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Bluetooth Hearing Aid Streamers

Bluetooth hearing aid accessories, what do you need to know?

Wireless Hearing Aid Accessories

All of the hearing aid brands have introduced wireless hearing aid accessories in the last ten years. In general, both professionals and consumers have been slow to the realisation of the benefits these devices offer. Each brand offers different accessories for different situations, such as TV streamers to help people hear the TV better, or remote microphones to give people a better ability to hear in noise. Generally, they work very well for the purpose they have been designed for, but in general, they have been slow to be picked up. 

Many hearing aid users have real problems with wearing streamers around their necks, they are very resistant to the idea. One hearing aid user explained it to me thus, I have problems enough without advertising I am deaf with a yoke hanging around my neck! There isn't much you can say to that really, except, if you choose your brand of hearing aid right, you may not need an intermediary streamer. 

Why Do You Need Wireless Hearing Aid Accessories?

The biggest reason you need a Bluetooth hearing aid accessory is hearing better in noise. A remote microphone or a desk microphone will offer you a far better experience in noisy or group situations than hearing aids alone. I believe that wholeheartedly, no matter how good your hearing aids are in a noisy environment, a remote microphone will make them better. Believe me, I speak from experience here, read this article to find out why review of the Bernafon Zerena 9 here.

Wear a remote mic and you will hear better in noise, simple

Two Types of Connection

There are two types of connection with wireless or Bluetooth hearing aid accessories, in-direct connection and direct connection. The indirect connection type utilises a neck worn streamer to piggyback the audio signal into the hearing aids. The direct connection accessories stream the audio directly to the hearing aids. 

In-Direct Connection

Most of the hearing aid brands went with indirect connection originally, the reasoning was simple, the direct connection was too power hungry. Widex, Unitron, Oticon Phonak and Siemens/Signia all introduced wireless hearing aid accessories that relied on some sort of neck-worn device to piggyback the audio signal to the hearing aids. As I said, for them the decision was simple, an indirect connection was a little power hungry, but it wasn't nearly as power hungry as a direct connection at that time was. That has changed, as has the direction that many of the hearing aid brands are taking. With the wider advent of Made For iPhone hearing aids, more and more hearing device manufacturers are offering direct connection accessories. 

Direct Connection

As I said, most originally went with indirect, but two hearing aid brands were pioneers of direct streaming hearing aid accessories from early on. The two were Resound and Starkey and the reason why they both offered direct streaming was their early work on 2.4ghz wireless radios for connection to both accessories and iPhones. The key for direct connection accessories is nearly always a direct connection to iPhones or Made For iPhone technology. That isn't the case with either Resound or Starkey though, confused much? Pity me I live in this world. The reason why Starkey and Resound are different is because of their use of the 2.4ghz radio as their wireless standard. Made For iPhone (MFI) though, is the reason that direct connection hearing aid accessories are becoming more proliferate. As every hearing aid company introduces their own MFI hearing aids, they are also introducing their own direct connection hearing aid accessories. 

The Devices

Bluetooth hearing aid accessories differ from brand to brand, the only hearing aid manufacturers with a wide range of direct connection accessories for all of their current hearing aids is Resound and Starkey. However, I expect Oticon, Bernafon and Signia to follow late in 2018 or early in 2019. Let me explain, right now, mid-2018, Oticon, Signia and Bernafon have hearing aid platforms in which every model is a Made For iPhone hearing aid. Oticon with the Opn, Bernafon with the Zerena and Signia with the Nx.

The issue though, is that they are all BTEs and RICs, there is no custom in the ear devices on those platforms yet. If you want a custom hearing aid from these brands right now, they are on an older platform and they only offer an in-direct connection to their wireless accessories. That will change for Oticon and Bernafon in November 2018 when they launch their Opn and Zerena in the ear MFI hearing aids, I would imagine there would be a similar time frame with Signia to introduce in the ear hearing aids on the Nx platform. 

When you look at the new wave of direct connection Bluetooth hearing aid accessories you will notice that they are all pretty similar in form and function. I would imagine they are manufactured by a third party and they licence them to the hearing aid brands. Either that or just by coincidence, they all came up with the same thing. 

Every other brand has not adopted MFI as a standard across the hearing aid platforms. They simply offer an MFI hearing aid within their ranges. Which means that their MFI hearing aids do offer some direct connection devices, but the rest of the hearing aids are an indirect connection. Right, now that I have thoroughly confused both me and you, let's take a look at the accessories on offer from each brand, direct connection first. 

