.
With the advent of Bluetooth hearing aids, this issue can be solved. Bluetooth hearing aids allow you to keep your hearing aid in. The hearing aids actually connect to the device that you want to use via Bluetooth technology so that the sound is as clear and crisp as possible. In addition, you have greater volume and sound control. The following article will help you understand what Bluetooth technology is in regards to hearing aids and will help you decide if Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids are for you.
Benefits of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
One of the main benefits of Bluetooth hearing aids is that your hearing aids can connect directly to the devices that you want to listen to and you can control what you hear as well as the volume at which you hear it. You do not have to remove your hearing aids to be able to hear sound. Here are some of the other benefits and features found in a Bluetooth hearing aid.
- You can make and take hands-free calls from your cell phone. Bluetooth hearing aids give you the ability to take phone calls without removing your hearing aids.
- You can control your own personal volume when watching television or listening to another device with other people. You can change the volume for yourself, oftentimes on the device rather than the hearing aid, without changing the volume for others.
- You can usually connect your hearing aids using an app on your smartphone. This means you will be controlling the Bluetooth features from a device that you already carry around anyway.
- You can control your own personal volume for music, television shows, and other events and devices without changing the volume for others.
While the above list contains specific benefits of Bluetooth hearing aids, there are also more general benefits to list as well.
- You get a personalized listening experience.
In a way, your hearing aids serve a similar purpose to headphones or earbuds. You control the volume of the stream and nobody else can hear what you are listening to.
- You can connect to multiple devices at once.
While you are watching television and are connected to the TV’s Bluetooth, you can also be connected to your phone so that when you get a phone call, you can pause the movie and still use Bluetooth for both.
- The device can become a remote control for your hearing aids.
One of the most difficult things associated with hearing aid use is that they can be hard to deal with because of their size. For instance, if you want to turn the volume up or down and you have large fingers, it can take a while and be quite frustrating. WIth a Bluetooth device, you can actually use it as a remote control so that you never have to go through the motions of removing the hearing aid, turning it up/down, and then hoping you found the right volume. All you have to do when you have a Bluetooth connected device in your hand is change things with the use of the app and phone keypad.
Pros and Cons of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
While Bluetooth hearing aids clearly provide new opportunities especially when it comes to connecting with other devices, there are always advantages and disadvantages that come along with any technological advancement. Here are some of the “pros” and “cons” of Bluetooth hearing aids.
- Better sound quality with listening devices and other electronics. You can listen to music, podcasts, television, and even phone calls without ever removing your hearing aids and with considerably better sound quality.
- Great sound control because you can connect directly to the device you are listening to. When you pair both of your hearing aids, you can enjoy a richer and more balanced sound. Alternatively, you can pair just one and hear ambient sound with your other ear.
- Bluetooth technology is very easy to use and it tends to not change much from one device to the next so that you are not always having to learn new technology when you switch from one device to the next.
- The hearing and sound control is very convenient, you can usually turn it up or down on the device that you are already using without having to make changes to your actual hearing aids.
- Most of your basic models of hearing aids do not have Bluetooth capability which means you have to pay a little more for a mid range or premium model.
- If you have used Bluetooth on your phone or computer, then you know that using the technology can drain your battery a little faster. Hearing aid batteries are smaller and usually have less life than other electronics so adding something that drains your battery can be tricky.
- In some instances, and especially depending on the technology you already use, you may need a streamer to connect the two Bluetooth devices together. This can be both expensive and inconvenient.
How Much Do Bluetooth Hearing Aids Cost?
Bluetooth connectivity does not necessarily make a hearing aid any more or less expensive. The problem is not the cost of the actual Bluetooth capable technology, the problem is that most basic hearing aids do not come with Bluetooth connectivity as a standard feature. To get a Bluetooth enabled hearing aid you will need to upgrade to at least a mid-range device and in some cases only the premium level hearing aids have it. That means that it will be pretty difficult to find a Bluetooth hearing aid for less than $1000 and some of the better devices can be of significantly higher cost.
Made for iPhone Hearing Aids
Apple actually has patented specific Bluetooth connectivity with hearing aids so that some Bluetooth hearing aids can connect with the Apple iOS platform. Much in the same way that your MacBook, iPhone, Ipad, Apple Watch, etc. can easily communicate and work together, your hearing aid will as well. If you are already an Apple user in other aspects of your life, a “made for iPhone” hearing aid might be just for you. Your hearing aid will be able to connect to those devices with little stress, less battery usage, and as seamlessly as any hearing aid technology out there.
Android Phones and Bluetooth Hearing Aids
The famous song lyrics say, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Those words do not apply to the Android platform compared to Apple’s iOS in the world of Bluetooth hearing aids. Google is currently in the process of developing that technology. To date some hearing aid brands can stream through the Android platform. It is anticipated that Google will soon catch up to Apple in this regard.