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Illustration of young African American woman listening to music on her headphones while looking at her smartphone

Connecting to Smartphones With Your Hearing Aids

The world of wireless can be a little daunting. But experiencing the joys of streaming can be as easy as 1-2-3. If you’re not sure how to get started using your hearing aids’ Bluetooth capabilities, read on.


Connecting Hearing Aids to Your Smartphone

There are a growing number of made-for-smartphone hearing aids. This technology lets you send the audio from your phone, tablet, or laptop directly to your hearing aids. In short, you can use your hearing aids as wireless headphones. Not all hearing aids with Bluetooth are smartphone-compatible — only the ones designated Made for iPhone or Made for Android.

The good news is setting these up is simple — the technology does most of the work for you! Whether you have Apple- or Android-compatible hearing aids, the idea is the same. The only difference is the steps you take on your smartphone to make it happen.

Turn on your Bluetooth

On either your iPhone or your Android phone, go to the Settings app. Find Bluetooth — it should be near the top of the menu — select it, then turn it on.

Locate your hearing aids in the list

On your iPhone, go back to the Settings app. Scroll down, find Accessibility, and select it. Scroll about halfway down that menu, find Hearing Devices, and select it. Your hearing aids should be listed.

On your Android phone, once you turned on Bluetooth, your phone should have started “looking” for other Bluetooth-enabled devices to connect to. Within seconds, your hearing aids should be listed.

For both phones, if your phone doesn’t list your hearing aids within a few seconds, you may need to open and close the battery doors or put them on the recharger. This turns them off and then on again, which should help your phone find them.

Select your hearing aids

When your phone finally lists your hearing aids as an option, select them. They will begin connecting, which could take up to 30 seconds or a minute.

Connecting Other Devices to Your Hearing Aids

 

Smartphone streamers

If your hearing aids aren’t Made for iPhone or Made for Android, you can still wirelessly stream audio from your smartphone to your hearing aids. It just requires a separate, tiny wireless device, called a streamer, that either clips to your collar or hangs from your neck and can be hidden underneath your clothing.

Other streamers

Many situations — even with smartphone-compatible hearing devices — require a streamer if you want audio sent to your hearing aids. From TV streamers to mini-microphones (for conversations in noisy environments), you can find a streamer to assist you in hearing your world even more clearly.

Each hearing aid manufacturer makes their own array of streamers. Connecting is often even easier than the above process and can be found in the streamer’s instructions.


If you’re curious about the latest streamers or want to learn more about smartphone-compatible hearing aids, contact us today!Connecting to Smartphones With Your Hearing Aids

Cochlear: When you first got hearing aids, they may have been the best solution. But are they still now?

Cochlear: Are hearing aids not enough for you?

Hearing Aid Check is an online tool that allows consumers to check the performance of their hearing aids compared to the performance of someone with a cochlear implant” Upon completion of the check the consumer gets an email of their results and recommendation to contact their audiologist.

When you first got hearing aids, they may have been the best solution. But are they still now?

Designed by an independent research body, National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), this simple Hearing Aid Check will compare your performance with hearing aids to people with a cochlear implant.

The results will reveal if you should consider other options for better hearing.

Check your hearing now.

Illustration of an audiologist speaking to two women who have question marks above their heads.

Why Do I Need a Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment?

Q: What can I expect at my hearing aid fitting?

 

A: Hearing aids are wonderful, sophisticated devices. But better hearing is a journey, not a transaction. That’s why we bring you into the office and spend some time with you answering questions and demonstrating features. Let me walk you through what the typical fitting looks like.


Making Sure Your New Hearing Aids Fit
Before anything else can happen, you have to pull your devices out of the box and slide them in your ears to ensure they fit you. If not, your audiologist will have to exchange them for ones that do, which most likely means returning for another fitting appointment.
 
Programming Your Devices and Verifying They Meet Your Specific Needs
If everything fits, your audiologist will program your hearing aids with fitting software. They’ll base the programming on your audiogram, which was developed at your hearing evaluation. Your audiogram indicates:

  • The sound frequencies that need to be amplified, and by how much
  • The sound frequencies that you can hear just fine
  • The sound frequencies that can remain loud but might need to be adjusted to minimize your discomfort

Once programmed, if your audiologist is using best practices, they’ll follow up with real-ear measurement. With this process, a slim tube microphone rests in your ear along with your hearing aid. Different sounds are played, and your audiologist can confirm for each whether the volume reaching your eardrum is the correct amount based on your audiogram.

