Accessorise and get the most out of your hearing aids
Most manufacturers offer a wide range of complementary accessories that can be used to assist in hearing aid management as well as improve the performance of hearing aids.
Want to discreetly adjust your hearing aids without touching them? Want to take phone calls through your hearing aids? Don’t want to have to change batteries?
All this is possible with the correct accessories. There are generally four different categories of accessories:
1/ Remote controls
Want to discreetly adjust your hearing aids without touching them? A remote control may be for you!
- Easily adjust their hearing aid settings without needing to manipulate the small controls on their hearing aids. This is particularly useful for users who have reduced dexterity or want to discreetly adjust their hearing aids without people knowing.
- Access a wider range of features and controls (than can be accessed via the controls on the hearing aids) to enhance the performance of their hearing aids.
Currently on the market there are remote controls available in a wide range of styles. In fact, you can get remote controls that look like writing pens or others that look like key chains.
More recently manufacturers are offering remote control Smartphone apps. Hearing aid wearers do not need to purchase separate physical remote control, but rather their existing smartphone can turn into a remote control via free downloadable apps.
2/ Audio streaming
Want to take phone calls through your hearing aids? Wish you could stream music wirelessly into your hearing aids? Then Bluetooth audio streaming technology may be for you!
To enhance sound quality and listening enjoyment, many hearing aid models now feature the ability to wirelessly connect to different audio devices including:
- TVs and MP3 players – high quality stereo sound (e.g. music) can be wirelessly streamed from these devices through the wearer’s hearing aids.
- Mobile phones –wearers can converse in a hands-free manner (without even removing the phone from their bag or pocket) with the hearing aids becoming a virtual phone headset.
Many hearing aids support wireless audio-streaming from audio devices (e.g. phones). This is achieved either directly or via a secondary streaming device (usually worn around the neck or in a pocket).
Direct Wireless Audio Streaming (without an additional body-worn device)
Some hearing aids now feature technology labelled Made for iPhone™ (e.g. Signia Nx, Resound Linx, Starkey Halo). Wearers can directly stream audio wirelessly from their Apple iPhone to their hearing aids without an intermediary or secondary device. Using low energy 2.4 gigahertz wireless technology the audio can be streamed from a significant distance, at least ten metres.
For non-phone use, for specific applications (e.g. watching television) many hearing aids offer additional accessories (e.g. television transmitters). These accessories use similar wireless technology as the iPhone and enable direct wireless audiostreaming to the wearers hearing aids without any intermediary body worn accessories. The main disadvantage of direct wireless audiostreaming is that it requires high battery consumption and for most hearing aids is only available on Apple devices.
Most hearing aids on the market are compatible with wireless audio-streaming via Bluetooth-enabled secondary devices which are body worn (normally around the neck). This Bluetooth device receives streamed audio (via Classic Bluetooth) from most Bluetooth enabled devices (e.g. phones, televisions) then streams this audio wirelessly to the hearing aids using magnetic near-field induction. The disadvantage of this type of audio-streaming is that wearers must wear an extra device on their body.
3/ Remote Wireless Microphones
Wish you could hear the teacher better at university? Wish you could hear your friends better when at dinner amongst background noise? Then remote wireless microphone technology may be for you!
A remote microphone can help a hearing aid wearer hear better when the person they want to hear is at a distance and/or there is a lot of environmental noise making it hard for them to hear this person. The remote microphone is worn by the person that is speaking (e.g. lecturer). Their voice is picked up by thewireless microphone and then wirelessly transmitted directly into the hearing aids. Even though the speaker is at a distance, it sounds like they are right next to the person with the hearing aids.
4/ Battery chargers
Tired of regular battery changes? Concerned about the environmental impact of disposable batteries? Rechargeable hearing aids may be for you!
Many hearing aids sold today offer rechargeable options. Rechargeability can make managing hearing aids easier as it does away with weekly battery changes.
There are generally two types of rechargeable batteries currently used in hearing aids:
Silver-zinc or nickel-metal hydride
Silver-Zinc and Nickel Metal-Hydride batteries are available in the same sizes as disposable batteries (10, 312, 13) and simply fit into the hearing aids like normal disposable zinc-air batteries. Wearers can simply insert their hearing aids directly in an appropriate charger without having to take the rechargeable batteries out. Hearing aids using this type of rechargeable technology have the option of using either rechargeable cells or normal zinc ear disposable batteries. Generally, this type of rechargeable battery needs to be replaced annually.
Lithium ion batteries are integrated into the housing/case of the hearing aid and cannot be removed by the wearer. This means the housing of the hearing aid does not need a battery door improving its moisture and dust resistance. Lithium-ion chargers have several advantages over the silver-zinc and nickel-metal hydride technologies, including much greater longevity (3-5 years), the ability to inductively charge and also rapid charge the hearing aid battery (e.g. a 30-minute charge give 6 hours of battery life).
Interested in some accessories to enhance the performance and your experience with hearing aids? Speak to the Sound of Life team who can advise you on the most appropriate technology to achieve your communication goals.
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