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Resound

Resound Wireless Hearing Aid Accessories

Resound wireless hearing aid accessories 2017

Resound introduced their Unite wireless hearing aid accessories back in 2008 I think, with the Alera, which was their very first wireless hearing aid. Resound then introduced the Verso, which was an upgrade of the Alera and finally in 2014, they introduced the LiNX, which was the first ever MFI hearing aid. The Unite accessories were compatible with all of the mentioned hearing aids and have been updated since their introduction. Let's take a quick look at the devices available from Resound. 

Resound

Resound Micro MicReSound Micro Mic

The Micro Mic is a small and discrete remote microphone device that connects directly to the Resound MFI hearing aids. The devices are outstanding and will make it easier for you to keep up with the conversation in noisy environments.

Your companion simply wears the device clipped to their clothes and their voice is streamed directly to your ears. It works at a range of up to 80 feet in clear line of sight.

The device is a quite simple and discrete solution. If however, you spend much times in groups or at meetings, well then its big brother the Multi Mic is probably the one you should think about. Its functionality eclipses the Micro Mic

Resound

Resound Multi MicReSound Multi Mic

This is a slightly larger but more functional remote microphone that Includes the benefits of the Micro Mic, however,  it can also be used as a table microphone. The dynamic microphones in the device will help you get better speech understanding in situations like meetings, cafes and restaurants when there is a group with you. 

The device is multi-functional and will also allow you to connect with both loop and FM systems*. You can also use the mini-jack input to stream audio to your hearing aids. *FM receiver is required for FM transmission, but the device has a telecoil receiver on board, you can't really say better than that. So, as you can see, this really is a truly multi-functional device offering many benefits.

Resound

ReSound Unite Phone Clip+

ReSound Phone Clip+

The phone clip+ is a streamer device that turns your Resound hearing aids into a handsfree headset. It can be clipped discreetly onto your clothing and will allow you to make clear mobile phone calls. The device also allows you to mute background noise while you are talking so your phone conversations are easier.

The device will also allow you to stream music, podcasts or any other audio from any Bluetooth-enabled phone. The Phone Clip+ gives complete freedom to talk on your mobile phone, listen to your music or audiobooks all with complete ease, no hassle involved.

The connection is pretty solid and there are very rarely problems with audio dropping or general connection issues. Even if you have an iPhone, the Phone Clip+ is worth considering if you use your phone as part of making your living. 

Resound

ReSound Unite TV Streamer v2

ReSound TV Streamer 2

The TV Streamer allows you to watch TV comfortably with the sound streamed directly to their hearing aids. So while your family is free to set their own volume, you can adjust the volume using your hearing aids or the accompanying app on your phone to listen at a level that works best for you.

The TV Streamer 2 streams audio direct to your hearing aids, so you don't need any intermediate streamer hanging around your neck. 

Bernafon Direct Connection Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessories

Bernafon introduced their own Made For iPhone hearing aid range called the Zerena. As the Zerena offered direct connection, they also introduced a new range of wireless accessories to work with the platform. Both of the accessories are direct connection and you don't need to wear any intermediate streamer. Like a few of the other brands we will mention here, their remote mic is a multi-functional device that has a whole lot to offer the user. Let's take a quick look at them.

Bernafon

SoundClip-A

Bernafon SoundClip-A Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessory

Streaming Audio

The SoundClip-A will allow you to stream the sound from any Bluetooth enabled phone, modern smartphone, tablet or computer directly into your hearing aids. Low energy use and a microphone for capturing your speech make your hearing aids into a wireless headset with all the benefits that come with the hands-free experience.

High-quality audio capability lets you stream stereo music from any of your devices straight into your ears. A richer sound with more details delivers a quality experience that is less strenuous to listen to.

Remote Microphone

Not satisfied with delivering an outstanding streaming audio experience, Bernafon went a step further. The ConnectClip also functions as a remote microphone, which means you can give it to someone who is speaking and then hear their voice clearly and directly in your hearing aids. Ideal to help you hear better in more complex situations. I have used this system and I have found it to be outstanding. 

Remote Control

Yep, streaming audio and remote microphone just wasn't enough, so they added a remote control functionality as well. You can use your SoundClip-A as a basic remote control. That means that you can control the volume of your Zerena hearing aids, switch programmes, and turn them on and off remotely.

Bernafon

TV-A Streamer

Bernafon TV-A Audio Streamer

TV-A (TV adapter) is the latest Bernafon TV Audio Streamer which works with the Zerena. It offers clear and sharp sound directly from your TV to your hearing aids with no intermediary device. This makes watching TV more comfortable and enjoyable, as not everyone wants to listen at the same volume level. You simply turn on the TV-A and the audio appears in your hearing aids, no fuss, no hassle. 