This is where you first experience the benefits of your hearing aids. Especially for those who have a loved one with them at the appointment, this can be an emotional and profound moment.
 
Learning About Features and Maintenance
Hearing aid developers make sure today’s hearing aids are as user-friendly as possible. But you still need to learn the basics, so by the time you leave your fitting appointment, you’ll know:

  • How to change and dispose of batteries. If your hearing aids are rechargeable, you’ll learn the features of the charging station.
  • How to change programs, adjust volume, or make any other adjustments that aren’t automated.
  • How to clean and maintain your hearing aids.
  • How basic features work, such as connecting via T-coil to a looping system.
  • How advanced features work, such as streaming audio from your smartphone directly to your hearing aids.
  • How to use remote controls and other accessories.

You’ll also get an instruction guides, cleaning tools, a storage case, and a supply of batteries (or a charging station).
 
Understanding What’s Ahead
Today’s hearing aids are technologically sophisticated and easy to use, but they’re not a grab-n-go solution. Your brain is, in a sense, out of practice. All of a sudden, it has to make sense of sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time.

That’s why there is an adjustment period. Your audiologist will discuss this in more detail, so you know what to expect and don’t get discouraged. They’ll also give you a wearing schedule for the first few weeks, so you don’t overdo it. Easing you into this new world of sound is the best way to ensure success.
 
Scheduling the First Follow-Up Appointment
A skilled audiologist and advanced fitting software do a lot of the heavy lifting, but it all happens in the controlled environment of a clinic. As you live your life, you’ll enjoy the benefits of better hearing. But you’ll also notice ways your devices could help more, especially in noisy environments.

That’s why you’ll schedule a follow-up appointment. Your audiologist expects you to have feedback on how to improve your listening experience. You’ll also no doubt have questions you’ve thought of since the fitting appointment.
 
Your Hearing Care Partner
Don’t be shy. Speak up with any worries or questions. Your audiologist’s main concern is you hearing better. They’ve no doubt allotted 90 minutes to two hours for this appointment — they want you to leave the fitting appointment feeling confident and excited about the possibilities. Think of them as a knowledgeable partner eager to help you on your better-hearing journey!

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

Have you been putting off exploring your hearing technology’s streaming capabilities? We’ve got just the fix!

Delve into the world of streaming this holiday season with our five picks. Before long, you’ll be wondering why you waited to channel old favorites and new sounds directly to your hearing devices. Let’s get started!
 

HOLIDAY PODCASTS

More than an estimated 1 million podcasts exist, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s listening. Here’s why you should: With tons of topics from poinsettias to politics at the ready, you’ll likely have no trouble settling on something interesting.

Try this: Search “holiday podcasts” on your favorite web browser for stories, songs, sermons, inspiration, motivation, conversations, and more among the many offerings you can download to your smartphone or computer for direct streaming to your hearing aids.
 

MUST-SEE CLASSICS

Got a favorite classic movie or television show that makes the holiday season extra special? Make it even more enjoyable by sending the audio directly to your hearing devices. The best part? You can enjoy it at the volume that sounds just right for you — without the volume changing for everyone else.

Try this: Check out a beloved holiday-themed DVD from your local library or use your preferred video-on-demand service, and experience the audio in a whole new way through Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.
 

VIRTUAL REUNIONS

Who’s on your mind that you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time? The holiday season can be perfect for getting the crew back together online to enjoy laughs and talk new-year plans. Streaming the conversation right to your hearing devices helps ensure you don’t miss a single word.

Try this: Choose your favorite video-chat platform — or try a new one — and invite five friends from near and far to join you on a fun virtual call.
 

DIY FUN

That skill you’ve been wanting to add to your repertoire? Don’t wait for the new year. Learn it now! And with billions of videos on popular sharing platform YouTube, someone’s bound to have a helpful tutorial or two on the topic you seek.

Try this: Find and explore DIY videos on your favorite topics with a quick and easy keyword search in YouTube’s vast collection. Streaming the audio straight to your hearing aids and, if desired, turning on the captioning function can help make listening and learning a cinch.
 

MERRY MUSIC

When was the last time you put a holiday playlist together? Never? Gathering up your favorite tracks may take a little time, but it can pay off big with a go-to tailored list of tunes for streaming that keep you happily humming throughout the season.

Try this: Sites such as AllMusic can be a big help in discovering terrific holiday songs you didn’t even know existed. Keep that in mind while compiling tunes for your festive playlist.


