Don’t Dream It, Stream It
Everyone knows hearing aids help people with hearing loss better understand the world around them. But that’s only part of the story. Today’s advanced hearing aids do so much more, giving hearing aid wearers new ways to hear the sounds most important to them. As hearing aid technology advances, features that seemed like a pipe dream just a few years ago have become reality.
Key among these modern hearing aid features is direct streaming – the ability to transmit live audio from a mobile device to your hearing aids. Rather than hearing things like music, TV, and phone calls with sub-optimal sound quality, streaming lets you hear what you want directly from your smartphone to your ears and at the perfect volume.
Simple listening events become challenges
If your hearing is diminished, simple things like listening on the phone can be challenging, even if you have hearing aids. The other person’s voice might sound too quiet or distorted, requiring you to adjust the settings on your phone, hearing aids, or both. The result? Rather than enjoying your conversation with a friend or relative, or getting information that you need, you must strain to understand the other person — if you can hear them at all.
The situation is similar when watching TV or listening to music.
Your ideal volume might be too loud for your family and friends. This means someone will have to compromise and not hear properly, diminishing the enjoyment of what should be fun activities. However, with streaming, you benefit from a level of personalization and convenience that wasn’t possible before. You may even be able to walk into the kitchen to fix yourself a snack without missing any TV audio!
Better listening through streaming
Instead of continuing the cycle of struggling to hear over the phone, when watching TV, or listening to music, direct wireless streaming provides the solution. With a Bluetooth®-enabled smartphone, your hearing aids become high-functioning earphones that transmit sound in full stereo directly to your ears. Unlike previous streaming solutions that needed an intermediary device, today’s hearing aids can transmit audio signal from the smartphone alone.
The benefits of streaming in this way are many. When it comes to phone calls, you can hear the other person through both hearing aids rather than relying on just one ear as you would normally. Instead of having to put the phone against your ear, you can take the call hands-free. Today’s streaming hearing aids even allow you to easily switch between different streaming events. For example, if you’re watching TV and a phone call comes in, your smart hearing aids will automatically transition to stream the phone call, and return to the TV audio when the call ends.
Since the audio is streamed from your smartphone, they can also be used to control the volume for TV and music. While the audio from phone calls can also be controlled simply by the phone’s regular volume controls, you can adjust the volume of streaming TV audio or music through your hearing aid manufacturer’s app. Moreover, by streaming sound directly into your ears and adjusting the volume to the best setting, there’s no need to argue with your family about the TV being too loud or quiet.
Maintaining situational awareness
While direct streaming capability provides greater efficiency and convenience in how you go about your day, the technology behind streaming doesn’t sacrifice situational awareness. The technology can also adjust the hearing aids’ microphone input level along with the streamed audio signal to help you get the right balance of audio and ambient noise. For example, during streamed phone calls, the hearing aid can still pick up sounds in the environment, but just at a lower volume. This helps you hear other important sounds in the landscape without impacting the sound quality of the conversation.
The same holds true when watching TV or listening to music. The streaming audio doesn’t have to block out the rest of the landscape, so you can hear if someone is calling your name or if something else needs your attention. Connected hearing aids also include carefully selected default settings for these activities, resulting in less effort to fine-tune your hearing aids for each listening environment.
Stream the sounds you love
When paired with your smartphone, your hearing aids become powerful devices that can change how you enjoy your favourite everyday activities. From listening to music and watching TV to talking to your family and friends on the phone, the ability to transmit sound from your smartphone to your ears is no longer a dream. The reality is that you can stream sound for an optimal listening experience, no matter what you’re doing.
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Posted by Leanne
Leanne Powers Au.D
Dr. Powers is a Sr. Educational Specialist for Sivantos, Inc. She is responsible for the support and on-going training of the Sivantos Educational Specialists and for creating new and innovative training methods to enhance customer service. She trains customers and staff on products, software, and services. In this role, Leanne has given several lectures at AudiologyNOW! and numerous state conventions on a variety of topics, including compression in modern hearing instruments, frequency compression, and tinnitus therapy, as well as presentations specific to the company’s technology. Leanne practiced in a variety of hearing healthcare settings for 16 years prior to joining the Sivantos team. Most recently, she operated two hearing aid offices in the Chicago area. Leanne received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University, her graduate degree from RUSH University in Chicago, and her doctorate from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in Arizona.
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