All Ears: Aren't all hearing aids wireless?

Got a question about hearing loss or hearing aids? One of our on-staff Starkey audiologists is all ears.  

Q: I keep hearing about “wireless” hearing aids, but aren't all hearing aids wireless? 

A: While almost no hearing aids today include visible wires, cables or cords and therefore appear “wireless,” the term actually refers to the use of internal circuitry that allows for the reception and transmission of signals between hearing aids or other electronic devices.

Wireless hearing aids use small internal radios and Bluetooth technology to allow two hearing aids to communicate with each other and with devices like smartphones, tablets, televisions or special accessories. Non-wireless hearing aids, on the other hand, are unable to communicate with each other or receive streamed audio directly from electronic devices.

Wireless hearing aids are the new norm

Wireless hearing aids offer a number of advantages over non-wireless hearing aids. Here are 11 reasons wireless hearing aids are the preferred choice of both wearers and the hearing professionals who fit them:

  1. More precise amplification is possible when two wireless hearing aids share information about the acoustic environment, and work together to optimize speech understanding and sound quality, reduce background noise, and make every listening situation enjoyable.
  2. Phone calls can be heard in both ears simultaneously, which may provide a 10 to 15 percent improvement in speech understanding over using just one ear.
  3. On-demand noise control is available with the press of a button on an accessory or app — to make loud environments more comfortable and pleasing.    
  4. Custom hearing aid memories can be created by the wearer to meet the needs of unique sound environments, like a favorite restaurant or the gym.
  5. Geotagging allows the appropriate hearing aid memory to automatically populate in the hearing aids whenever the wearer is in a designated location, like at work or a coffee shop.Halo 2 Hearing Aid TruLink Coffee Shop Memory
  6. A custom car memory can be created that automatically engages whenever the wearer is traveling over 10 mph — to make listening while driving more comfortable. Television programs, podcasts, music, etc., can also be streamed directly to the hearing aids to provide improved sound quality and eliminate the distracting effects of extraneous sound and distance.
  7. The use of a streaming accessory lets the wearer manage the volume of the television independently, without impacting the listening experience of others.
  8.  The use of a remote microphone can increase the level of speech above background noise for better hearing in noisy environments.
  9. Hearing aid controls like volume and memory can be adjusted in both hearing aids with a simple and discreet touch to one hearing aid, or with Made for iPhone hearing aids, through the easy-to-us TruLink app.
  10. The use of a hearing aid remote control for managing hearing aid settings can be helpful for individuals with reduced dexterity, compromised range of motion and/or vision deficits.  

The ability to optimize sound quality and deliver a variety of connectivity, personalization and convenience features makes wireless hearing aid technology a great choice for everyone needing amplification.

For more details about wireless hearing aids — or to try one of ours (SoundLens Synergy, Muse or Halo 2) — schedule a free appointment with a hearing professional near you.

By Andrea Hannan Dawkes, Au.D.