Hearing Aids and Cellphone Applications

HEARING AIDS AND CELLPHONE APPLICATIONS

Written by: Kimberly Ledda, 4th Year Audiology Extern

Current hearing aid technology has advanced to connect directly with cellphones to provide a variety of functions. One of these functions includes directly streaming audio sources from cellphones to hearing aids without the use of an intermediary device (i.e. streamer). Additionally, hearing aid technology has progressed to use cellphone applications to control various hearing aid features to include changing the volume and programs.

Commonly used Cellphone Applications

Individuals with compatible hearing aids and cellphones may use an application created by the hearing aid manufacturer. Examples of commonly used cellphone applications include:

Signia
myControl: for direct to iOS hearing aids: to change program and volume, track sound levels and listening environments
touchControl: for Android and iOS cellphones: to change program and volume

Oticon
Oticon On: to change program and volume, locate lost hearing aids

It is important to note that not all hearing aids are compatible with cellphone applications. Hearing aids with technology from an older generation or older cellphones may not be compatible with these features or applications.

Advanced Cellphone Application Technology

Oticon has taken the technology associated with the Oticon On app and improved it for additional connectivity (Oticon, 2016). This advanced cellphone application allows the hearing aids to link to internet connected devices such as lights, doorbells, and voice recognition (Beck, 2017). With this application the hearing aid user can:

• Make a voice command: to have the hearing aids enter specific environmental programs
• Send alerts to loved ones: when the battery goes low
• Switch to a different program when the hearing aids are at a specific location via GPS: Ex. if you visit a specific restaurant regularly, when your cellphone GPS shows you have arrived at a specific location, the hearing aids will automatically switch into a pre-set background noise reduction program
• Receive notifications in your hearing aids from your home: when the alarm system goes off or when the doorbell rings
• Set voice reminders in your hearing aids: to take medications, walk the dog etc.

Conclusion

Cellphone applications are an excellent tool to help control hearing aids discretely and conveniently. Additionally, cellphone applications allow the hearing aid user to easily make adjustments when dexterity or vision difficulty limits the use of the button on the hearing aid case. Advanced levels of cellphone applications also allow for greater connectivity to life based functions with the hearing aids.

If you think you are interested in this technology, contact our office for a hearing aid consultation. If you currently have this technology and need assistance using it optimally, stay tuned for an Internet Café which will take place once a month during our walk-in-clinic time at the Exposition Blvd. office.

References
Beck, D., Nelson, T., Porsbo, M (2017). Connecting smart hearing aids to the internet via IFTTT. Hearing Review 24(2):36-37
Herbig, R. (2016). Signia MyControl. Retrieved from https://www.signia-pro.com/scientific_marketing/mycontrol_app_2/
Oticon (2016). IFFT. Retrieved from https://www.oticon.com/support/how-to/ifttt