Wireless Connectivity and Hearing Aids

Mother and Daughter

Wireless connectivity allows the hearing aid user to do more with their hearing aids and to wirelessly connect to the world around them. Do you have difficulty hearing on the phone? Wireless connectivity allows you to connect to your cell phone or landline phone in both ears and improve what you want to hear right through your hearing aids. Do you have difficulty hearing the television? Wireless connectivity allows you to connect directly to the TV through your hearing aids and improve your enjoyment of your favorite programs. Do you have difficulty hearing in noisy environments? Wireless connectivity allows you to improve the signal that you want to hear over the noise for greater clarity.

Whatever the need, Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center has a wide variety of wireless options to help. We work with all major hearing aid manufacturers to provide the greatest selection of wireless options.

Here are just a few of the products that we offer and how they work to improve clarity.

Wireless Connectivity: For iPhones

Starkey Halo 2 is the link to a world of connectivity in the palm of your patients’ hands with made-for-iPhone technology. The Halo 2 product family delivers performance, clarity, comfort and compatibility with Apple devices. With constant innovation and continuous technological advancements in our world, more patients demand connected and convenient devices that improve their hearing, overall health, and their lives.

Widex Beyond is a made-for-iPhone hearing aid based on the Widex U-platform. Widex PURE-LINK, a customized 2.4 GHz wireless input handling system, allows for direct streaming of audio as well as direct control from smartphones and tablets. More connected than any other hearing aid, WIDEX BEYOND Tri-Link Technology provides multi-connectivity to the wearer’s iPhone, t-coil, and a full range of DEX communication devices.

ReSound Linx 3D pairs made for iPhone technology with the latest and most advanced digital hearing aid. With ReSound LiNX 3D you’ll be better at identifying speech in noise and be able to hear more sounds around you. You can use your hearing aids like wireless headphones. And you’ll get a brand new dimension of control over your hearing aids.

Wireless Connectivity: Starkey

SurfLink® Mini Mobile

Starkey SurfLink Mini Mobile

Now, with the SurfLink® Mini Mobile, you’re able to connect any Bluetooth-ready mobile device to your hearing aids to stream phone calls. The new SurfLink Mini Mobile adapter is compatible with your popular SurfLink Remote Microphone 2 — one of our most proven and patient-preferred devices.

Simply plug the Mini Mobile adapter into the bottom of the SurfLink Remote Microphone 2. Then stream calls from any Bluetooth-ready mobile phone to your hearing aids.

SurfLink® Media 2 streamer

Starkey SurfLink® Media 2 streamer

Starkey wireless hearing aids work with their SurfLink® Media 2 streamer, the first set-and-forget wireless transmitter. With SurfLink Media 2, there’s no manual pairing involved. Once you plug it into your TV or stereo, you’re done!

  • It automatically streams sound directly to your hearing aids when you’re in range.
  • You can transition from one device to another simply by moving from room to room.
  • It lets others in the room listen to the TV or stereo at the volume they prefer.
  • Enables multiple people wearing wireless hearing aids to connect to a single device.

Wireless Connectivity: Widex

Widex Com-Dex solution

Widex Com-Dex

The Widex Com-Dex solution comes packed with benefits:

  • Stream high-quality sound from any Bluetooth device to your Widex hearing aid
  • Hear your conversation partner clearly, either in noisy environments or at a distance
  • Control your hearing aid and microphone discreetly using our free app
  • Up to 8 hours streaming time.

Widex RC-DEX

Widex RC-DEX

The Widex RC-DEX is a stylish, compact and user-friendly hearing aid remote control. Its simple and intuitive design gives you better control of basic hearing aid features like volume control and switching programs.

  • Stylish and user-friendly – Looks good and is easy to use
  • Discreet – You won’t need to touch your hearing aids to adjust them
  • Function Control of hearing aid functions like volume and programs
  • Feature activation – Verbal or tone cues confirm your selection
  • Small and intuitive design that will fit on your keychain
  • Lock switch – Prevents accidental activation

Check with one of our technology specialists to see if your hearing aids are compatible with a wide array of hearing aid wireless accessory options from all the major manufacturers.

