Hearing aid, as we all know, is an electronic device that enables you to overcome hearing impairment with ease. Hearing aids are generally prescribed to you by audiologists. Advancement in technology has given way to Bluetooth hearing aids. This article will explore what Bluetooth hearing aids are, their cost, different models, and pros and cons of buying one.
What are Bluetooth Hearing Aids?
An estimated 48 million people in the US experience some form of hearing loss. For some, the hearing impairment is severe enough to keep them from participating in conversations with their loved ones. Hearing aids have been a blessing for such individuals.
In the old days, hearing aid devices merely helped you to hear conversations better. However, advancement in technology and the invention of Bluetooth has led to the birth of Bluetooth hearing aids. These hearing aids hold the capacity to connect with devices such as your smartphones, TVs, and laptops via Bluetooth. As a result, you can now control your hearing aid through a device of your choice. With Bluetooth hearing aids, it is now possible to make phone calls without removing your hearing aid and holding the phone over your ears. You can now directly stream audio from your paired devices and watch your favorite TV shows at a controlled, preferred volume.
How do they work?
Bluetooth hearing aids connect to other devices via radio frequency. These frequencies are much weaker than the ones used to make a phone call through your cell phones. The hearing aids connect with your devices via a smartphone app. Once connected, you are able to control functions such as volume, audio streaming, remote care, etc. with your device. Each company that offers Bluetooth hearing aids create their own apps. Hence, it is likely that the features may vary from company to company.
For hearing aids that do not offer Bluetooth compatibility, you can use a streamer. A streamer is a device that you can hang around your neck or clipped to your clothing. The streamer picks up the audio from a Bluetooth enabled device and transmits the sound to your hearing aids. However, you will not be able to remotely control functions mentioned above with your Bluetooth enabled devices.
Costs of Hearing Aids with Bluetooth
Hearing aids are available through consultations with an audiologist or at a hearing care centre. Most hearing aids cannot be bought directly. The cost of Bluetooth hearing aid, as a result, depends on whom or where you are purchasing from. Moreover, audiologists/hearing care centres offer their own additional warranties and services that may add to the cost.
Also, the Bluetooth hearing aid cost may vary based on customizations you choose. If you are buying any accessories for your hearing aids, then it may only add to the price of your hearing aids. To find out more about the Bluetooth hearing aid prices, it would be wise to consult your audiologist or hearing care specialist. Based on our research, the average price range for Bluetooth hearing aid is between $1,200 to $6,000.
Best Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth hearing aids have quite revolutionized the hearing aid industry. Thus, many of the hearing aid companies offer hearing aids with a myriad of features like Bluetooth compatibility. Let’s take a look at some of the best Bluetooth hearing aids available in the market.
Phonak, a flagship brand of the Sonova Group, turned heads when it launched its Paradise hearing aid models. With the Audéo Lumity models, they only went a step further. All Paradise and Lumity models are receiver-in-canal (RIC). These models offer:
- Dynamic noise cancellation
- Motion sensor hearing
- Better speech understanding
- Hands-free calling
- Tap control
- Directional microphones for speech enhancement
- Tinnitus management
Phonak has its own app, the myPhonak app, with which the hearing aids can be paired. Once paired, you can remotely control functions such as volume, audio streaming, answering a call, and more. You can also get remote support from your audiologist or hear care specialist via the app. The health tracker (with some models) allows you to keep track of your wearing time, the steps you’ve walked/ran, and measures your heart rate. You can also check the status of your paired devices via the app.
On the negative side, the company offers a limited one-year warranty. For any additional warranties or services, it would be better for you to consult with your audiologist or hearing care specialist.
The Oticon has been a player in the hearing aid industry for more than 100 years. It has come with yet another stellar performer with its More hearing aid models. These models offer:
- Better speech understanding with its Deep Neural Network technology
- Tinnitus management
- A full day of battery use on a three-hour charge
The Oticon On app is compatible with the More models of Oticon hearing aids. This app allows you to remotely control and set personalized listening goals, use your phone as a microphone and more.
On the downside, Oticon does not have a defined warranty structure nor a standard trial period. Moreover, you can only buy these hearing aids through a licensed audiologist or a hearing care specialist.
