No matter how old you are, it can be difficult to keep up with every technological advancement. Some entered the mainstream years ago and became standard, while other tech trends came and went. Flip-phones have faded into history, while things like Bluetooth are still used today.
However, sometimes keeping up with technology is necessary. Many of us have started learning how to use apps like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Spotify, and Netflix to watch television, stream music, and stay in touch with loved ones. If you are a hearing aid wearer you might feel like it’s impossible to utilize these features without hassle, but that’s not the truth. Many hearing aids have become more connective to keep up with rising trends.
If hearing aids stayed the same forever, they would become dated and hard to use. For this reason, we as a hearing aid manufacturer are constantly upping our game to make sure our wearers are comfortable and satisfied. Existing concepts like better audio quality and noise filters are improved, while newer features like Bluetooth connectivity and Own Voice Processing are built upon.
Connectivity has been a focus in recent years, and for good reason. As mentioned above, many people have begun using technology in unique ways. Much of our communication is handled digitally, and things like video calls are easier than ever. We can speak face-to-face without being there in person and enjoy conversations with faraway friends and family members.
However, many people with hearing aids have problems taking phone calls, and dislike using headphones and other clunky headsets. Phone reception and audio quality suffer from time to time, and the added hassle of hearing aids can worsen the issue. Smartphone compatibility comes into play here, improving the way you make calls and stream audio.
With the proper hearing aids, you can alleviate many of the downsides to using cellphones while wearing hearing aids. The ability to connect your hearing aids with your smartphones and televisions has become a selling point for many people. Many of us use our cellphones every day, why not make it easier?
While many hearing aid compatible phones already do feature some level of integration, we have been working to improve this, tailoring the experience to the phone’s operating system to create a more seamless experience. For example, Apple has enabled the “Made For iPhone” standard in certain hearing aids, which allows you to connect them directly with your smartphone. Find out more in our helpful tutorials on our Signia YouTube channel:
Android users have similar options with our StreamLine Mic accessory. This accessory connects to your hearing aids and allows you to stream audio with no trouble. Applications also help with this, allowing users to toggle volume, sound quality, and other features from their phone. These days, Bluetooth has become the preferred method of connection, especially when working with wireless devices like hearing aids. The latest Signia hearing aids in particular feature Bluetooth-connectivity and direct streaming for phone calls.
For hearing aids not equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, there’s another option. Many people who buy hearing aids don’t consider the need for Bluetooth until they realize they don’t have it. The solution is easyTek technology, which connects with both devices and acts as a conduit. Your phone and hearing aids both connect to the easyTek cord, which can be worn around the neck like a headset.
Those with non-Bluetooth phones or landlines can benefit from hearing aid integration as well. TwinPhone, a program based upon the AutoPhone feature of previous hearing aids, circumvents the need for a streaming device. A magnet is attached to the landline or cellphone receiver, and your hearing aids will detect the signature. As long as you’re in range, the TwinPhone program will activate, transferring the phone signal over a wireless link.
With connective technology, you can make phone calls, stream audio, and use your phone how you want. Whether this involves FaceTiming, making business calls, or chatting with friends and family, having the freedom to use your phone freely is something many hearing aid wearers long for. However, connectivity doesn’t stop at your phone.
Many televisions can also use connective technology, allowing you to watch TV without hassle. No cords, no interference, and no rewinding. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids can use Signia streamLineTV, which connects to your television and allows you to stream the audio straight to your hearing aids. You control your personal volume, and you can move freely to gather snacks and visit the restroom.
EasyTek technology also allows for this concept with earlier hearing aid models. This TV transmitter technology functions in the same way, directing the audio straight to your hearing aids. Between StreamLine TV and TV transmitters, everyone can enjoy their favorite shows without the frustration of background noise.
Whether you have age-related hearing loss or have been hard-of-hearing your whole life, it’s always worth your time to check out new developments. New technologies might allow you to use your phone, watch TV, and hear the world around you in brand-new ways. Signia offers connectivity no matter what platform you buy, and accessories like StreamLine TV can round out your hearing experience. Technology might be evolving quickly, but we’re matching their pace.
