Are there hearing aids that can connect to Bluetooth devices using the standard Bluetooth protocol, without requiring additional accessories?

Christine Pickup, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

15 February 2017 - 7.77K Views

The latest Made for iPhone hearing instruments do not need an a relay device to interface with other technology such as an iPhone or iPad.  There are several manufacturers which make hearing aids that are Bluetooth enabled, but all are based on Apple's BLE due to size restrictions.  If you wish to connect beyond an iPhone or certain Android devices (with a landline phone or TV for instance), you will still need an accessory of some sort.  Which manufacturer's devices may be best for your needs depends on your hearing loss and communication goals.  Most independent hearing healthcare providers will provide you with access to more than one device so that you can find your best match.  

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Tiffany Ahlberg, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

15 February 2017 - 7.78K Views

Yes there are many options. The first company to offer this was GN Resound. Their current devices are called the Linx2 9. Starkey also has the Halo 2 and recently came out with a smaller version of this device. Oticon came out with the OPN about 6 months ago. Widex came out with the Beyind a few months ago. All of these are Blutooth directly to The newer iPhones. Android devices such as the newer Gakaxy's can have remote control capabilities via an app but only the iPhone offers remote control and audio thru the devices. There is a higher battery drain with the Bluetooth devices. I hope this answered your question. 

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Evan Bernstein, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

16 February 2017 - 7.76K Views

Currently, there are hearing aids that directely connect to iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link from Apple of all the brands and models that are compatible with the iPhone.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201466

 

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Erin Wright, AuD

Hearing Healthcare Provider/Audiologist

16 February 2017 - 7.76K Views

The answer is no.  A hearing aid uses two methods to stream sound.  A 2.4GHz frequency band plus low emission bluetooth.  So, as the Audiologists below mentioned, you can stream audio to certain made for iphone (MFi) hearing aids but can only stream from iphone, ipad, ipod devices.   The bluetooth technology can operate things like remote control, but not audio input.

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Charles Darby PhD, MA, BC-HIS, BC-HIS

Hearing Healthcare Provider

15 February 2017 - 7.77K Views

There are hearing aids that use Bluetooth streaming direct to the iPhone. The most well known are the Starkey Halo and the Resound LiNX. To my knowledge there are no aids that will workk with android devices without a 3rd piece of equipment.  The two mentioned above are both excellent units and provide direct Bluetooth connections but only to iPhones. Additionally, the units allow many other features like geocaching and directional voice amplification via the iPhone. It's important to note that the Bluetooth streaming is one way, i.e., your voice, during phone calls, must still be picked up by the iPhone mic requiring a 2-3 ft range from the iPhone. Should you wish to stream music from a stereo or sounds from your TV, it requires an additional streaming device. The Bluetooth connection is not available direct from TV's or from sources other than the iPhone. 

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Julie Norin, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

15 February 2017 - 7.77K Views

Yes, there are currently three manufacturers who offer products with direct-connect Bluetooth capability (no need for a streaming accessory). Those include products that are deemed "made for iPhone," however they can also pair with Android phones (just limited in terms of audio streaming). Currently, Resound, Oticon, and Starkey all have hearing aids that will connect to a mobile device via Bluetooth without a streamer. The mobile device can be used as a remote control, and (depending on the product and the phone or tablet being used) to stream audio such as phone calls and music. 

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