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Colorado Springs

Audiology, Inc.

 

Phone  719.520.1155

LOCATION  & DIRECTIONS

 

Dr. Gene McHugh

Licensed Audiologist

In Colorado

 

OFFICE HOURS

Mountain Time USA

Mon-Thurs

9:00AM-5:00PM

Closed Fridays

 

 © Copyright 2017 

 

 

 

 (((((Wireless))))) Hearing Aids

"Wireless" hearing aids have, in addition to the function of the hearing aid, a short-range transmitter and receiver.  The  main benefits of wireless hearing aids are:

  •  It allows hearing aids to communicate with one another - so, for example the hearing aid in the right ear can communicate with the left, and vice versa;

  •  It allows hearing aids to be connected to other devices, most notably "Bluetooth devices;" and,

  • It allow the person fitting your hearing aids to "program" your hearing aids without specially designed cables.

HEARING AIDS COMMUNICATING WITH ONE ANOTHER
The
"Wireless" hearing aid - is not a new idea.  In the late 1970's, Telex introduced an wireless hearing aid for people with one-sided deafness.  The deaf (or unaidable) ear would be fit with a microphone + FM radio transmitter, which would then send signals to an FM receiver on the better (aided) ear.  The wireless hearing aid was born!

Today's digital hearing aids basically use the same concept but they have more applications and the signal is no longer FM.  Kind of like your home's internet system, digital hearing aids continuously "stream" information back and forth between hearing aids to......

♥ Provide true stereophonic hearing with all of its advantages, including enhanced word clarity in various listening situations and improving sound localization; and...

♥ Provide the very practical benefit to the user to adjust volume or programs* in both hearing aids by adjusting just one side.  This sounds simple, but technically quite sophisticated.

*Programs - The term "programs" meaning special hearing aid settings for select situations such as music, telephone, et cetera, normally  controlled by the user.

ALLOWING HEARING AIDS TO BE CONNECTED TO OTHER DEVICES
What most people and professionals think of regarding "wireless hearing aids" is the ability to connect their hearing aids directly to Bluetooth devices.  This is not the most important feature of wireless hearing aids and furthermore, wireless hearing aids are not by themselves Bluetooth compatible.  They require a device that communicates between your hearing aids and a Bluetooth-compatible device.  In the picture to the right, notice the device the user wears around her neck.  This is paired with a Bluetooth-compatible device (like a cell phone) and sends signals via short range transmitter to her wireless hearing aids.
PROGRAMMING HEARING AIDS WITHOUT CABLES
While this feature is not as beneficial to users, it is a very convenient benefit for practitioners. Nearly all hearing aids are tuned using a PC with proprietary software provided by hearing aid manufacturers.  For this to happen, your hearing aids must be somehow connected to the manufacturer's software.  Hearing aids that are "non-wireless" must be connected using cables with each model of hearing aid needing its own set of cables.  Wireless hearing instruments on the other hand, are connected wirelessly to a neck loop device that communicates with the computer.   
THE DISADVANTAGE OF WIRELESS HEARING AIDS
The only disadvantage of wireless technology is the faster drain on hearing aid batteries.  The effect of continuous streaming of data roaming between hearing aids takes a toll on battery life.  I estimate battery life is 25% worse, which translate to about $2-3 extra per month.