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Bluetooth is a wireless communications technology which can replace electronic wiring and cables that connect many different kinds of devices, ranging from phones and headsets to medical equipment and hearing devices. Bluetooth enables hearing aids and ALDs to transmit sound over greater distances, so you can enjoy maximum mobility.

The advantages of using Bluetooth in hearing technologies is that the electronic signals suffer less interference, it allows connections with multiple devices, it’s hands-free, and the technology also allows binaural hearing, that is, hearing aids can speak with each other, so the sound quality is higher. Of course, these benefits also mean that batteries don’t last as long, and Bluetooth equipment may also require additional accessories to connect.

What’s Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a leading international standard in wireless communications. Bluetooth technology is used in billions of electronic products worldwide, including nearly every mobile telephone, laptop and tablet computer, as well as in new motor vehicles. And, Bluetooth is highly reliable – It’s already built into more than 40 million electronic medical devices.

In 2005, the first generation of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids was introduced. Soon after, hearing-aid manufacturers began producing products that could interconnect with cellular phones, televisions, MP3 players, computers, and other general electronic devices.

Bluetooth represents an important advance in hearing-aid technology. It empowers small digital devices to send information wirelessly over short distances. Thus, the technology allows hearing aids and other audio devices to communicate with each other.

Bluetooth greatly enhances the listening experience for hearing-aid wearers. Still, as with any form of technology, there are both pros and cons to using Bluetooth in hearing aids.

Pros of using Bluetooth

Signal stability.   Bluetooth devices use redundant multiple communications channels to ensure that sound signals are conveyed properly. This means that signals are unlikely to be lost due to electronic interference.

Higher-quality sound.  Bluetooth improves the quality of sound from hearing aids by reducing feedback, whistling and other unwanted noise.

Binaural hearing.   Bluetooth lets hearing aids communicate with each other as well as with other electronic and audio devices. This means that a wearer’s hearing aid or aids can discern and localize sounds in relation to the wearer’s position.

So, for example, although a conventional telephone can only be held up to one ear at a time, Bluetooth technology allows the hearing-aid wearer to hear the sound from that telephone in both ears at the same time.

Hands-free.  Bluetooth lets you talk on the phone “hands free” without any need to hold the phone up to your ear.

Simultaneous communication.  Bluetooth supports the use of multiple devices simultaneously, so you can be connected to your computer, cellular phone, or MP3 or DVD player and choose which device you wish to hear.

Wireless.  Most importantly, because Bluetooth is wireless it gives you complete mobility and freedom to move and communicate without wires.

Cons of using Bluetooth

Reduced battery life.  As with any electronic device, Bluetooth consumes electrical power, and it will drain hearing-aid and other batteries a bit more quickly during use than would devices lacking this technology.

Extra equipment.  Bluetooth hearing aids require an additional transmitter and streamer in order to connect with the other electronic devices in your car and home.

Setup pairing of devices.  When using Bluetooth, you’ll need a one-time setup for each new device that’s added to the system. The pairing “handshake” is necessary so that these different devices can communicate together, but this setup is only needed once, the first time the devices are used together.

Overall, Bluetooth offers a powerful enhancement for hearing aids. San Rafael Hearing Center specializes in helping people choose the best options to improve hearing.

We can show you the capability of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, and of course we can also fit, setup and connect your equipment for Bluetooth. Just contact us today!

If you’d like to hear more, and hear more clearly, we can help