In recent years, a number of technologies associated with more mainstream products have made their way into the hearing aid vernacular. Having spent many years working on hearing aid development and specifically, the way to market and differentiate them, these technology transfers have been manna from heaven. What greater way to justify the high ticket price put on privately bought hearing aids than to attach technology associated with other high price ticket items. One technology in particular seems rather de rigueur and that is Bluetooth. So what can it deliver in terms of hearing benefit to the user of hearing aids equipped with this feature?
Well, to understand that, one needs to understand Bluetooth and what it does. Bluetooth is simply a wireless communication platform or protocol. It allows information to be sent from one piece of hardware to another, in much the same way as infra-red or radio waves are used to transfer information without the need for physical connection. It is mainly associated by most people with mobile technology, but when it comes to hearing aids, it allows the Bluetooth ones to connect with other Bluetooth enabled devices, including other hearing aids. So hearing aids on either side of the head can communicate with each other resulting in an ability to adjust themselves based on information from both hearing aids and to do so simultaneously. It also enables the hearing aids to connect to mobile phones and other devices through the Bluetooth platform. To explain it in plain words - your hearing aid will serve as a headset while you are listening to your MP3 player, TV or radio.
Bluetooth technology has also managed to diminish the annoying feedback effect that often occurs when hearing aid users are talking on the phone. The whistling sounds can be so frustrating that this type of communication, an integral part of modern life, becomes too hard to utilise. Bluetooth will help stream the receiving tone directly into the hearing aid for a clearer and more natural sound.
Bluetooth technology is without a doubt a great advantage, but as with all additional features, which increase a hearing aid's price, it is necessary to consider whether they are able to fit your individual needs. To do this, you can consult with your audiologist or contact any of Hearing Direct's hearing specialists for further information.
As a beginning, you can have a look at some of the Bluetooth hearing aids available in our catalogue. The Siemens Pure range, for example, is a great example of reliability, modern design and advanced solutions. It is available in 4 technological levels - Pure 101 (6 channel processing), Pure 301 (8 channel processing), Pure 501 (12 channel sound processing) and Pure 701 (16 channel sound processing). The Pure range offers several impressive features and characteristics:
- Modern, discreet design
- Telecoil and Bluetooth wireless technology
- Siemens renowned Best Sound Technology that enables the users to enjoy a rich and natural sound and adjusts to their own individual needs and preferences.
- Sound quality is further enhanced by the new miniReceiver
- Directional Microphones
- Feedback cancellation and noise suppression systems
- Tinnitus noise management
Another great device that is worthwhile considering is the Agil Pro, which is currently on a very attractive sale at Hearing Direct. Its most distinctive features are:
- Spatial Sound 2.0, which helps create a more detailed and authentic sound scene, in order to deliver a high quality sound.
- Spatial Noise Management and TriState Noise Management for excellent speech understanding even when in noisy surroundings.
- Binaural Dynamic Feedback Cancellation 2
- Speech Guard - responsible for supreme speech quality, by preserving speech dynamics and pattern. It is especially helpful in difficult listening situations or when you have to follow a conversation between several people.
- Oticon's ConnectLine that delivers sound from other sound devices (TVs, phones, etc.) directly to the user's ears through Bluetooth connectivity.
Original article date 19/12/2011, updated 21/5/2014.