What Apps Can Do For You

It’s more and more a truism today: “There’s an app for that.”

And the wonderful world of apps — what a few years ago were called programs that ran on computers, before smartphones became computers people carry in their pockets — has expanded to include your hearing aid (whether you know it or not).

Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, adjusting a hearing aid meant fumbling with small knobs and buttons, trying to get the thing to perform in the way it was intended (without knocking it out of your ear in the process).

But today’s hearings aids — which like smartphones are as much computer as a sound-amplifying device — incorporate the ability to communicate wirelessly with other devices (like that smartphone, or a laptop, tablet, or desktop workstation).

Much like refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, doorbells, and vehicles are now woven together with the Internet of Things (IoT), hearing aids can become a part of a matrix of communication that can not only include your own devices but also those of your hearing health specialists and hearing aid manufacturer. Data can be collected and shared that, ultimately, can be used to increase the performance of the machine that you’re depending on to hear.

Using the Bluetooth communication conduit, apps can be the tool to:

  • Make straightforward adjustments to volume and sound quality settings.
  • Create sound models for specific environments that are challenging — whether a workplace, a favorite restaurant, or any regularly visited site — that can be activated when returning to that space.
  • Check on the hearing aid’s specs, including how much juice is left in the battery.
  • Connect with devices to patch streaming music, television audio, or phone calls directly into your hearing aid.
  • Using “if this, then that” tech (IFTTT) to link tasks together. For example, turning off your hearing aid at night can turn any lights downstairs off that were left on.

Yup, there’s an app for that.

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