Get Ready for the Bluetooth Hearing Aid

Published: 13th February 2009
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Technological advancements have gone far and beyond, even grabbing at and improving the once stale hearing aid technology. Hearing aids are the electroacoustic devices worn in or behind the ear to enhance a person's hearing. These are designed to amplify and modulate sound, in order to enable hearing in the hearing impaired. These days, apart from aiding the hearing of the hearing impaired, hearing aid technology has fused with Bluetooth technology to come up with the Bluetooth hearing aid. The Bluetooth hearing aid applies the Bluetooth wireless technology to hearing aids by allowing users to take calls using their hearing aids. There is no need to pick up the mobile phone and place the unit near one's ears. Placing mobile phone units can sometimes calls irritating feedback and audio interference. This hampers the quality of calls. With the Bluetooth hearing aid, sound emanating from the phone unit is immediately amplified. Likewise, hearing impaired individuals can relish some joys on things we have somehow taken for granted, like listening to the radio or watching television programs. Bluetooth hearing aids can fuse with gadgets equipped with Bluetooth; thereby enabling the enjoyment of their audio and video features. The additional advantage is that this enjoyment comes without the messy wirings. These types of technologically advanced hearing aids enable ease of use and access. Another problem that may be addressed by the Bluetooth hearing aid is the feedback and audio interference issue. With the conventional hearing aids, feedback from radio and phone units is common. A lot of hearing impaired individuals suffer from this daily. Bluetooth enhanced hearing aids may address this issue. While not all models guarantee such enhancement, there are obvious improvements, which make Bluetooth enhanced hearing aids a good investment. So far, only Starkey Labs manufacture Bluetooth technology that can be directly attached into behind the ear hearing aids. This is called the Ear Level Instrument (ELI) DirX, which uses the Europlug Direct Audio Input (DAI) connector. This DAI connector is then attached to the hearing aid, enabling wireless connection to Bluetooth devices within range. The DirX unit is equipped with a microphone that sends the user's voice input into to Bluetooth mobile phones. There is an on/ off button on the DirX for making calls. Starkey Labs also offer the neck loop DirX for hearing aids without the facility for DAI connectors. The behind the ear Bluetooth hearing aid costs about 300. The Bluetooth neck loop hearing aid enhancement is also being manufactured by Artone. They call their product the Bluetooth Inductive Neckloop/ Loopset. This unit works with the hearing aid through a telecoil. This product costs about 200. The disadvantage of the neckloop hearing aid option is the cumbersome wiring that comes with it. in a way, the neckloop is an additional accessory attachment and may prove uncomfortable. With the behind the ear hearing aid option, there is low technology adoption because only thirty percent of hearing impaired individuals actually use behind the ear hearing aids. Behind the ear hearing aids are larger and more prominent. A lot more users want the in the ear hearing aids because they are less obvious and fit directly into the ear canal. With no immediate way to adapt Bluetooth into in the ear hearing aids, the use of Bluetooth hearing aids is limited to the thirty percent who use the behind the ear hearing aids. Likewise, there are criticisms that these Bluetooth enhancements are merely adaptors of Bluetooth technology and not actual improvements in the functioning of hearing aids. These critics say that voice and reception quality may not have really improved; and that sometimes sound is even clearer to just bring the phone up next to one's ear. Regardless of the critique, Bluetooth technology is a clear enhancement of hearing aids. To enable access to Bluetooth devices with just the hearing aid is a step forward as it is. For the hearing impaired, this can make a lot of functions more easier and more convenient. The technical limitations may be just something we need to live with for now, as specialists further develop the fusion of these two technologies. These technical limitations do not take away from the essence of the technological fusion that, like in all technological advancements, is designed to make life a little bit easier and a little more fun. Hearing impaired individuals can find value and enjoyment in Bluetooth hearing aids, even with these limitations. Likewise, they can look forward to improvements of what is currently available to them - in time and as long as there is the need.

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