01 November 2016 - 12302 Views
Nearly all hearing aids currently on the market from every manufacturer can stream music from an Android, or any other smart phone that has bluetooth capability. You will need to have a bluetooth accessory item which will be paired with the phone as well as the hearing aids. There are several manufacturers (Resound, Starkey, and Oticon) that have models which do not require an extra accessory, however this direct streaming functionality only works with iphones at the present time.
It's very, very important to understand how hearing aids work with the various phones via Bluetooth. It's easy to be mislead by some manufacturers claims of "Made for iPhone," "No need for Streaming Device," and the like. The most important thing to get is "made for iPhone" or Bluetooth built into the hearing aid, has two BIG limitations. The first is radically reduced battery life, because Bluetooth is a power hog. You can expect 2-4 days per battery when the aid has Bluetooth in it. The second thing is talking on the phone. Although these aids can stream music and books on tape, etc. to your aids beautifully without the need for a "Streamer/intermediary device" around your neck of clipped to your jacket, you will not be able to talk on a telephone call "Hands Free" without a Streaming/intermediary device. You will literally have to hold the phone in your hand to your mouth to be heard by the other person, and especially if you have any noise around you, like in a car. For people like me, the primary reason I want Bluetooth to my phone is "hands free" calling while driving, shopping, typing, etc.. Very few of my clients stream music or other recorded media from their phones. They want to talk on the phone "hands free". So, Starkey and Resound require a "intermediary device" with microphones, clipped to the outside of your clothing, near your mouth, to pick up your voice when you're on a call. I've found most of the streamers, and microphone clips, made for hearing aids have two shortcomings. First, omnidirectional microphones with poor or no directionality to reduce surrounding noises. Thus, when in a car, the person you're speaking with may complain they can't hear you over the background noise. Second, these devices tend to have rather short battery lives, typically a couple hours of continuous streaming. It is for these reasons, I prefer Signia/Siemens technology. The EasyTek streamer has a 6 hour battery before recharging, and it has an exceptional directional microphone system that make the users voice amazingly clear in noise, and even when the device is worn, out of sight, under 2-3 layers of clothing.
01 November 2016 - 12281 Views
As others have mentioned, many hearing aids can do this with a box in between. iPhones don't need the box anymore on many models, but virtually all Android-based phones do. The reason is purely hardware driven. iPhones are a closed architecture (which some would say is an advantage and some would say is a disadvantage), but Android is open architecture, which means every single model by every different manufacturer essentially runs a slightly different version of Android to work with their specific, ever-changing hardware. As a result, if a manufacturer were to put in a lot of R&D on making say a Samsung Galaxy 7 able to stream without a box, it wouldn't work on ANY other Android device, indcluding a Galaxy 6 or a Note 7. Chances are very high that until a manufacturer or manufacturers agree to a closed standard, we will not see direct streaming of an Android device without an intermediary box. It is a shame because many of my patients are loyal Android users, but I have had a handful that have switched to iPhone just because it works more completely with their hearing aids. Hope this helps!
01 November 2016 - 12290 Views
In our practice we use different hearing instruments. that are paired with streamers. In our experience Phonak has many options such as their ComPilot II, ComPilot Air II. Widex has their Com-Dex, and Uni-Dex. Siemens or Signia has their easytek. Quite honestly, some of these stremers require more updates with firmware and also the app. Phonak and Widex streamers tend to be more stable. The Siemens Easytek has given many of our patient’s problems. All of the above three have apps available at the google play store that are android and apple friendly. I tend to stay away from Resound because of the fact when speaking to someone on the telephone I would need to put the phone to my mouth so the person can hear what I'm saying which defeats the purpose of wireless in my opinion. For just streaming to the ears, Resound is a good solution, but for conversation on the phone, which people need to do, we stick with the above manufacturers. Connectivity Phonak and Widex are our top choices in connectivity.
The best thing to do is to definitely explain that this is important to you and work with your hearing care professional to come up with the most appropriate solution for you. Keep in mind battery drain, total duration of streaming time as well as talk time on the phone. In all cases, the more you know about what you can and can't do with these options will impact your satisfaction.
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