Woman making a call

Staying connected - Hearing aids, phone calls and streaming

Last Updated06-12-2019

In our most recent blog post we talked about the fear of hearing loss. And about the way technology is changing what we expect from hearing aids. This time, continuing in the same vein, we want to talk about streaming.
When hearing loss occurs, it often takes time before the affected person becomes aware of the condition and gets help. In the interim period, before the hearing loss has been detected and hearing aids acquired, many people experience feelings of social isolation – like being unable to follow and take part in conversations at family gatherings.

In most situations, this is easily solved by using a pair of modern hearing aids that enable the wearer to take part in conversations. However, the feeling of being cut off is not only related to situations where people are face to face. Being able to hear and see the people we care about from a distance is becoming more and more important for our quality of life.

This goes for people with hearing loss as well. Most of us have friends or loved ones who we need to speak to on the phone, via apps such as WhatsApp – or increasingly through video-call services such as Skype or FaceTime.

Even for people without hearing loss, phone and video calls can be difficult to hear clearly. Poor reception and dropped calls are a common nuisance. And for someone with hearing loss, dealing with poor sound quality or wonky phone integration can be too much. That is why hearing aid users need hearing aids that work seamlessly with both conventional phones and today’s modern phones.

Connected hearing aids fall into three groups:

  • Hearing aids unable to stream music and phone calls
  • Hearing aids that can stream from doorbells, TVs and phones through specialised assistive devices
  • Hearing aids that, in addition to working with assistive devices, also connect directly to smartphones and stream all the sounds of the smartphone.
The final group also typically features deep smartphone integration, which allows the wearer to tweak and personalise a wide range of functions in the hearing aid, including phone calls.

One important aspect of how hearing aids handle phone calls is streaming sound quality. Another is whether the hearing aid allows the user to hear the call through both hearing aids — or just one. For people adapting to hearing loss, the last thing someone needs is poor quality or glitchy sound that adds to the mental workload.

That is why the best modern hearing aids are made to stream the sound of the phone call in high-quality audio — to both the left and the right hearing aid at the same time. This gives the wearer a fuller, more natural sound experience and enables effortless hearing.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, hearing aids have entered an era of connectivity. As the technology evolves, hearing aid users will be able to experience, do and enjoy more. The era of connectivity for hearing aids has just begun.

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