Assistive Technology

Due to technological advancements in recent years, today’s hearing aids do an excellent job of helping people meet many of their communication needs. However, sometimes there are situations where additional technologies may be needed. For example, some hearing aid users may continue to experience difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, from a distance, as when watching TV or attending a movie or play, or while listening on the telephone. At Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center, we offer comprehensive assistive listening devices.

How Assistive Technology Can Help

Many auditory and non-auditory devices — collectively known as Assistive Technology, Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), or Hearing Assistance Technology (HAT) — are available to help people with all degrees of hearing loss. These devices can help facilitate improved face-to-face communication, reception of electronic media, telephone reception, and reception of important warning sounds and situations.

Devices to Facilitate Face-to-Face Communication and the Reception of Electronic Media

Auditory assistive listening devices can be thought of (roughly) as “binoculars for the ears.” By placing a remote microphone next to the talker (or loudspeaker) or by connecting directly into the sound source (TV, DVR, MP3 player, etc.), these devices bring the desired sound closer to one’s ear(s) before it has a chance of being mixed with noise and reverberation. The “captured” sound is then sent to the listener via a “hardwired” or “wireless” link. Three wireless systems can be used: FM (see below), infrared or inductive (audio loop). In order to use these systems, the hearing aid must be equipped with either a “telecoil” or a feature called “direct audio input (DAI).” DAI allows very tiny FM receivers to be plugged into the bottom of the hearing aid. DAI or a telecoil also allow body worn FM and infrared receivers to be used with more styles of hearing aids. Finally, a telecoil allows the hearing aid itself to function as the receiver when listening to a room-sized inductor (room loop) installed in a building (e.g. church, movie house). For greatest listening flexibility ask for hearing aids with telecoils built into them. And, if you want to have the opportunity to use the latest tiny FM receivers, think about purchasing behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids equipped with DAI.

Two types of visual systems are available to help people understand speech at a meeting or other live event: Computer-Assisted Note taking (CAN) and Communication Access Real Time Translation (CART), also known as Real Time Captioning.

Devices to Facilitate Telephone Reception

Special telephone amplifiers are available that replace the telephone handset, attach to the phone between the handset and the phone (in-line amplifiers) or attach to the handset and are powered by a battery (portable amplifiers). Each of these amplifiers can be used with or without a hearing aid. These standard telephone amplifiers can be coupled to a hearing aid either acoustically or inductively. With acoustic coupling, the amplifier is held up to the hearing aid’s microphone. While this tends to work well with a CIC hearing aid, it may result in an annoying whistling sound (feedback) with the larger hearing aid models. However, if the larger models are equipped with a telecoil, then the hearing aid can be set to “T” and held next to the amplifier, with no feedback.

Special telephones with built-in amplification are also available in both standard and wireless handset models. Also available are devices that enable you to use your hearing aid(s) with a digital cell phone for distortion-and noise-free reception. For those who cannot understand over the voice telephone, even with amplification, there are other options such as the Voice Carry Over (VCO) or “read and talk” telephone. Used with the telephone relay service, VCO allows you to talk directly to the other party while an operator translates what the other party says to you into print that is displayed on a small LCD screen.

Alerting Devices

Alerting devices allow hard of hearing and deaf people to be aware of many environmental sounds and situations in the home, in school or in the workplace, as well as for travel and recreation. Such systems use either microphones or electrical connections to pick up the desired signal and hardwired or wireless transmission to send the signal to you in a form to which you can respond. For example, when someone presses the doorbell button, when the phone rings or the fire alarm is activated, these events can trigger a flashing incandescent or fluorescent light, a loud horn, a vibrational device (pager, bed shaker), or a fan.

Which System is Best?

A broad assortment of auditory and non-auditory technology is available to assist in removing the communication barriers of everyday life. Your hearing healthcare professional should be able to help you select the best system, or combination of systems, based on your own unique communication needs and lifestyle.

Reprinted with permission from the Better Hearing Institute
Cynthia Compton-Conley, Ph.D. – Gallaudet University, Washington, DC