Hearing is our Forte: From Trumpets to Miniature Computers

Hearing aids have improved dramatically in a short period of time; they are no longer the bulky whistling devices of before and a far cry from the ear-trumpets pictured on the left. It is not very difficult to imagine why ear trumpets were never en vogue.  Research and development have increased hearing aid capabilities in fascinating ways. Today’s devices are essentially mini ear-level computers that work actively to improve speech understanding in challenging listening environments. We live in a world where technology is necessary for efficiency. Hearing aid manufacturers have collaborated with technology giants—primarily Apple and Samsung—in creating smartphone compatible* hearing aids to stay on par with consumer needs.

The concept of phones that work with hearing aids is not new. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988, requiring compatibility between landline phones and hearing aids. This allowed hearing aid users to benefit from telephone use, a point of contention for individuals with hearing loss.  However, the rising popularity of cellphones has rendered the use of landlines obsolete. Hearing aid and cellphone manufacturers took heed of this favorable shift towards mobile devices and acted. Apple was one of the first major technology companies to take advantage of this opportunity using Bluetooth technology to pair smartphones, Apple watches, iPads and iPods to hearing aids.

Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to communicate over the phone, some individuals prefer to have the freedom to manipulate the quality (e.g. bass, treble, etc.) of sounds to suit their preference. Once hearing aids are paired to smartphones, users can change hearing aid settings using manufacturer specific applications. These finite range of settings are within the programming parameters set by the audiologist. Some settings are basic (i.e. volume control) and others are more complex. Users can stream phone calls and other forms of audio from their phone to hearing aids, geotagging is an option where users can set a default program for their favorite restaurant or café. The control is literally at the user’s fingertip. Misplace your mini-computers? Fret not, a feature on the app allows individuals to track down their lost hearing aids.

Professional Hearing Center offers a wide range of devices to meet your hearing needs which include but are not limited to hearing aids with smartphone compatibility. We provide thorough treatment consultations in which we address all your concerns free of charge. We devote our expertise to understanding your hearing needs in order to make the concerted effort to improve your communication with your loved ones. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to meeting you!

*Not all smartphones are hearing aid compatible and vice versa.

Resources: Dybala, Paul. “Hearing Aid Compatible Phones: What to Know before You Buy.” Healthy Hearing, 12 Feb. 2018, www.healthyhearing.com/help/assistive-listening-devices/hearing-aid-compatible-phones

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