Technology is running rampant nowadays. We are experiencing a massive boom in terms of the ever-advancing quality of our devices.
What feels like just a few short years ago, we were all using flip phones and chunky CRT televisions, and our hearing aids were bulky pieces of plastic that could only serve a single purpose. Nowadays, we have phones thinner than pencils, TVs thinner than our phones, and sleek hearing aids capable of all sort of things – most notably, Bluetooth functionality.
This article will sum up the history and functionality of Bluetooth hearing aids, but if you’d rather have a conversation about them, you can always set up a free appointment with a hearing specialist by filling out this form.
What are Bluetooth hearing aids?
Let’s rewind – what actually is a Bluetooth hearing aid?
Bluetooth – named, for whatever reason, after an old Norse king – is a wireless connectivity function boasted by a lot of tech nowadays. We won’t go into how it works, since it’s not the most engaging lecture – and, if we’re being honest, we don’t understand it.
As far as this article is concerned, you just need to know that it’s a way of wirelessly connecting one device to another – like your headphones to your phone, or your phone to your computer.
Knowing this, you can hopefully figure out what a Bluetooth hearing aid is – a hearing aid that can wirelessly connect to your phone or TV. It goes without saying that this is a handy feature for hearing aids.
It’s one thing to wear hearing aids and have the sound from the TV travel through the air to be digitally converted by your hearing aid. However, it’s another thing entirely to have the TV’s sound directly and appropriately streamed right into your ear.
And, as expensive as hearing aids can be, at the very least you might be able to save by not splurging on wireless headphones. Bluetooth hearing aids can connect to your phone or MP3 player and act exactly the way headphones would – streaming music (or whatever you want) straight into your head.
Benefits of bluetooth hearing aids
So why would you pick a Bluetooth hearing aid over a regular one? What are the benefits to spending a bit more for a hearing aid that can connect to a bunch of appliances rather than a nice and simple hearing aid with a single purpose?
If you consider yourself a technologically savvy person, then a Bluetooth hearing aid is a good move for you. You can connect it to all your stuff, and become one with your house – the closest thing we have to a modern-day cyborg.
But if you’re at one with nature, and prefer a life of zen simplicity, then a Bluetooth hearing aid might not be worth the extra cost. There are still hearing aids that serve one single purpose – improving your hearing. You won’t get many other bells and whistles from a model like this, but you might not need them.
Compatible bluetooth devices
What devices can actually be connected to your hearing aids? We’ve written an article on the kind of home technology that can benefit from a Bluetooth hearing aid, but we’ll briefly touch on them here.
Firstly, smartphones (like iPhones), tablets (like iPads), and smart watches (like Apple Watches) are all able to connect to your hearing aid, allowing you to listen to music and stream calls.
Some less obvious devices can include:
- Smart TVs, so they can stream sound straight to your hearing aids
- Smart doorbells, which notify you of any visitors or packages
- Smart security systems, which alert you to any break ins, whether they’re in or out of the house
It would be borderline impossible to list every device compatible with a Bluetooth hearing aid – we know there are some smart ovens, smart washing machines, or smart lawn mowers that have the capability to connect to your hearing aid, but to list them all would take days.
Best Bluetooth hearing aid
One of the best things about Bluetooth is that a hearing aid either has it or it doesn’t – you don’t have to worry about one hearing aid having “better Bluetooth” than the other.
We won’t go over every hearing aid with Bluetooth, mainly because we’re at the point where most modern day hearing aid models are already fitted with it. Obviously there are some exceptions – the cheaper you go, the less likely that your device will boast Bluetooth.
If you’re looking for a place to start, the hearing aids listed in our article “The Best Hearing Aid Brands” are all very recent, top-of-the-line products – meaning that they’re likely to include Bluetooth as a standard feature.
Listing the hearing aids that do and don’t include Bluetooth would be an arduous and futile effort. There are so many hearing aids on the market that by the time we finished listing them, even more would have been released.
If you’re in the market for hearing aids and specifically want one that offers Bluetooth connectivity, then make sure you tell your hearing specialist or hearing technology provider. They’ll be able to show you several options – finding a Bluetooth hearing aid is easier than ever!
Bluetooth hearing aid apps
However, some hearing aids go beyond simple Bluetooth capabilities. Basic Bluetooth functionality allows sound to be streamed directly to your hearing aids, but some hearing aid models or brands come with their own app that takes full advantage of the connection.
One example is ReSound, which boasts an abundance of four apps! These apps use Bluetooth to connect to your hearing aid, and can then be used to tune your hearing aid remotely, manage your tinnitus, and fully customize your hearing aids.
Another example of Bluetooth app compatibility comes from Starkey, which offers an earth-shattering five apps! These can measure environmental noise levels, relieve tinnitus, and allow you to make adjustments to your hearing aid on the fly.
Other hearing aid companies have created their own apps and services, so if you’re interested in finding out who offers what – you should know what we’re about to say by now – your hearing healthcare professional should be able to give you a rundown on what hearing aids are app-compatible.
TV to hearing aid Bluetooth adapter
A brief section on television hearing devices – devices that allow your hearing aids to connect to a television. Who would have thought!
One such device is the Starkey Surf Link Media, discussed in our Guide to Watching TV with Hearing Loss. This little middleman serves as a go-between from your TV to your hearing aids.
As you might be able to tell from the name, it will only work with Starkey hearing aids, but other manufacturers may offer similar products with their hearing aids. If you’d like to know which hearing aids have TV links, then ask your hearing technology provider if they have any insight, or call a hearing aid manufacturer’s support line.
Cost of bluetooth hearing aids
For such a versatile and handy device, you might be anticipating a devastating price point. However, Bluetooth hearing aids are no more expensive than any other medium-to-high grade models.
For one thing, most current hearing aid models already come with Bluetooth, meaning that you’ll likely be equipped with it whether you like it or not. You could go out of your way to spring for a model without Bluetooth, but as it’s become an all-but-standard inclusion, you’ll be looking at an older and possibly more antiquated model.
Bluetooth hearing aids roundup
This century’s technological boom is leading to all kinds of developments in the fields of medicine and entertainment. Combine the two, and Bluetooth hearing aids start to emerge and dominate the competition.
If you’d like to learn more about Bluetooth hearing aids and see if they’re appropriate for you, then your best bet is to fill out our quick and easy online form. It will set you up with a hearing specialist near you, where you can talk about hearing aids to your heart’s content.