Streaming 101


What is streaming?
Streaming essentially involves sending audio from a sound source — for example, your smartphone, TV, stereo, or computer, depending on compatibility — to your hearing device. With streaming, your hearing instruments essentially act as wireless headphones, providing an even more personalized experience.

How does streaming work with hearing aids?
Hearing aids facilitate streaming either directly or through a clip. In direct streaming, audio is transmitted right to your devices — without an accessory. The clip method uses a wireless accessory — a streamer — that clips to your clothing or may hang around your neck. Audio is transmitted to the clip, which then sends it to your hearing aids.

What makes this possible?
Through Bluetooth technology typically embedded in both the hearing aid and the smartphone, television, or other audio source, the electronics can be wirelessly paired, allowing streaming to happen. Our caring team can explain the specific steps and help ensure you have what you need.


Want to make sure your hearing devices are ready for holiday streaming? Contact us today to make an appointment or to get your questions answered. We’re here to help!

Illustration of couple traveling with hearing aids

Hear Your Best On The Go

6 Tips to Keep Your Hearing Aids at Their Best

Whether youíre on the town or out of town, you depend on your hearing technology to keep you consistently connected. Donít miss a moment when youíre on the go with these tips for maximizing your hearing.

 
Protect Your Tech
Hearing aids are tiny computers ó keep them safe! If youíre in warmer climes, invest in hearing aid accessories such as a splashguard, a wind protector, or a sport clip. For those of you in less toasty towns, a hat, a scarf, or earmuffs can provide protection.

Use Geotags
Many hearing aids now come with a smartphone app that can assign a geographical “bookmark” ó or geotag ó to your favorite locations. Simply optimize your hearing aid settings for a location (for example, a coffee shop) and apply a geotag. Every time you return to that spot, the app automatically switches to your preferred settings.

Power Up
Always have extra packages of batteries on hand ó donít wait for the low-battery warning beeps from your devices. If you have rechargeables and you know youíll be gone overnight, donít forget the charger!

Keep a Kit on Hand
Whether hitting the road or just heading to the park, you never know when moisture or debris might strike. A pocket-size case filled with essential hearing aid cleaning and maintenance basics is a must. A cleaning cloth, a soft-bristle brush (like the one included with your devices), wax guards, and domes (if applicable) take up almost no space but will be lifesavers in a pinch.

Loop It
More and more public spaces are installing hearing loops. Enable the T-coil setting on your hearing aids and the loop allows you to wirelessly receive audio directly in the devices. Look for the loop logo at participating venues.

Check AGXchange
Headed out of town? Check with us to find an AGXchange practice near your destination. With an AGXchange practice, you can depend on the same level of quality hearing care youíve come to expect from us.
 

Contact us to find out more about DIY tips for caring for your hearing devices!

Have Yourself a Hearable Holiday | Our List of the Best Wearables

Wearables are commonplace now, from fitness trackers to smart watches. Theyíre more than just technology you can wear, though: A wearable usually has Bluetooth connectivity as well as sensors that track step count, heart rate, and other biometric data. But in the last few years, wearables have migrated ó to the ear and to the wish list.

The Hearable

Thatís right, you can now wear smart technology in your ears. This kind of device is called a hearable. The market is too broad for any one definition to fully describe what a hearable is, but a good working definition is a wireless in-ear micro-computer.

Some hearables are as simple as earbuds that enhance your music-listening experience. Others are hearing aids that double as sophisticated wellness trackers. Below are features youíll commonly find in different hearables.

  • Connectivity. Sync to a smartphone, tablet, or smart home device.
  • Biometric tracking. Track your steps, your heart rate, or even your running pace with sensors embedded in the hearable.
  • Improved sound quality. Drawing on technology used in todayís hearing aids, you can enjoy noise-canceling capabilities or choose how much environmental sound you want. For example, you can allow just enough noise to ensure you remain aware of traffic.
  • Translation. Have a foreign language translated to your native language in real time.

Notable Hearables

What does all this look like in action? Letís check out some of the hearables currently on the market.

Jabra Sport Pace.
Listen to music, talk on the phone, and switch between the two seamlessly during your running workout with these wireless earbuds that connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Theyíre sweat and weather resistant and, with the Jabra Sport Life app, you can monitor your pace. These wireless earbuds last up to five hours on one charge, or you can use the rapid-charge feature for when youíre on the go: 15 minutes of charging gives you an hour of battery life.

The Pilot.
These wireless earbuds connect via Bluetooth to your mobile device and allow you to listen to music and phone calls ó and they translate spoken language in real time! The Pilot translates 15 languages and 42 dialects in natural-sounding male and female voices, provides on-screen transcripts, and offers quick access to a dictionary as well as a phrasebook. Plus, they last up to 20 hours on one charge with the portable charger.

