Latest posts by Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D. (see all)
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Those of us who use Android devices may feel like we belong to an exclusive little club in a world of Apple iOS users. Android smartphones have always been an alternative to iPhones due to their flexibility with customization, apps, and features. In the world of hearing aids, however, iPhones lead the way in terms of connectivity. Starting with early iterations of ReSound’s LiNX and Starkey’s Halo, “Made for iPhone” hearing aids opened up a world of accessibility for wearers, providing them with the option to stream phone calls, music, movies, and other media directly to their ears. But what about “Made for Android” hearing aids?
Let’s take a look at the evolution of hearing aid-smartphone connectivity and explore some of the best Android apps out there for hearing aid wearers.
The Evolution of Hearing Aid Smartphone Apps
While the first smartphone was invented in 1992 (IBM’s Simon), it was Apple’s iPhone that truly changed the world in 2007. It is no wonder, then, that Apple has led the pack in ground-breaking technology. Think of all of the industries and inventions that have stemmed from the smartphone! Social media, news, advanced high-definition photography, streaming videos and TV shows – all of these technologies have adapted to mobile in the past decade.
It should come as no surprise that smartphones have been instrumental in the operation and accessibility for hearing aid wearers. In 2013, Apple released proprietary Bluetooth technology exclusive to iOS, which made it easier for “Made for iPhone” hearing aids to connect to iPhones without draining the battery or needing an intermediary device to connect the two.
Fortunately for Android phone users who have hearing aids, there are now options for connectivity as well. Like Made for iPhone hearing aids, certain hearing aid models use Android apps to “allow streaming of music and voice calls between the smartphone and hearing aid,” and allow for additional connectivity with tablets and home entertainment systems.
Some hearing aid brands, such as Oticon and ReSound, do require an intermediary device to stream (ConnectClip for Oticon and Phone Clip+ for ReSound), which is an added cost. However, manufacturers have recognized the growing number of Android users and are working on Android-friendly hearing aids.
Smartphone hearing aid apps provide wearers with much convenience in terms of adjusting their listening experience, streaming audio directly to their ears, and keeping them better connected with the world around them. The apps are designed to be user-friendly and accessible to people with diverse levels of tech experience.
The Phonak Remote app can be used with Audeo Marvel and Audeo B-Direct. This hearing aid app is a favorite because it does not require an intermediary device to stream, as with other Phonak hearing aids (which require ComPilot II or ComPilot Air II). The Phonak Remote app allows you to control the volume individually by ear on your hearing aids, directly stream calls and other audio, control the directional microphones for an optimal listening experience, and to fully customize your hearing aid programs. The myPhonak app allows your audiologist to provide fine-tuning to your listening experience remotely.
Starkey TruLink and ReSound Smart App
It is important to note upfront that the TruLink app from Starkey and the Smart App from ReSound do not allow for direct streaming. However, they both offer an incredible feature: geo-tagging for up to 20 locations. Starkey and ReSound hearing aid wearers are able to save their listening preferences by location and automatically switch between preferences when returning to saved spots. Additionally, both TruLink and Smart App allow wearers to find a lost hearing aid! TruLink is compatible with certain Android devices, so be sure to check with us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor to see if this one will work for you. ReSound’s Smart App requires a Phone Clip+ in order to pair with your hearing aids.
Signia touchControl App
The touchControl app “generates high-frequency control signals which allow control of Signia hearing aids without an intermediary device.” This app is popular for its audio balance adjustments and the ability to adjust the direction and span of the microphones from all directions.
Oticon ON App
Designed to link up with the Oticon Opn hearing aid, the ON app uses TwinLink Technology and is the only hearing aid currently on the market that allows for internet connectivity. With connectivity to IFTTT, your Oticon Opn hearing aids can link up with home appliances, home entertainment systems, and more. The ON app also allows for wearers to switch between saved programs and are compatible with most Android phones.
Interested in Learning More?
If you’re in the market for a new pair of hearing aids or are considering an upgrade, contact us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor today. We provide top-of-the-line hearing aids from all major manufacturers and are excited to share the latest in hearing technology with you. Contact us today for a consultation.