Hearing loss: there’s an app for that!

Friday, January 17, 2014

By: Jessie Grzeca, AuD

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Your first home computer probably needed a floppy disc to boot up, but your teenager just asked you what a floppy disc is. Times change in a hurry! Now, without a disc, a fifteen pound monitor or the famous screeching that dial up internet used to create, you have a powerful computer all built into a pocket-sized phone that is not tethered to the wall. Now, think of the hearing aids that your grandfather used to wear and consider them the old, oversized computer that needed floppy discs to start up and made the annoying screeching noises. Think of today's hearing devices like a modern Smartphone.


Hearing loss: there’s an app for that!


Smaller, but better


Hearing aids are smaller even though they are significantly more advanced and automatic. They work quietly with no whistling, and they can go with you wherever you go. And yes, they can work with your Smartphone too! Bluetooth, the same technology that allows your laptop or phone to wirelessly connect to your printer, your phone to work through the speakers in the car, or a hand-free wireless headset to connect to your phone, can also work with your hearing instruments. Modern hearing instruments or hearing aids, even though they continue to get smaller, now commonly have Bluetooth capability built into them. So you can listen to music from your phone through the hearing aids instead of ear buds, you can easily and clearly complete a phone conversation without holding the phone to your ear or even taking it out of your pocket or purse. You can even pair your hearing aids to your TV at home, even if it didn't come with Bluetooth built in. This may allow you to independently set the TV volume to your preferred level without frustrating others in the room. OR you can mute the TV for the benefit of others while you watch and listen in comfort.


More than expected


In many cases, you are not just brought up to speed with the "good ears" around you, but you are surpassing them because today's technology can give you the sophistication common in the world around us. But even though the technology is sophisticated and advanced, using it is very easy. Usually, with some quick initial set-up which can be completed or guided by your audiologist, the use of these features requires very little manual adjustment on the part of the wearer. Hearing aids are meant to make hearing easier; their function should be easy too and that is what today's technology does!

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