Jabra Elite Sport.
Unlike the Jabra Sport Pace, this one is built for professional athletic training. You can still listen to music, talk on the phone, and switch between the two seamlessly, but the Elite Sport also features better moisture resistance, a heart rate monitor, step count, rep count, VO2 measurement, and hear through, which allows you to determine how much environmental noise to filter out. Plus, with the Jabra Sport Life App, you get personalized audio coaching in real time.

AGXs liv AI.
This product is intended for those with a diagnosed hearing loss. These hearing aids stream phone calls, music, and more directly from your mobile devices and offer a rechargeable option. If that werenít enough, they use integrated sensors to monitor brain and body health. The Thriveô app tracks it all, provides wellness scores, transcribes conversations so you can read them, and even translates 27 spoken languages. To top it all off, the devices can detect if youíve fallen and will alert chosen contacts.

Hearing & Empowered: Embrace the Season With Gusto

Embrace summer with gusto. Whether having some local fun or taking a trip, here are six ways your hearing technology can help you dive in.

Nothing says “Summertime, here we come!” like hitting the road, rails, trails, and friendly skies to make new memories with loved ones far and nearby. Whether having some local fun or taking a trip, here are six ways your hearing technology can help you dive in.


Look for the Loop

Touring a new city? Some sites — museums, theaters, houses of worship, and more — may have installed a hearing loop, letting you receive enhanced audio by wirelessly connecting through the T-coil setting on your hearing aid, if it has been enabled. Look for the hearing-loop logo at participating spots.

Discover AGXchange

If you’re traveling well beyond your local area and are one of our patients, check with us to find an AudigyCertifiedTM practice near your destination. With the AGXchange Program, you get the same quality hearing care you’ve come to expect from us. Now, that’s peace of mind.

“Cache” Up on AI

The future is here with artificial intelligence at your ears! You can monitor your physical and mental well-being with the AGXS liv and its Thrive app. Some devices and apps even have a translation feature, letting you communicate with others even if you don’t know their local language.

Charge Into Some Fun

What’s worse than dead batteries? Not having spares when in need. Rather than worry about keeping extras on hand, consider the convenience of rechargeability. With many manufacturers offering rechargeable technology, you can live it up with the confidence of all-day hearing aid power.

Tune Up for Tunes

Hearing tech is optimized for speech, but if live music is on your mind, we can nudge your settings to help you enjoy tunes without compromising how you hear speech. With some hearing aids, we can even make minor adjustments remotely via the AGXR Attune app’s Audigy Assist feature or the Thrive app!

Bookmark Your Faves

Through selected apps, you can “bookmark” or geotag your hearing aid settings to your favorite locations — a happy-hour hangout, the gym, or a golfing spot, for example — so that the app automatically adjusts your technology to your listening preferences for that venue.


Make it a summer to remember with hearing technology that has your back every step of the way. For more on optimizing your devices or to experience a demo of the latest hearing aids, schedule a consultation with our expert team today!

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids: Reasons to Consult a Hearing Care Professional

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids: Key Reasons to Consult a Hearing Care Professional Instead

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids are new to the market, but they still have a ways to go in matching the effectiveness of clinician-fitted hearing devices.

Have you heard of self-fitting hearing aids (SFHAs)? Can they help if you have a hearing loss? What exactly are they, and how do they differ from traditional hearing devices fitted by a hearing care expert? What’s the best action to take if you need hearing help?

With hearing loss posing a serious public-health challenge worldwide — it’s a chronic problem affecting millions of women, men, and children — technology continues evolving to improve sound clarity, expand compatibility with other smart devices, and increase accessibility to a wider reach of people.

So where do self-fitting hearing aids fit into the equation of better-hearing options? Let’s take a look.

What Are Self-Fitting Hearing Aids?

Definitions of SFHAs can vary slightly across experts. In the simplest terms, they’re sound-amplifying devices designed to let the user measure their own hearing loss, appropriately install the devices in their ears, and program them for optimal hearing in various listening environments without the prescription or assistance of an audiologist, medical doctor, or other specially trained hearing expert.

Can These Self-Fitting Devices Help Me?

As a relatively newer product category, self-fitting hearing aids may ultimately prove a welcome addition to the range of treatment options. They still have a ways to go, however, in matching the effectiveness and satisfaction of clinician-fitted hearing devices.

