Bluetooth Hearing Aid Basics
Hi, I’m Dr. Egan from Now Hear This and today I’m going to talk to you about how hearing aid Bluetooth technology works.
And one of the important things to keep in mind is that hearing aid Bluetooth is not the same as traditional Bluetooth found in wireless earbuds or wireless speaker systems. It is created primarily for the use of connecting via Bluetooth to a smartphone. So, you know, there are other accessories that can connect to hearing aids for wireless Bluetooth streaming of say computers, of the TV, things like that, but I’m going to focus on the built-in Bluetooth in most modern hearing aids, and that connects with smartphones.
So, Bluetooth technology works with both Android and iPhone. That being said, hearing aid Bluetooth technology in all seven hearing aid manufacturers works with iPhone, but only certain models of hearing aids and certain manufacturers of Android, Samsung, or Galaxy, or any of those different models are compatible. So, if you are someone who has an iPhone who’s thinking about connecting to Bluetooth hearing aids, you are in luck! If you are someone who has an Android phone from the past year to two years who wants to connect to hearing aids, you’re probably safe, but again, with Android it comes down to the specific make and model for if it is compatible with Bluetooth.
When hearing aids are connected via Bluetooth to a smartphone there are two different primary capabilities. One is that the hearing aids can be connected to an app which gives you, the user, access to things like volume control, change in programs. And again the app functionality comes down to which brand you are using and those are all specific to the different hearing aid manufacturers, but all seven manufacturers have an app that can be downloaded on to smartphones and used as kind of a remote control in a sense. The second feature of Bluetooth hearing aids and connecting to smartphones is wireless Bluetooth streaming. So, when you think of those people in the grocery store who have something in their ear and it looks like they’re talking to themselves, but they’re actually talking to someone else, that’s exactly how wireless Bluetooth streaming works.
And all these things are very customized to the specific person, their hearing loss, their current hearing aids, and phone setup. And so, we always recommend having an audiologist set that up for you when you come in for an appointment. That’s a little tricky to do at home on your own. Once you are acclimated and we’ve gone over how to use the app and how Bluetooth streaming works, things are usually smooth sailing from there. But every once in a while, people get a new phone, or there’s a big firmware update for your phone that changes the software and causes glitches with different apps. And so, every once in a while this does happen and people run into issues with their Bluetooth streaming or their Bluetooth remote control. And when that happens, we try to send out emails to all our patients so we can give them “Hey, the software update is coming out,” “Hey, you might run into issues, here’s some troubleshooting you can do.”
But when people continue to run into issues, a really great thing now is that pretty much all hearing aid manufacturers have a Bluetooth support hotline, and that’s great because I love seeing my patients, I’m happy to help them with their phones, but most people prefer to just call someone, have them walk them through it in the comfort of their own house and without having to drive in and wait for an appointment and all those kinds of things. So, we have a great resource at our clinic that lists all the different hearing aid companies and their different Bluetooth support lines. If you are watching this video from our website, that resource should be listed below. If you are watching from YouTube, I will try to embed it in the information about this video as well.
But overall, having Bluetooth can make a huge difference for people. When someone first gets hearing aids, it’s really nice to have that remote control to adjust that volume, because there’s a lot for the brain to get used to, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. So, it’s really nice to have an easy way to turn it down instead of pressing tiny buttons on the back of your ears. But a lot of our folks with more significant hearing loss, or our folks who are used to streaming audiobooks, music, things like that as they go on walks or about their day really enjoy the Bluetooth streaming, because not only does the signal go to both of their ears wirelessly, it also has that additional amplification that’s built into the programming of your hearing aids for a much more crystal clear sound.
So, those are the basic functions. If you need specific help, I recommend you check out the different manufacturer support hotlines for help with that, or of course, you can always call our clinic to schedule additional assistance with an audiologist. I hope you learned something from this video and if you did, feel free to like and subscribe so you can stay up to date on all sorts of other things with our clinic and other information about hearing aids. And of course, have a wonderful rest of your day!
Seeking patient technical support for your Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Signia, Starkey, Unitron, and Widex Bluetooth hearing aids? Access the following PDF for assistance.