The Advantages of Bluetooth Technology

The full integration of Bluetooth tech into the routine functions of hearing aids has brought a wealth of new possibilities.

Due to the incorporation of higher computer functions into what used to be basically simple amplifiers, hearing aids are now yet another aspect of the Internet of Things (IoT). The interconnectivity that Bluetooth provides — by creating a small wireless network in which devices can communicate — allows hearing aids to connect to other machines nearby and, by extension, to the Internet via another device’s WiFi capabilities.

Bluetooth connections are stable and not dependent on a WiFi network’s strength. They work within only a small radius.

This is why it is now possible, using a dedicated app, to control a hearing aid’s functions with a smartphone or tablet. The ability Bluetooth affords for near-instantaneous interaction between the two devices means no more fumbling with tiny knobs or buttons on a hearing aid. It also allows for a far wider range of controls.

Likewise, sound can now be transmitted electronically directly to the hearing aid. The oh-so-annoying squeal that used to mark phone conversations with a hearing aid is a thing of the past. Anything one listens to from electronic sources — radios, televisions, listening devices — can now be streamed directly into hearing aids, resulting in much higher sound quality and the ability to avoid distractions from other sources of noise.

Finally, hearing aids can gather data on the sound dynamics of where you spend your time and how you use your hearing aids. This can then be uploaded — via the Bluetooth connection with your app, then from app to your hearing health provider via the Internet — and the data used to fine-tune your hearing aid for the future.

Managing Thanksgiving With Hearing Loss

Handling hearing issues, even with state-of-the-art hearing aids, can be an everyday challenge. On special days — like Thanksgiving — it can be even more of a trial.

Now, if the tradition for the big meal in your family is a descent into political trench warfare, maybe you’ll just want to turn your hearing aid down low and eat in blissful silence. It’s a known go-to strategy.

But if you want to communicate fully with your loved ones, here are some ideas on how to manage the hubbub of a boisterous Thanksgiving dinner with hearing loss.

First, be prepared to let anyone at the gathering who you don’t see very often know that you’re a little hard of hearing. The “new friend” being brought home to meet the family may not have been informed and letting them know will make things easier on everyone.

And remember the old maxim of location, location, location.  Sitting next to the TV with the big game blasting from it will make things much more difficult. Being away from sources of noise, with a wall behind you so that you’re dealing with 180° of sound — as opposed to a full 360° — will help immensely. At the dinner table, avoid sitting in the middle. Grab a seat on one end and converse with people nearby.

If it all becomes too much, take respite in a quiet room or outside. Like a work break, this will allow your ears and brain to relax and recharge.

And finally, if you have a hearing aid – then use it! No reason to be coy with loved ones. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about and your family is there to support you.