Can I connect my hearing aids to Bluetooth-enabled devices?
Today’s wireless hearing aids make it possible for hearing impaired individuals to connect with personal electronic devices and stream signals directly to the hearing aid through the use of Bluetooth Technology.
A standard wireless communication platform, Bluetooth allows for the transfer of data between two or more electronic devices via high-frequency radio waves without interference or security risks. Wireless hearing aids can use compatible assistive listening devices, often called streamers, to provide a communication link between the wireless technology in the hearing aids and any Bluetooth-enabled device.
Patients should discuss their wireless connectivity needs during their initial consultation with their audiologist, who will recommend a set of wireless hearing aids and, if appropriate, a compatible streamer. The wireless hearing aids can either be paired directly to an Apple device (if labeled as Made for iPhone™) or with the streamer, and then the streamer can be paired with external devices.
Typically worn around the neck or placed in a pocket for hands-free operation, a streamer provides many opportunities that were previously unavailable to hearing aid users. Depending on the device:
- The audio signal may be set to stream to one or both hearing aids.
- The streamed signal may be amplified and shaped to match the hearing aid’s personalized settings.
- The volume of the stream may be controlled by the streamer or the hearing aids.
- In the case of use with a music player, the hearing aids can become a set of wireless ear buds.
- In the case of use with a phone, you can stream the signal to just one hearing aid and keep the other one monitoring the other sounds in the room.
Multiple devices can usually be paired to one streamer, so you can easily switch between devices. There may also be capabilities for remotely changing the volume or program from the streamer. This is especially useful if your hearing aids are too small to accommodate external controls.
If you have a question about hearing health, contact our expert audiologists.