Today, most electronic devices come with Bluetooth technology. This technology allows users to connect their devices to other Bluetooth-compatible devices, such as wireless headphones, to their smartphones. Thankfully, this technology has made its way to hearing aids as well.
Now, the best hearing aids connect with smartphones, becoming the norm on the market. However, smartphone hearing aid compatibility changes between manufacturers and the type of smartphone. Additionally, the abilities that come with the connection differ between the hearing aids.
The Benefit of Purchasing Hearing Aids with Smartphone Control
Just like using wireless headphones connected to your smartphone, hearing aids with smartphone connectivity offer extraordinary benefits. Interacting with your hearing aids via your smartphone is a seamless process.
Whenever you have your hearing aids connected to your smartphone, you can play any incoming calls you receive through your hearing aids. Rather than taking out your hearing aids or trying to play the sound into your hearing aids, you can effortlessly listen to the person calling you.
Hearing aids controlled by a smartphone also offer the advantage of managing the hearing aids’ volume using your phone. Depending on the app and the hearing aids, you can even control the left and proper hearing aid volume independently. Smartphone-connected hearing aids also offer the benefit of adjusting the settings and modes of your hearing devices from your phone.
Many hearing aids come with different listening modes that correspond to the level of noise in your environment. You can do so directly from your smartphone rather than take your hearing aids to change the modes. Some smartphone apps even offer advanced features like customizing your listening experience based on the data it collects.
Another highly beneficial aspect of hearing aids that work with smartphones is listening to directions while driving. As many drivers have switched from looking at directions on a GPS device or a smartphone to listening to directions, users can get directions fed directly into their hearing aids.
Hearing aids that work with smartphones offer many benefits. However, not all hearing aids and smartphones are made equally. The best smartphone for hearing aid wearers and the best hearing aids you can adjust with a smartphone are listed below.
The Best Hearing Aids for Smartphone Connection
LiNX 3D is an advanced digital hearing aid that offers exceptional signal-to-noise ratio and, of course, seamless smartphone use. In addition, the LiNX 3D can act as wireless headphones giving users powerful control over their listening experience.
The hearing aids come with the ReSound Smart 3D app that allows users to switch the settings, turn up or down the volume, and even has location detection capabilities if you misplace your LiNX 3D hearing aids. For users with tinnitus, the Smart 3D app even offers soothing sounds to help individuals cope with the symptoms.
The Starkey Livio AI is another exceptional smartphone-compatible hearing aid. The hearing aid comes with superior sound, a 24-hour battery life, and the ability to stream music, TV shows, phone calls, and more with its smartphone app. Beyond hearing, the Livio AI is a wellness tracking device that offers body and brain tracking.
Using Starkey’s Thrive Hearing App, users can monitor their body and brain health while adjusting their hearing aids. In addition, users can control their hearing aids just like they would a TV using a remote. Furthermore, the Thrive Hearing App provides translation and transcription services. All in all, Starkey has made a powerful hearing aid compatible with a smartphone app that gives even more control than users could wish for.
The Evoke 312 D is a smart hearing aid that effortlessly changes its settings based on the environment. As a result, the hearing aid offers a crisp, clear sound no matter the environment. What’s more, Widex’s Evoke App allows users to control their hearing aid’s settings and volume in real-time.
Inside the app, Widex has implemented an AI feature called SoundSense Learn that helps users find the sound that works best for them in each environment. Over time, the AI feature learns your preference and provides a personalized listening experience.
The Naida Marvel offers an effortless listening experience with a clear noise in any environment. This smart hearing aid offers incredible power that gives users a perfectly filtered sound to help users understand speech—the Naida Marvel pairs with iOS and Android phones as well as any other Bluetooth-capable device.
The connection lets users listen to phone calls, music, TV, e-books, and more through the hearing aids. In addition, with the myPhonak app, users can fine-tune their hearing aids with advanced functionality. Also, with the app, users get real-time, remote support for assistance with hearing aid adjustments, battery status, and wearing time statistics.
The Belton Amaze is a smart hearing aid perfect for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss. The hearing aid comes with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and multiple styles. In addition, the Amaze features a micro-processing chip to provide a rich and natural sound no matter your surroundings. With Android phones, the Beltone Amaze connects seamlessly, allowing for streaming of calls, music, and more, all while preserving battery life for up to 12 hours of streaming.
Users can also download the Beltone HearMax app on iOS and Android devices for remote, personalization control. For example, your hearing aids automatically adjust the environment and reduce background noise with a quick tap of the Sound Enhancer button.
The Best Smartphone for Hearing Aid Users
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a law stating that all wireless phones, known as smartphones, must be compatible with hearing aids (HAC). However, not all smartphones are made equally regarding the effectiveness of compatibility. HAC phones receive an M rating between 1 and 4, with 4 being the best rating to signify the quality of the compatibility. Although 4 is the highest rating, most smartphones come in with an M3 rating.
Smartphones get their M rating based on the quality of the sound coming through. The more background noise, the lower the rating. Conversely, the clearer the signal is, the better the rating.
For individuals with severe hearing loss, smartphones with telecoil settings may be necessary. Hearing aids that work with telecoils and smartphones with the technology pick up sound through electromagnetic signals, not a microphone.
Typically, telecoils produce the clearest sound, with the lowest signal-to-noise ratio. As a result, smartphones that can work with a hearing aid’s telecoil receive a T rating between 1 and 4. Again, most smartphones have T3, but T4 ratings have become increasingly common as smartphone technology has improved.
Apple’s iPhone X comes with an M3 and T4 rating making it the best for hearing aids. The rating means the iPhone has the best telecoil rating in addition to the most common M rating on the market. Beyond just the iPhone X, Apple has created a line of phones that virtually all come with M3 and T4 ratings. Thus, users can look at the different iPhone models such as the Xs Max, the XR, or the 11 Pro Max.
Furthermore, Apple has made it extremely easy for individuals to connect their iPhones to their hearing aids. All you need to do is go to their settings, turn on Bluetooth, click on Accessibility, and scroll down until you see Hearing Devices listed. Click on that, then click on the Hearing Aid name and select Pair. Once the pairing is complete, users can go to the Apple App Store to find the correlated hearing aid app if it comes with one. Once the application is downloaded, following the prompts on the app allows users to have advanced control features.
Another great aspect of the iPhone X, and frankly all iPhone models, is that Apple has created a tag “Made for Apple” that hearing aid manufacturers can add to description or specifications on their hearing aids. Thus, right away, hearing aid users will know their hearing aids are compatible with their iPhones.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung, another cell phone manufacturing giant, released the S10 roughly a year ago. The Galaxy S10 comes with an M4 and T3 rating. This android phone beats out the iPhone for the M rating but is behind on the T rating. The difference between an M3 and M4 rating may be minimal and may be subject to user discretion.
Samsung Galaxy S10 owners will find it extremely easy to pair their smartphone-compatible hearing aids to the phone. With the hearing aids off, you can go to the Bluetooth settings, turn it on, and then turn on your hearing aids. From there, you should see your hearing aid name pop up under Available Devices. Click the hearing aid name, and your hearing aids will connect seamlessly.
Once the hearing aids are connected via Bluetooth, check out the Play Store to search and download the app that corresponds to your brand of hearing aids. This is where users will see the features and options to control their hearing aids.
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