Signia Direct Connection Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessories

Signia introduced their own Made For iPhone hearing aid range called the Nx platform. Again, like the Zerena, Nx hearing aids offer direct connection, they also introduced a new range of wireless accessories to work with the platform. Both of the accessories are direct connection and you don't need to wear any intermediate streamer. Like a few of the other brands we will mention here, their remote mic is similar to to Bernafons and it is a multi-functional device that has a whole lot to offer the user. Let's take a quick look at them.

Signia

StreamLine Mic

Signia Stream Line Mic

Streaming Audio

The StreamLine Mic will allow you to stream the sound from any Bluetooth enabled phone, modern smartphone, tablet or computer directly into your hearing aids. Low energy use and a microphone for capturing your speech make your hearing aids into a wireless headset with all the benefits that come with the hands-free experience.

High-quality audio capability lets you stream stereo music from any of your devices straight into your ears. A richer sound with more details delivers a quality experience that is less strenuous to listen to.

Remote Microphone

Not satisfied with delivering an outstanding streaming audio experience, Signia went a step further. The StreamLine Mic also functions as a remote microphone, which means you can give it to someone who is speaking and then hear their voice clearly and directly in your hearing aids. Ideal to help you hear better in more complex situations. 

Signia

StreamLine TV

Signia StreamLine TV Streamer

The StreamLine TV is the latest Signia TV Audio Streamer which works with the Nx hearing aid range. It offers clear and sharp sound directly from your TV to your hearing aids with no intermediary device. This makes watching TV more comfortable and enjoyable, as not everyone wants to listen at the same volume level. You simply turn on the StreamLine TV and the audio appears in your hearing aids, no fuss, no hassle. 

Oticon Direct Connection Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessories

Oticon introduced their own Made For iPhone hearing aid range called the Opn. Again, like the others, the Opn hearing aids offer direct connection, they also introduced a new range of wireless accessories to work with the platform. Both of the accessories are direct connection and you don't need to wear any intermediate streamer. Their remote mic is similar to Bernafons and it is a multi-functional device that has a whole lot to offer the user. Let's take a quick look at them.

Oticon

Connect Clip

Oticon Connect Clip Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessory

Streaming Audio

The ConnectClip will allow you to stream the sound from any modern smartphone, tablet or computer directly into your hearing aids. Low energy use and a microphone for capturing your speech make your hearing aids into a wireless headset with all the benefits that come with the hands-free experience.

High-quality audio capability lets you stream stereo music from any of your devices straight into your ears. A richer sound with more details delivers a quality experience that is less strenuous to listen to.

Remote Microphone

Not satisfied with delivering an outstanding streaming audio experience, Oticon went a step further. The ConnectClip also functions as a remote microphone, which means you can give it to someone who is speaking and then hear their voice directly in your hearing aids. This feature will allow you the optimum ability to hear well in noisy situations. 

Oticon

TV Adapter 3.0

Oticon TV Adapter TV Streamer

The TV Adapter is the latest Oticon TV Audio Streamer which works with the Opn hearing aid range . It offers clear and sharp sound directly from your TV to your hearing aids with no intermediary device. This makes watching TV more comfortable and enjoyable, as not everyone wants to listen at the same volume level. You simply turn on the device and the audio appears in your hearing aids, no fuss, no hassle. 

Phonak Direct Connection Bluetooth Hearing Aid Accessories

As part of the introduction of Audeo B-Direct hearing aids, Phonak introduced their first ever direct connection wireless hearing aid accessory. While the Audeo B-Direct hearing aids are Bluetooth hearing aids, they are completely unlike the rest of the technology on offer, with the exception of the Moxi All from Unitron (who are a sister company). The Audeo B-Direct connects to any Bluetooth enabled mobile phone and they offer a true handsfree headset experience unlike the other brands. As part of the introduction of the hearing devices they also introduced a new direct connection TV streamer. The TV Connectore is the first Phonak accessory that works without any intermediate streamer.

Phonak

TV Connector

TV Connecter

The TV Connector, which uses their proprietary AirStreamTM technology is designed to be a state-of-the-art compact multimedia hub that seamlessly connects Audeo B-Direct wearers to their favourite TV programming for an immersive audio experience. It’s a plug and play solution that automatically turns a pair of Audéo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. The TV Connector can also connect and transmit to multiple sets of Audéo B-Direct hearing aids simultaneously.

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