As your hearing loss progresses, you may experience difficulties hearing all conversations, whether it’s a family meal, a night out with friends, or a trip to the cinema.
If you find it hard to follow what other people are talking about, it is also harder to be an active participant in interesting conversations. This is because hearing loss often causes you to miss out on many subtle cues. In contrast, people with normal hearing subconsciously realise when another person wants to speak because they hear things like when that person takes a breath before speaking. So in order to stay active, you need to be able to get back into the conversation. This requires that you can hear well.
If you have a hearing aid, your hearing care professional often can tune it more accurately to you. If you don’t already have a hearing aid, your hearing care professional can advise you about your options.
Your guide to staying sociable with hearing loss – www.oticon.globalCafes and restaurants add complexity. When you are talking to someone and there’s not much other sound, your conversation stands out clearly. But in noisier places like restaurants and other public places, the sound you want to hear is more mixed in with other sounds.
Perhaps you find one-on-one conversations are okay. There are less disturbing sounds, it is clear who should speak when, and you are generally close to each other.
But every new person who is added to a group adds much more complexity. If you think of a family meal or a dinner party, there are fast-paced changes of topic. Different people join into conversations and leave them. People talk at the same time, and across the room. And they get passionate and talk faster.
Often people with hearing loss find such situations harder to navigate. Here are a few simple, practical ways to make it easier for you.
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Making sounds louder is only part of the answer – it’s also about dealing with noise and focusing your hearing. Noise takes over your world If you have hearing problems, it can be harder to separate sounds from each other, so it’s harder to focus on what you want to hear.
All sounds seem to come at once in a general ‘wall of sound’ where background noise and speech are mixed together. You may hear people speaking, but it’s harder to pick it out; it’s harder to tell where the speech starts and stops. This is because with a ‘wall of sound’, you can hear, but it’s harder to focus on a specific sound.
You can’t tell where a sound is coming from so well, so it is difficult to switch attention quickly. You become less able to choose what you want to listen to.
To hear well, you need to be able to ignore some sound so you can focus on what you want to hear.
Watch video: The hearing aid that deals with noise in a new way
When you are talking to someone and there’s not much other sound, your conversation stands out clearly. But in noisier places like restaurants and other public places, the sound you want to hear is more mixed in with other sounds. You face clattering from the kitchen, mixed chatter from surrounding tables, and music competing for your attention.
It becomes harder to tune out the noise and focus on individual sounds. But it’s not impossible, as long as you’re aware of the noise challenges.
A good tip is to ask for a quiet table. And if you have Bluetooth® hearing aids, a personal microphone can help you by transmitting another person’s voice directly into your ears.
Part of being social can be going with friends and family to the cinema or theatre. Or perhaps you prefer lectures or presentations. In places like these, your hearing loss can cause some challenges. Fortunately, many public places have a built-in ‘teleloop’. These systems send the sound directly to a receiver in certain types of hearing aids. This is called a telecoil.
If you have hearing loss, your brain has to work harder to make sense of sound at social events like lively dinner parties and weddings. It becomes more tiring because you are tackling multiple conversations that evolve quickly and unpredictably. And there’s a lot of background noise from the kitchen, and maybe other parties.
Your brain is an amazing tool, and can draw on your memory to automatically fill in missing words and sounds so that you can understand the bigger picture. But it takes you much more mental effort.
So what to do?
Your ears gather sound. They gather all the sound all around you all the time – even when you are asleep. But it is your brain that makes sense of the sound. Your brain decides what to focus on, and what is noise to filter out.
Our brain has the extraordinary ability to focus on the sound of interest and ignore everything else. This ability is called ‘selective attention’. It is the brain’s own noise reduction system and it is very effective. However, as your hearing becomes poorer, your brain has less information on which to apply this selective attention function. Keeping up becomes difficult.
If you have hearing loss, conversations take up more mental energy. Maybe you’ve experienced that you get extra tired in the evening. The more noise and complexity the brain has to work in, the more effort it takes your brain.