While in days gone by hearing aids were often clunky and oversized devices that limited what the wearer could do – such as listening to music or talking on a mobile phone while wearing their hearing aid – these days, they’ve come on in leaps and bounds regarding their advanced technology. Indeed, thanks to a new wave of Bluetooth hearing aids, wearers no longer have to pick and choose between using a hearing aid, or accommodating a pair of earbuds.
A technology that was first launched in the late 1990s, Bluetooth was originally designed to transfer data over short distances, from one device to the next. And in the years that have since passed, Bluetooth technology is now used across a wide variety of products including mobile phones, music players, computers, tablets, and televisions.
Benefits of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
In previous years, if you wanted to comfortably wear headphones to listen to music, you’d have to take off your hearing aids, which also meant that the sound quality was subsequently reduced. These days, however, Bluetooth solves this problem by turning your hearing aids into headphones.
They work by connecting wirelessly to devices including a TV, computer, smartphone, or tablet, which means that listeners can have easy access to high-quality music and movie dialogue.
However, it’s important to note that some hearing devices are compatible with Bluetooth instead of having the specific technology themselves. This means that they can communicate with any Bluetooth-enabled device using a Bluetooth streamer – which is a small tool that links your devices to your aids – and while this won’t affect the functionality or the sound quality – it does mean you will need a streamer. On the plus side, for those who already have hearing aids, rather than replacing them, you can simply purchase a steaming device (often worn around the neck or clipped onto the lapel), to enjoy the vast benefits of Bluetooth.
As with all medical conditions, it’s essential that you consult with a professional – and in this case an audiologist – about any devices you’d like to use with your hearing aids so that you can get a better understanding of how best to use them to ensure that the technology is compatible.
Considerations for and against
There is an endless wealth of benefits when it comes to opting for these hearing aids over their traditional counterparts, which include – but aren’t limited to…
- You’re able to take calls directly with your hearing aids
- You’ll enjoy superior sound quality when using your computer
- You can connect your hearing aids to the TV and adjust your hearing aid volume to a comfortable level that works for you.
- You’re able to connect to multiple devices at once so you can switch between listening to the TV and taking a call with little effort.
However, it’s important to bear in mind the following if you’re currently trying to choose between Bluetooth and a more traditional device…
- Bluetooth hearing aids use more battery than traditional devices. Hearing aid batteries are relatively cheap, however, it’s important to factor this in when calculating the costs versus more traditional hearing aids.
- Certain manufacturers’ Bluetooth aids still require a small streamer pendant, which can be worn around your neck or in your pocket. It may not work without it.
- You may need to be near the device to use your Bluetooth hearing aids. For example, if you’re moving between rooms while using Bluetooth to listen to music on your laptop, your Bluetooth hearing aids may stop working after a certain distance.