Starkey Evolv AI
Starkey is the fifth largest hearing aid manufacturer, and the only US-based company. This Minnesota based company has taken hearing aids to the next level. Starkey has turned its hearing aids into complete health tracking devices. The new Starkey Evolv AI is the most revolutionary hearing aid by Starkey yet. This model offers:
- Crisp, clear sounds without interference
- Connectivity with iPhone and Android devices
- Remote support with TeleHear app
- Health and fitness tracking: steps taken, physical activity tracking, hearing tracking, digital assistant
- Built-in fall alert: alerts caregiver if you fall
On the negative end, Starkey does not provide any warranty details. You have to contact your audiologist or hearing care centre in order to find out more details about the warranty and costs. Additionally, you can only purchase Starkey hearing aids through an audiologist or a hearing care centre.
Signia Insio Charge&Go AX
Signia is one of the few companies that manufactures and offers customized in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. Signia’s Insio Charge&Go AX offers:
- Enhanced speech understanding
- Echo shielding
- Bluetooth connectivity with Android and iOS devices
- Compatibility with the Signia app
- Face mask mode: understand face mask wearers better
- Constant, 24/7 Signia Assistant support via the app
One drawback is that the price ranges slightly higher than similar products.
Widex has been in play in the hearing aid industry for the last 65 years. It has manufactured some of the best and most advanced hearing aids, Widex Moment being one of them. This model offers:
Clear, natural sound with its PureSound technology for speedy sound processing
- Direct Bluetooth audio streaming and remote control
On the negative side, although Widex Moment comes with Remote Care, it must be arranged through your audiologist or hearing care specialist. Furthermore, the device can only be purchased through your audiologist or a hearing care centre.
Best Cheap Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth hearing aids cost slightly more than the ones that do not offer Bluetooth connectivity. An affordable Bluetooth hearing aid can be purchased online though. You may not necessarily have to visit an audiologist or a hearing care centre to buy those. Brands like Jabra, Eargo, Lexie and a few others are available to purchase online. The average price range for affordable hearing aids with Bluetooth is $700 to $3,000.
However, it is possible that after buying them you may find out that they do not fit perfectly in your ear. Hence, it would be better to buy Bluetooth hearing aids after consulting an audiologist or a hearing care specialist.
The Pros and Cons of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth hearing aids, although advanced, have many benefits. However, they also come with a few disadvantages. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of buying a Bluetooth hearing aid:
Pros of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
The benefits of buying a Bluetooth hearing aids are:
With Bluetooth hearing aids, you can easily personalize your hearing aid programs, noise cancellation settings and more via the respective hearing aid app. You will be able to achieve this feat without having to visit your audiologist each time you require an adjustment.
Bluetooth is an advanced technology. It allows you to connect your hearing aids directly with your smartphones, TVs, laptops. As a result, you can now listen to music, watch your favourite shows, or even stream a movie online without having to remove your hearing aids. You can watch and listen to the audio streaming at a volume that is preferable and comfortable to you. With Bluetooth hearing aids, you can also easily control these with your paired devices.
Since Bluetooth hearing aids stream the incoming sounds/speech directly into your ear, you experience better speech understanding. If you are wearing the hearing aid device in both ears, it distributes the sound accordingly, so you can have a better listening experience with both your ears. Additionally, you can listen and participate in a conversation better when on a phone call.
Cons of Bluetooth Hearing Aids
As with everything, Bluetooth hearing aids come with disadvantages too. Some of the cons of Bluetooth hearing aids include:
Bluetooth hearing aids are larger in size compared to devices that do not offer direct Bluetooth connectivity. If you are looking for options that are discreet, then buying a Bluetooth hearing aid might make it a difficult choice.
Bluetooth hearing aids cost more compared to devices without Bluetooth connectivity features. As a result, if you are looking to buy a hearing aid with advanced technology, you may have to spend more.
To conclude, Bluetooth hearing aids a step up from the normal, non-Bluetooth enabled hearing aids. They offer far better speech and voice recognition, allow you to access your devices remotely and personalize your settings. To find out which Bluetooth hearing aid is best for you, consult your audiologist or hearing care specialist today!