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New Hearing Aid Technology Pairs With iPhone

New Hearing Aid Technology

New hearing aid technology has come a long way, and much needed changes to the growing hearing aid market is upon us. We're on the precipice of a market shift in the otherwise stale hearing aid environment we've come to know and love. Changes include new players in the hardware arena, new apps that control the hearing aid environment, and new connectivity options via smartphone apps!

Starkey Hearing Technologies has recently introduced a line of hearing aids that connect quite seamlessly to your iPhone. The iPhone app helps control your hearing aid's amplification intake and output, but that's not all. It also helps you locate your hearing aids, and provides controls should you wish to stream music from an iPhone. The new hearing aid technology from Starkey Hearing is based on their Halo hearing aid platform, and controlled by the TruLink iPhone app.

RELATED: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEARING AIDS AND PERSONAL SOUND AMPLIFIERS

Here's what Starkey Hearing Technologies has to say about their new hearing aid technology:

Hear life to its fullest with Halo, our breakthrough Made for iPhone® Hearing Aids and our easy-to-use TruLink™ Hearing Control app which are engineered to work specifically with your iPhone, iPad® and iPod touch®. Together, Halo and TruLink are designed to stream phone calls, music and more, directly from your iPhone to your hearing aids. Now available in two styles to fit individuals with mild to severe hearing loss. – Starkey Hearing Technologies

We wrote about the growth driving hearing loss in the USA in a recent post entitled “A Billion People At Risk For Hearing Loss“. In that post we quoted the World Health Organization who states that “Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.”

Here is a great video that discusses the new Starkey Hearing Aid Technology and how it all works:

New Hearing Aid Technology

15 Comments

  1. The only problem? Hearing aids are too expensive. There is a bipartisan OTC hearing aid bill in Congress right now and the hearing aid oligopoly is trying to kill it. People should go to Costco or go online for the best prices – check out https://hearstore.com to shop for discount hearing aids with a professional fitting.

  2. I’ve never heard of an app for controlling your hearing aids. I love that idea! I do wonder, though, if it’s something that’s user friendly for geriatric users. I definitely will have to look more into this because I feel like it would be very useful!

  3. I cannot believe how much hearing aid technology has progressed. Hearing aids are now small and incredibly efficient. It’s great that companies, like Starkey Hearing Technologies, are investing and developing new, innovative tech to benefit those who cannot hear.

    Alex Jennings |

  4. It’s amazing that there’s hearing aid technology that can pair with smartphones. I can only text my mother because her hearing aid isn’t strong enough to help her listen to a phone conversation. Are there apps that can help people with hearing aids control their amplification using other types of smartphones other than an iPhone? My mom has a smartphone that she uses, but it isn’t an iPhone.

    1. Hi Deanna,

      I don’t know if other smartphone software platforms (Android, Windows Phone, etc.) or hardware makers (Samsung, HTC, LG, Windows, etc.) have anything similar to Apple’s MFi (Made For iPhone) standard for hearing aid users. In my mind, it is all but certain that non-smartphones are not capable of such feats.

      To my understanding, Apple was the first mover to make hearing aid control possible in such a way, this being because Apple is sincerely dedicated to providing a comprehensive suite of accessibility features (of which MFi is but one) to improve the lives of folks with a wide range of handicaps (Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook at last years’s Shareholder’s Meeting, in response to an activist shareholder who accused him of not doing everything possible to boost Apple’s profits, responded thusly:

      “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing [applies] about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

      As evidenced by the use of “bloody” in his response—the closest thing to public profanity I’ve ever seen from Mr. Cook—it was clear that he was quite angry. His body English changed, his face contracted, and he spoke in rapid fire sentences compared to the usual metered and controlled way he speaks.

      He didn’t stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

      He has appointed one of his VP’s to be responsible for accessibility topics.)

      Although my mom has profound hearing loss (deaf in one ear, ca 40% in other, her current 5y/o Phonak, non MFi, allows her to be able to use her iPhone as a normal person would, via either earpiece or speakerphone also in noisier environments like the car (we’ve been testing her new Apple Watch, for answering her phone and it performs similarly well as her iPhone experience.)

      At present, we are waiting for a ReSound test unit to arrive (the Starkey Halo unit she tried seemed to work well MFi-wise, but was not strong enough and she discontinued her test and went back to her old Phonak.)

      In the meantime, in anticipation of its arrival, we have loaded the ReSound iPhone app on her iPhone as well as those of my sister and myself, as we did with the Starkey TruLink iPhone app before it so that we can become familiar with the app. When my mom and sister set up their new Apple Watches last Monday, they reported that both the Starkey and ReSound watch apps auto-loaded into the watch with all other apps presented on the phone.

      This post is getting long, and I’m afraid of losing it, so I’m going to save it and either edit it or reply to it with some other info I found useful.

      1. A CNN interview with a hearing-impaired early-adopter of the watch:

        http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2015/05/11/apple-watch-hearing-aids.cnnmoney/index.html?iid=SF_T_River

        Do a Google search on the topic; it seems there are more and more articles popping up now! Use search terms “Apple Watch hearing” and check the Web and News tabs.

        If you have an iPhone, it seems several vendors, among them Starkey, ReSound, Beltone, have released apps for both the phone, and now watch. Below is the link to the ReSound app in the Apple App Store:

        https://appsto.re/us/iJKPW.i

        1. Great information Robert! Love it. Thanks so much for contributing, and we hope you continue to participate on The Senior List! Best — A

  5. My 82 year old mother who has profound hearing loss tried the starkey and found it to not have the amplification available in her old phonak.

    She is going to try a resound unit next and see if it is up to the job.

    She is very enthusiastic about the MFi feature and looks forward to controlling the aid with her apple watch. (Which she intends to use as a fall detector and meds reminder.)

    I would recommend that you update your earlier apple watch article now that it is clear that some of the limitations you cited are not really an issue. (Ie water resistance is enough to wear in shower and 18 hour battery life was not oversold.)

    1. Thanks for the info Robert. Wow your mother sounds very tech savvy! That’s awesome 🙂 I’m still hearing mixed reviews about the Apple Watch and water. Will you check back with us once she’s used it a fair bit? Would love to hear your further review- Best!! A

      1. She’s not particularly tech savvy but as she says “I can still learn.”

        I pushed her to buy a new iPhone 4s 3 years ago and in the meantime she uses it for everything (mail, text, contacts and appointments, GPS directions, all phone calls after she cancelled her landline, and password management using iCloud Keychain.). She does everything online now and doesn’t have to lose time with paper-based correspondence.)

        We took it step by step and my sister and I supported her and after about a year she manages very well. And last year no Christmas cards to obsolete addresses because her iPhone and iPad are her only address book and calendar! (I am the recipient of a lot of pictures and videos of her cat and swans nowadays.)

        Last Sept she bought an iPhone 6 in anticipation of the watch and has been enjoying the use of ApplePay in the meantime. (She is nerved more places “aren’t with it” and not yet able to support mobile payments.)

        My younger sister also wears a (non MFi) hearing aid and bought an Apple watch as well, so as soon as they arrive we will have a sample size of 2, and when I can buy one here in Europe, we will have 3.

        1. You and your sister sound like an awesome team for your mom Robert! Wow, she sounds like quite a lady- Thanks for sharing and please keep us posted! –A

  6. Iphones being connected to your hearing aid is an awesome use of technology. I am so excited for this. My aunt is deaf, and is really excited for this to come out.

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