Ways that Smartphone and Hearing Aids Work Together

Our daily lives now wouldn't be the same without smartphones.

Ways that Smartphone and Hearing Aids Work Together

by Dr. Kevin Ivory

Our daily lives now wouldn't be the same without smartphones. We use them constantly to read news, check social media, and watch internet videos. For the past few years, they have become more and more compatible with hearing aids.

Here are the four main ways you can use your smartphone in conjunction with your hearing aid:

A Bluetooth connection to your smartphone

Hearing aids designed for smartphones are becoming more prevalent. With the aid of this technology, you can wirelessly transmit audio from your phone, tablet, or laptop to your hearing aids.

Here are a couple of the common uses for Bluetooth audio in hearing aids:

  • Streaming content: Without wearing bulky, unpleasant headphones, users with Bluetooth hearing aids may enjoy their favorite music being streamed to their devices!
  • Hands-free calls: Your hearing aids can work with voice instructions to operate hands-free and wirelessly for phone calls, just like a Bluetooth headset can. Using these functions while driving is incredibly beneficial. You might hear a phone ring if you're using your hearing aids to listen for emergency vehicles and the noises of other cars on the road. You can instruct your smartphone to answer the call by using voice activation if you want to avoid taking your eyes off the road. This capability, which Bluetooth offers, is not only practical but also crucially safe.

A few manufacturers of hearing aids are adding cutting-edge Bluetooth features, such as multiple connections. For instance, the Phonak Paradise supports simultaneous connections with two Bluetooth-enabled devices and up to eight Bluetooth-enabled devices. Thanks to this simultaneous pairing, hearing aid wearers no longer need to unpair their smartphone to pair with another device.

Only those Bluetooth hearing aids marked 'Made for iPhone' or 'Made for all phones' are compatible with smartphones. You can still wirelessly stream audio from your smartphone to your hearing aids, even if they are not Made for iPhones or Android devices. But you will need a separate, tiny wireless gadget called a streamer, which may be concealed beneath clothing and either clips to your collar or hangs from your neck. 

Use smartphone apps to control your hearing aid.

Hearing aid apps provide a wealth of useful functions, but probably most importantly, they enable users to customize their experience, which can go a long way to empowering them.

The majority of hearing aid manufacturers have apps that work to control their hearing aids. These offer various standard features that let you customize your device to meet your unique needs:

  • Switch between programs you've saved
  • Simple volume controls
  • Amplification adjustments
  • Change directional microphones
  • Check battery level

Some hearing aids come with a feature called "Find My Hearing Aids" that you can employ if you think you have lost them nearby. You can even link your hearing aids with your home appliances, phone, email, or doorbell using the Oticon On app and the internet service IFTTT (If This, Then That). 

Work with your hearing provider from your home.

Whether zooming with our doctors, visiting patient portals for confidential information, or using remote monitoring gadgets that gather biometrics like blood pressure, we are getting more used to receiving healthcare from our homes. And now, a range of hearing aid apps contain telehealth features.

Hearing professionals can now conduct appointments online rather than having you come into the clinic. You can schedule an appointment from the comfort of your sofa through specific hearing aid apps. 

Additionally, many apps provide remote hearing aid adjustments. For customers who are just starting to use their hearing aids, it is beneficial to discuss in real-time which settings work the best in the user's home environment. 

Use tinnitus apps to manage your symptoms.

Tinnitus cannot be cured, but some therapies can help you cope with it. Tinnitus can be isolating, especially if you believe no one is there to support you. A range of tinnitus apps can make it easy for you to get tinnitus relief.

They primarily provide cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, sound banks, tinnitus information, symptom logging features, and exercises for relaxation.

Some apps even provide tinnitus relief alternatives, including your favorite music, audiobooks, podcasts, or even relaxation aids, which can be wirelessly streamed into your hearing aids. For instance, the Oticon hearing aids' Tinnitus SoundSupport feature aids tinnitus reduction by playing a variety of soothing sounds like white noise and ocean sounds.

Now that you know how much hearing aids can interface with your smartphone, this is yet another reason to explore hearing treatment for your hearing loss. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory
Audiologist & University Instructor
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Dr. Kevin Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A received his Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then went on to earn his Doctor of Audiology degree from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, one of the top 10 audiology residential programs in the country.

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