At this point in the hearing aid world, Bluetooth capability inside of hearing aids is standard. In this blog post I will discuss what Bluetooth technology, in my opinion, is the best.
In 2014 we began seeing hearing aids that were direct to iPhone. 2017 brought Bluetooth connectivity with non-iPhone devices such as Android. Past streaming options included telecoils, FM systems, and near field magnetic induction. Many of these features are still available in hearing aids today and can be helpful in those difficult listening environments such as background noise. However, direct to cell phone Bluetooth options have changed the hearing aid game in many ways. Receiving phone calls, streaming music, and using your smartphone as a remote control have all improved the overall patient experience with hearing aids. Now that this direct to smartphone Bluetooth option has been around for 4 years, we see all hearing aid manufacturers introducing and improving on their Bluetooth connectivity.
Below are my favorite Bluetooth hearing aids on the market currently:
4. Oticon Opn S - The Oticon Opn has been a very popular hearing aid since 2016. This is because of its ability to help you hear better in background noise due to open sound navigator which identifies important speech signals in background noise no matter what direction they are coming from. The Oticon S hearing aid allows you to stream phone calls and music for iPhone users. It also has a basic app that will allow for small adjustments to be made.
3. Starkey Livio - Starkey has improved on their previous Halo devices by replacing them with the Livio technology. These devices can use artificial intelligence to monitor body and brain health in their premium AI hearing aid model. The AI model will give you a thrive score, and the thrive score will calculate your activity levels and measure how much brain stimulation you are receiving with your hearing devices. The premium AI model also has other features including: fall detection and language translation services. Livio streams directly from iPhone only.
2. ReSound Quattro - ReSound Quattro consists of long-lasting rechargeable hearing aids, as well as non-rechargeable options. The Quattro comes with the promise of direct to Android, not just direct to iPhone capabilities. In my opinion ReSound has the best app in the industry. The app allows you adjust volume, programs, and stream from different ReSound accessories. You can also activate features such as noise filter and speech clarity. The app allows the patient to adjust the sound quality of the hearing aids by using a three-band equalizer. You can also use the tinnitus manager to add masking noise to help with your tinnitus. Finally, you can request assistance to your hearing healthcare provider who can make adjustments to your hearing aids through the app. ReSound was the first company to introduce Bluetooth direct to iPhone streaming in 2014, and they continue to push the envelope with the Quattro.
1. Phonak Marvel - Marvels are the only hearing aid to directly stream audio from both the iPhone and Android devices. This means you no longer have to switch from Android in order to stream phone calls, music, audiobooks, etc. directly through the hearing aids. Their autosense 3.0 determines which program settings are best for your certain listening environment and automatically switch so you don't have to. The Marvels are remotely adjustable. They are also Roger ready, so you can use an FM system direct to the hearing aids.
Which Bluetooth option is right for you? Depends on your specific wants and needs, your hearing loss, and how good your hearing healthcare provider is at working with each specific brand!