Hearing technologies have come a long way. But even though we’d like to believe that these tiny devices have the best advances, probably because they do, the wider world of technology has made a few upgrades too. You might have noticed? There seems an endless source of new gadgets and gizmos that make our lives easier, more functional and more enjoyable. But if you have a hearing loss, you’ll probably be interested in how to get the most out of these technologies. Hearing aid manufacturers have improved connectivity to the technology we use in our daily lives through streamers, remotes, phone clips and mini-microphones. And to help you keep it all straight, YourHearing has made a list of technologies that can be used to connect you to your gadgets.
Wireless listening devices for bluetooth connectivity
ConnectLine by Oticon: Oticon’s ConnectLine technology includes the dynamic Streamer Pro 1.2. Worn around the neck, Streamer Pro 1.2 transmits various sound sources—television, computer, phone—directly into your hearing aids. It does this two-ways either through direct connection or wirelessly. According to the manufacturer, “When hearing aids are linked to Streamer Pro, practically any audio source can be transmitted through Streamer Pro to the hearing aids using a wireless Bluetooth connection or a mini jack cable.” Oticon Streamer Pro is part of their ConnectLine. The ConnectLine is a system of assistive technology that includes streamers, remotes and microphones that can fill in those annoying listening gaps.
easyTek by Siemens/Sivantos: A remote control and streamer in one discreet and “stylish” device, the easyTek was designed to communicate with Bluetooth enabled devices. This means smart TVs, MP3 players, phones and other sound sources can be directly streamed into both hearing aids simultaneously. In addition, easyTek serves as a remote that allows users to adjust their hearing aids or stream from multiple sound sources. Because of its automatic situation detection this technology adjusts for streaming or calls. That means EasyTek doesn’t require constant user manipulation but automatically adjusts from streaming to calls.
Mini Blu RCU by Rexton: A wireless streaming device that is compact enough to be discreetly tucked in a pocket or worn around a user’s neck, the Mini Blu RCU serves as a remote and a wireless connector for your Bluetooth enabled technologies. It allows users to stream from two different sound sources with a flick of a button. This version has a longer lasting battery and is more compact than previous models.
Dex by Widex: Dex is a streaming line developed by Widex that delivers high quality sound from television, phone, computer and other sound sources without delays or echoes directly into your hearing aids. The battery has ten hours of operating time in which it not only delivers sound, but has the ability to block unwanted room sounds with a feature called, “Room Off.” Widex describes this feature as being able to, “temporarily switch the hearing aid’s microphone off and hear the TV sound only.”
SoundGate 3 by Bernafon: Designed to produce a clear and natural sound, SoundGate 3 provides a sophisticated solution to link your Bluetooth enabled technology to your hearing aids. Features include a muting system that allows users to eliminate all background noise to focus directly on the wanted sound source, like an MP3 player or mobile phone. SoundGate also serves as a remote and connects to the SoundGate App, which allows extremely discreet manipulation of hearing aid volume and connectivity to multiple devices.
ComPilot Air II by Phonak: A streaming device that uses Bluetooth technology, ComPilot Air II delivers sound from computers, televisions or phones. This easy to use technology can be paired with your phone and other audio sources. It delivers sound to both hearing aids simultaneously. And even when you are listening to music, it will alert users of a phone call and even announce the caller ID. Answering is a simple as pressing the large center button on the ComPilot Air II. According to the manufacturer, the ComPilot Air II makes streaming from laptop, tablet, or phone seamless and comfortable.
Wireless listening devices for social and work settings
undField by Phonak: Phonak’s hearing assistance system is designed for business to communicate with people with and without hearing loss. That’s because businesses are starting to realize that even people without hearing loss experience occassional difficulty in challenging listening environments. Soundfield enhances the sound systems in conferences, trainings and boardrooms, Phonak’s SoundField provides a, “A system that intelligently and automatically adapted its sound output and its settings to suit the specific noise environment of any room.”
myPal by Beltone: Is a compact microphone that can be placed near a speaker or sound source, so that the desired speech or sound is delivered directly to your hearing aids without distracting background noise. With easy volume control and a built in microphone that can capture sound up to 23 feet away, myPal is designed to make personal conversation in busy and noisy environments accessible to hearing aid users. In addition myPal can be connected to an MP3, iPad or your PC.
Unite by ReSound: Discreetly designed to be placed near a speaker or sound source, ReSound’s Unite can be used at a large gathering or in the comfort of your own car or even while watching the football game with friends. This small but powerful accessory delivers sound directly to your hearing aids cutting out background noise. Additionally using ReSound’s will allow users to turn their cell phone into a remote control that can switch between sound sources, enabling them to hear the speaker at the podium or those at their table.
Roger Focus by Phonak: Diminishing background noise for people with hearing loss in extremely challenging environments has been a goal for many manufacturers. The problem has always been developing technology that narrows in on wanted voices without increasing unwanted sounds. For example, if you are in a restaurant you want to hear the people at your table, but not the people at the next table. According to the manufacturer, Phonak’s Roger Focus system which includes the discreet Roger Pen microphone has done that and, “allowed significant speech recognition where it was previously impossible.” It has shown that this technology allows people with hearing aids to understand speech in a noisy situation, and over of approximately 50 feet, up to 62% better than people without hearing loss in the same situation.
FM SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL
SCOLA FM by Widex: Simplified with only a transmitter and a receiver, this system by Widex is designed for classroom use. The receiver connects directly to the student’s hearing aid and the transmitter is placed on a desk or area close to the teacher. No matter where the students sit in the classroom, the lecture is delivered directly into their hearing aid.
Amigo Star by Oticon: Small but with plenty of power, this system to boost hearing in the classroom is compatible with most hearing aids. According to the manufacturer, “By increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, Amigo Star combines FM with excellent sound quality to give children access to the sounds they need to hear clearly in order to make listening and concentration easier.”
As this list provides a lot of options when it comes to selecting a wireless listening technology, make sure to speak to your hearing health professional about which hearing technology would work best with you, your needs and your hearing aids. Need help finding a hearing health professional in your area? Not to worry, let YourHearing help you locate a provider.