Hearing Aids and Bluetooth

BluetoothLogo

After talking about telecoils and loops, let’s talk about another technology that is taking strides and making headlines.  Bluetooth technology is another very effective way to use your hearing aids with phones, but you will need to have Bluetooth enabled hearing aids as well as a Bluetooth enabled phone.  Many of today’s hearing aids are very advanced and are Bluetooth/wireless compatible, which means that they are able to connect wirelessly to a number of different devices.  The most popular devices to connect your hearing aids with are cell phones, regular phones,  computers, iPods or other MP3 players, and PDAs.

Normally when we listen through hearing aids, the microphone picks up the sound and processes it, but Bluetooth works a little bit differently.  It uses a radio-frequency to wirelessly transmit sound from your device (cell phone, iPod, MP3, computer, etc.) directly into your hearing aids.  It bypasses the microphone and you hear a strong, clear signal directly in your ears.  The result is excellent sound quality in both of your ears (if you are wearing two hearing aids).  This is especially helpful for talking on the phone because you are hearing the person on the other end bin-aurally, or in both ears.

 

Look for this symbol to know whether your device is Bluetooth enabled!

 

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to pairing your hearing aids with other devices via Bluetooth is that you will need to be within a fairly close distance in order for your hearing aids to be able to pick up the signal clearly.  For cell phones and mp3 devices you will probably want to be within 5-10 feet, and for television or computers you will want to be in the same room.  While this may be a limitation to some, others may see it as an advantage for pairing multiple devices all over the house.  For example, if your hearing aids are paired with the computer in your office, it will pick up that while you are in your office, but when you walk down to your living room where your aids are paired with the television, it will pick up that instead.  Most patients find that to be more convenient than inconvenient.

Before you say “No, no, that’s too much technology for me!” know that the devices are very easy to pair up, and if you have kids or grandkids they will be able to show you how to pair things (or do it for you!) within 5 minutes.  The simplicity of the system will be very easy to get used to when your hearing aids automatically pair with devices throughout your home, and you won’t have to miss another phone conversation, favorite song, or much-anticipated television show again!  Also, your hearing healthcare professional will help you to pair your devices if you need assistance.  Come see what technology can do for you today!

 

I will leave you with a piece of Bluetooth Trivia:

Why is it called Bluetooth?

Harald Bluetooth was king of Denmark in the late 900s. He managed to unite Denmark and part of Norway into a single kingdom then introduced Christianity into Denmark. He left a large monument, the Jelling rune stone, in memory of his parents. He was killed in 986 during a battle with his son, Svend Forkbeard. Choosing this name for the standard indicates how important companies from the Nordic region (nations including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are to the communications industry, even if it says little about the way the technology works.

(taken from www.electronics.howstuffworks.com/bluetooth1.htm)

Until next time,

Dr. Kristin

Mike