By Paul Harrison, Guest Author
This is the second in a two part series on wireless technology and hearing aids. Check out part one for more.
Wireless technology in hearing aids means that they are able to connect both with each other and with a number of different devices using a signal that is similar to the Bluetooth in mobile phones. When the hearing aids work together it is known as binaural technology. With this feature, they can communicate with each other and work together to improve your hearing. There are some binaural features that will analyze your environment, detect which hearing aid is receiving the clearer signal and then transmit this superior signal to the other side. This ensures that you are always getting the best sound available, whatever your environment may be. Binaural microphone applications work in the same way to ensure you hear sounds from all directions clearly but can give priority to speech over background noises.
Each manufacturer has their own range of accessories which can only be used with their own hearing aids. Some require a device called a streamer to be used in addition to the other accessories. This streamer is used to relay the signal from each device into the hearing aids and is often the point of control as well. Some manufacturers use a different or more powerful signal which can send the sounds directly without the need for this additional device.
Obviously, you cannot wear hearing aids and headphones at the same time. With personal music players, unless you are listening at home through speakers, headphones are absolutely necessary. Some people are still unable to hear clearly with just headphones and still require the extra help from their hearing aids. There are now devices that essentially turn your hearing aids into the headphones for your music player. The signal is sent in the same way as the other devices and allows you to listen in comfort and you can easily adjust the volume to suit your needs.
Yes, technically you don’t connect to someone’s voice, but there are accessories available that help you to hear them more clearly. Remote Microphone devices have been designed to pick up the sound of another person’s voice and send it directly to your hearing aids. In crowded environments, people who wear hearing aids often find having a conversation difficult due to the level of background noise. The microphone accessories actively suppress this unwanted noise and send clear and audible speech straight to you. These devices are worn by the other speaker in a one to one conversation and allow you to hear everything they say clearly without having to be uncomfortably close to them. In a group situation such as a meeting, these devices can be placed on the table and they will pick up the individual voices so you don’t miss out on any of the discussion.
Most hearing aid manufacturers offer some form of remote control for their hearing aids nowadays. Some are basic devices that simply allow you to adjust volume or programs, others are more advanced and give you control over things like clarity and comfort settings. Some of these devices are simple push button control and others have display screens with more in depth menu options. There are even some that have been designed to be as discreet as possible by looking exactly like other objects such as pens or being small enough to fit on a set of keys. These accessories are especially useful for people who may find that the small buttons on the hearing aids themselves are too fiddly to use.
According to YourHearing Wireless, technology is advancing all the time, making it easier for hearing aid users to enjoy things that they previously found difficult or frustrating. Each manufacturer has a different range of accessories so you would need to check to see what is available for your particular hearing aids. There are so many options available today it is possible for everyone to get themselves and their hearing aids wireless enabled.
Author Bio: Paul Harrison has been in the Hearing aid industry for 20 years and in that time has worked at both manufacturer and retailer level before managing his own online hearing aid business www.yourhearing.co.uk which is a national network of local hearing aid audiologists who offer the main hearing aid brands at less than the high street but with the same quality aftercare and warranty.