Cell Phone Accessories for Hearing Aids
Although the FCC now requires that hearing aid compatible (HAC) cell phones meet strict guidelines for quality, some hearing aid users wish to further improve their cell phone experience. Add-on devices and cell phone accessories can make cell phones even more compatible with hearing aids.
Many cell phones can be used with hearing aid telecoils. Hearing aid accessories that provide a hands-free option may also be helpful.
What is a Telecoil?
Telecoil (also known as t-switch or t-coil) is a telephone switch feature that is now built in to about 45% of all hearing aids. If you are unsure if your hearing aid has this feature, contact your hearing specialist or the hearing aid manufacturer.
HAC devices and accessories support hearing aids that have the telecoil feature.
You can use a Bluetooth accessory and have a Bluetooth signal sent to your telecoil through a neckloop or earhook silhouette from phones that support Bluetooth technology.
What is a Neckloop?
A neckloop is a necklace-sized wire that connects to many devices including HAC phones and accessories, and can be worn around the neck and adapted to telecoil hearing aids. Neckloops generate a weak magnetic signal that is recognized by the telecoil and amplified by the hearing aid. Neckloops are popular with many hearing aid users because they can drive both hearing aids and do not require wires running to the hearing aids.
Modern Hearing Aids don't just function in isolation as a solitary right or left unit. Many have communication, or connectivity, not only with each other, but other assistive devices that can allow the hearing aids to interact with cell phones, television, computers, and music devices. Wireless Accessories are, quite simply put, about expanding your world and the possibilities of what you will be able to hear clearly and effortlessly through your hearing instruments.
Using hearing aids with telephones has been an age-old dilemma. Wireless Connectivity in hearing aids has virtually solved this issue. Using a wireless accessory called a Streamer or a Phone Clip, we are able to connect your hearing aids to your Bluetooth enabled cell phone. It is a hassle free way to use your cell phone, and meets the hands-free requirements of using a cell phone in your vehicle. Your phone call is sent to your hearing aids via the accessory, which means you get the benefit of hearing your call through both ears, and through hearing aids that are perfectly adjusted for your hearing loss. The signal is clear and easy to understand, and with most accessories, you are able to easily adjust the volume up or down as needed. The accessory is equipped with a microphone to capture your voice and send the signal back to the cell phone, so there is no need to hold your phone near your mouth. Some Streamers are worn on a cord around the neck, while the Phone Clip can be attached to a shirt collar or pocket. Streaming accessories are rechargeable.
Even the latest generation of flat screen televisions is not typically equipped with built-in Bluetooth audio capability. Therefore, we have a very simple device that plugs into the Audio Output jacks on your television or cable box to enable even older model TVs to connect wirelessly with new hearing aids. TV devices allow you to hear your TV clearly and easily at a volume that is comfortable for you, and everyone else who is watching!
Mini Microphones are among the latest wireless accessory, but are quickly catching on due to their versatility. A Mini Mic can be used to connect to almost any Audio device, including a computer, stereo, MP3 player, or video game to deliver high quality sound to your hearing aids. It can be used to improve one-one-one communication, for instance by having your spouse wear it in the car so you don't have to turn to hear them. Or, it can be placed in the middle of a table to help improve conversations in a conference room or at a family gathering.
Another wireless accessory that improves functionality of hearing aids is the Remote Control. A variety of formats are available, from simple two button devices that adjust volume to more complex devices that allow you to navigate through different programs and give you visual confirmation of what you have done to adjust the hearing aids. Some remote control function of hearing aids is now availabe through Cell Phone Apps for iPhones, Droids and most smart phones.
The latest and greatest generation of connectivity in hearing aids allows the user to by-pass the use of accessories and connect directly to their Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. We are so pleased to offer this unique new product for our patients, and have found it to be extremely successful so far! Please click on the ReSound LiNX banner below for more information about this one of a kind product!
More About Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) Cell Phone Accessories
HAC cell phone accessories are beneficial to hearing aid users for several reasons. They put distance between the hearing aid and the cell phone, which can cut down on any buzzing or feedback, as well as decrease any interference between the two devices.
Some HAC accessories can give you hands-free cell phone usage, which is especially important if you plan on using your cell phone while driving. You may also be able to use the speakerphone function on some devices if you use the microphone mode on your hearing aid.
All major cell phone manufacturers are now required to make HAC cell phones available to hearing aid users, and many also have HAC cell phone accessories available as well.
It's a good idea to visit your cell phone carrier's local store and inquire about HAC phones and accessories, as well as try them out in the store with your hearing aid before making a purchase. Trying the phone with the device will give you a good idea of how well the accessory will work for you.
Keep in mind that some phones and devices may work differently once you leave the store, so it is also a good idea to find out about any money-back or satisfaction guarantees.