For many years now (well, for as long as mobile phones have been around at least), users of your average hearing aid have complained that they still have frequent troubles in taking part in conversations over a mobile phone, even when they have their hearing aids in.
For this reason, a fairly large proportion of those suffering from hearing loss have decided that it is simply not worth the hassle, and have instead opted to converse via the medium of text messages.
This is surely a ridiculous problem to be having in the 21st Century, in the digital age. Why should people who rely on hearing aids have such difficulties when trying to chat over the phone?
If the majority of us can natter away with no trouble, it certainly seems unjust that others can’t. Hearing aid technology has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, so why can’t we get them to work in tandem with mobiles?
What Is the Problem Here?
The problem is actually rather straightforward – the electronics inside the mobile phone cause a certain amount of electrical interference with the stuff inside the hearing aid. Sadly, it’s not as simple to solve as it is to diagnose.
Of course, the amount of interference caused can vary significantly depending on both the model of hearing aid and the mobile phone in question – some people might experience no problems at all whereas others may find their phones rendered entirely unusable.
Can the Problem Be Fixed?
With all the time and money going in to hearing aid research and development, you would think that a solution would have been developed by now. Thankfully, you would be thinking correctly – there is a solution, and its name is Bluetooth.
Bluetooth uses a wireless radio signal over a short distance – usually somewhere in the 30-40 feet radius, though this has been steadily increasing for some time now – to overcome the tricky problem.
Bluetooth is already built in to the majority of decent phones, and tends to be used to swap pictures and videos for free, with no special attachments required. Wireless printers and a number of stereo systems use it as well, as do gadgets like the PS3’s controllers – it’s not an uncommon bit of tech.
How Does Bluetooth Work with Hearing Aids?
To put it simply, Bluetooth can improve hearing aid technology to no end, specifically in regards to using a mobile phone. By putting Bluetooth tech inside your digital hearing aids, it will be able to connect to you phone and transmit the sound coming from it directly into your ear canal.
This means the sound you’re hearing will be much clearer, making it easier for you to hear what’s being said, but also that you don’t actually need to be holding your phone – just like an in-car headset, you only have to be near the receiver.
Even better, the receiver doesn’t have to be your mobile: some TVs, stereos and MP3 players are compatible with Bluetooth!