Wireless Hearing Aids: Connect To The World Of Sound
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 are able to 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.
Hearing aids support wireless audio-streaming in two major ways:
(1) Direct Audio-streaming – a relatively new technology this enables hearing aid wearers to wirelessly stream stereo audio from an audio source (e.g. mobile phone) to their hearing aids without an intermediary or secondary device. Wearers can stream audio at a distance of up to ten metres.
Until recently, this technology was only available with hearing aids labelled “Made for iPhone™” (e.g. Signia Nx, Resound Linx, Starkey Halo). “Made for iPhone” hearing aids are designed to share a low energy 2.4 gigahertz bluetooth link between the hearing aids and an Apple device (e.g. iPads/iPhones). This technology has grown in popularity over the last 5 years and now all major manufacturers offer “Made for iPhone” hearing aid models within their range .
Unfortunately most hearing aid manufacturers do not offer direct audio-streaming to Android or other non-Apple Bluetooth devices. Phonak (a leading hearing aid manufacturer) however recently brought out a hearing aid model called “Audio B Direct” that uses technology they call “Made for All”. This hearing aid does offer direct wireless audio-streaming from any bluetooth device (using “Classic” Bluetooth), however it should be noted that the audio-streaming is only possible for phone audio (not music or video) and streaming is to one hearing aid only (the wearer does not get a stereo input).
(2) Indirect Audio-streaming – The majority of hearing aids support indirect wireless stereo audio streaming using a secondary device. This secondary device is usually worn around the neck or in a pocket. Wearers wirelessly connect this device to the audio source (e.g. mobile phone, television) and using Bluetooth, audio is then wirelessly streamed to this device (at a distance of up to ten metres) which then relays the audio stream to the wearer’s hearing aids. The reason this secondary device needs to be around the neck, is that the device uses digital magnetic field induction (MFI) to transmit the audio into the hearing aids (MFI can only work over a short distance – normally less than 50 cm).
Compared to direct audio-streaming this method of audio-streaming is much more energy efficient. It is not uncommon for wearers using indirect audio-streaming, to find their hearing aid batteries last twice as long as uses of direct audio-streaming.
To stay connected to your network of friends and family, talk to Sounds of Life today about our wireless hearing aid range.
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