Hearing Aids: Is There An App For That?
The smartphone is an essential tool in many people’s lives. Smartphones have replaced many personal devices including MP3 players, cameras, GPS devices and even books. In addition, the hundreds of thousands of smartphone applications (or apps for short) have made it a device with almost limitless applications. This is set to continue due to the portability, programmability and increasing capabilities of smartphones.
Smartphone applications now also extend to hearing aids. More and more manufacturers are seeing the range of benefits that apps provide hearing aid wearers. Most manufacturers now offer hearing aid apps for both Android and iOS (Apple) devices e.g. iPhone. In most cases these apps are available free-of-charge. However, the apps are generally only compatible with later generation hearing aids.
There are a number of benefits apps can provide the hearing aid wearer. These benefits can be classified into three areas: (1) Manageability (2) Advanced personalisation and (3) Enhanced functionality.
This article will look at these different applications:
The touchscreen is well recognised as an intuitive and an easy to use interface. Apps can be used to adjust basic functions of hearing aids (e.g. volume, programs, mute function). This provides users with an easy to use interface for adjusting their hearing aids without having to fiddle with the actual hearing aids themselves. The other advantage of such apps is that changes can be done discreetly. What looks like sending an SMS or reading an email is in fact the wearer adjusting their hearing aids.
(2) Advanced Personalisation
Most hearing aids these days just have one physical control (such as a rocker switch) that will normally be programmed by the audiologist to have a specific personalisation function (e.g. volume). With smartphone apps the wearer can access a whole range of personalisation features so they can make very precise adjustments to a wide range of hearing aid parameters/settings. This can include volume, treble, as well as advanced features such as noise reduction. For example in noisy situations instead of just being able to turn down the volume, wearers can make adjustments to features such as noise reduction to match their preferences for that specific acoustic situation.
(3) Enhanced functionality
Apps can offer additional complementary functionality for hearing aids. Currently there are apps that offer the following functionality:
- Remote microphone – The smartphone turns into remote microphone. It can be given to the speaker in noisy situation and their voice will be wirelessly streamed to the hearing aids of the wearer.
- Hearing aid finder – The app can be used to locate lost hearing aids by providing GPS co-ordinates of the last time the hearing aids were near the smartphone. The smartphone can also detect the hearing aids when nearby.
About Sounds of Life
Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist. We offer affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands including Siemens, Signia, Phonak, Starkey, Unitron, Resound, Bernafon, Oticon and Sonic Innovations.
Contact Us today on 1300 744 432