One recent study, “Outcomes With a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid,” compared user-driven and provider-driven fittings of a single self-fitting product. Researchers uncovered no significant hearing-aid-performance differences between the two groups but saw that cognition plays a big role. Those “with poorer cognitive function consistently exhibited more difficulty in handling the” self-fitting devices, wrote the study’s authors.

It’s important to note that self-fitting hearing aids require access to, familiarity with, and the ability to understand how to operate and adjust the devices, which could prove challenging for some patients struggling with manual dexterity, visual acuity, cognitive issues, or inability to navigate or access computers or apps. Seeking professional assistance could make all the difference in user satisfaction.

Passage of the federal Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 will eventually bring even more self-treating options to the market, but when it comes to addressing the full spectrum of hearing loss and integrating environmental variables such as background noise, FDA-approved, provider-fit hearing aids are the recommended approach.

What Should I Do if I’m Having Hearing Difficulty?

Did you know? An estimated 466 million children and adults around the globe live with disabling hearing loss, per the World Health Organization, but the good news is that nearly all hearing impairment can be effectively managed to keep you communicating your best.

An important first step is recognizing some of the potential signs and symptoms of hearing loss:

  • The perception that everyone seems to be mumbling
  • Trouble understanding speech in noisy environments
  • Frequent need to turn up the TV or have words repeated
  • Tinnitus — a buzzing, ringing, clicking, or humming in the ears
  • Difficulty conversing on the phone or understanding women’s and children’s voices

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous other health complications such as cognitive decline, diabetes, depression, hypertension, social withdrawal, and more, making early treatment important to improving quality of life.


If you are experiencing listening problems or it’s been a while since your last hearing test, don’t wait. Schedule an evaluation with our expert team today. We’re here to help!

‘Hearable’ Holiday Gift Guide

Tech tailored to you, your lifestyle, and your goals

Looking to get yourself or your favorite tech-savvy, fitness-focused loved one a pair of hearables this season? Check out our helpful hearable gift guide that covers what they are, some of the different features, various brands, and the ordering process.

What ‘Hearables’ Are

The definition of a “hearable” is constantly evolving, like the technology. To attempt to encompass all the variations of this technology, a hearable is a wireless in-ear computational device. This mini-computer uses wireless/Bluetooth® technology to complement and enhance your sound experience. Fitness tracking is another key feature that sets these apart from wireless headphones.

These devices are transforming according to wearers’ ever-changing wants:

    • The ability to sync with wireless devices to stay connected to people, hobbies, and music
    • The technology to measure biometrics (like heart rate, calories burned, etc.)
    • Quality sound streaming

What to Look for in a Hearable

These little guys can do so much, so how do you know which one is for you? Check out some of these highlighted features:
HEARABLEIMAGE
Resound-owned Jabra’s Elite Sport wireless earbuds (like Bragi’s The Dash Pro) feature nearly every benefit we’ve highlighted in our table, from audio transparency (so you can be more aware of your surroundings while still enjoying your tech) to high-quality sound and calls.

wireless arbud guide
Wireless earbud guide (click to enlarge)

Timeline for Fitting

Some hearables are customizable, such as the Bragi family of technology. In this case, the wearer would need an earmold impression created by a dispenser or audiologist (like us!). Any hearables that can be customized follow the same process. Contact our office about our policy.

The process for creating an earmold impression begins with the consumer getting an otoscopic evaluation from a professional to ensure an earmold impression can be taken. The actual earmold impression is created by inserting a block into the ear canal along with the earmold impression material. This cures for about 10 minutes, and then the earmold impression material — now a mold of the ear — is sent to the hearable manufacturer for customization.

Have questions? Would you like to get an earmold made? Give the gift of hearables this season with our help!

Sources:
everydayhearing.com

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Title: Holiday Gift Ideas for Better Hearing Technology 2017

Meta: Get the latest information on hearable technologies for your tech-savvy and fitness focused loved ones this holiday season.

Slug: hearable-holiday-gift-guide

Categories: Hearing Accessories, Holidays, Tips & Tricks

Alt Text: Latest hearing technology for the holidays

ZPOWER

New Rechargable Hearing Aid Batteries

ZPower is a manufacturer of new silver-zinc miniature hearing aid batteries that has partnered with several of our hearing aid Manufacturer’s to offer a new rechargeable option. The batteries should last approximately a year. The batteries should run a 12-14 hour day on a full charge. However, if the hearing aid user is utilizing Bluetooth streaming, then the hours per day would shorten if much streaming is involved. Ask about the rechargeable option when you come in for your next hearing aid check up.