The commonly used term in the headline might be a bit misleading, as there is nothing wireless about the hearing aid itself. But, there are lots of wireless features related to your hearing aid. These wireless features can be confusing. It’s not as bad as it sounds, so I hope this page clear things up.
This whole field of wireless in regards to hearing aids is not defined well, and many times you can get confused by the terms and definitions people use. You can come across experts that use a certain term for one thing while other experts use it to describe something else.
To begin with, wireless, as obvious as it sounds, is anything running without wires… In our case, it is usually used to describe additional options for using your hearing aids.
I cover the different topics here in a nut shell. Most topics got
additional information in another page. You can find the links
within the text of every topic.
The basic and straight forward solution for talking over the phone
while using hearing aids is the T-coil. That’s the T-coil’s original
purpose, and this is the classic solution. You simply switch the
hearing aid to ‘T-coil’ mode and place the phone next to your ear.
Nowadays, many hearing aids companies offer an intermediate device
that you connect to the phone in some manner (cable, or Bluetooth).
This device sends the sounds from the phone to your hearing aid.
Typically, every hearing aid company got its own phone accessory.
There are also generic accessories to connect phones to hearing aids. On many cases, they can work with all sorts of hearing aids and they are not limited to a certain brand. Many of these solutions are using a wire, so they are not wireless by definition, but they get the job done.
- Read more on hearing aids and phones here.
T-coil original use was for phones, but nowadays they use it in many other scenarios like listening to the TV, on theater, and much more.
If your hearing aids got T-coil support, it means it can get signals from the outside world using T-coil and not only using the microphone. A good way to explain T-coil is as follows: when you switch to T-coil mode in your hearing aid, you choose to use a different ‘input’ to the hearing aid, the T-coil instead of the microphone.- Read more on T-coil here.
Watching TV when wearing hearing aids can work all right on many cases. On the other hand, you can have real problems watching TV if you got some level of hearing loss. A classic problem is when you want the TV volume higher than what other people in the room want it to be.Since you typically seat away from the TV, many of the solutions are wireless.
You can divide the solutions as such:
In the hearing aids arena, Bluetooth is mostly used to connect your hearing aid with phones, TV, music source and other electronic devices.
The great thing about Bluetooth, is that it is widely spread, and you can find it on many cellular phones and other electronic devices nowadays.
Since most hearing aids can’t have Bluetooth inside it, most of the hearing aids companies sell an intermediate device that translates Bluetooth to something the hearing aid can understand. It “talks” Bluetooth on one side (i.e. phone, music player, etc) and it “talks” with the hearing aid on the other side.- Read more on Bluetooth and hearing aids here.
FM system is a generic name for many solutions that rely on FM as the communication method. FM system can be relevant to you whether you use a hearing aid or whether you just have some level of hearing loss.
A typical FM system has two components:
FM system can be used as a personal system (i.g classroom) or for public usage (i.g theater).
- Read more on FM systems and hearing aids here.
Here are some of the companies that offer wireless hearing aids or some wireless solution to the issues I just covered. It is really a partial list.
I write this for the sake of hearing aids users that find themselves confused by all the wireless terminology and misunderstandings. Therefore, I try to keep things as simple as possible and I simplify things to make them clearer. In addition, the discussion here is in the context of hearing aids and hearing aids’ users. I don’t try to cover the entire wireless world here, and therefore, all the data is observed from the angle of a hearing aid user and for his/her benefit.