It’s the size of a large peanut, but at full function, a small device with a tiny antenna can transmit information back and forth to a nearby iPhone or iPod, allowing the user to make quick adjustments and ease communication.
The device is a technologically-advanced hearing aid — the first of its kind in Canada made for Apple devices — and when linked with a device, wearers can customize their hearing experience though a specialized app.
Wearers can also stream stereo sound, listen to music, FaceTime and have GPS prompts sent directly through the hearing aid.
“The goal with this and with the new technology is to raise the profile of hearing aids and talk about it more; make it more attractive,” explained Beltone Canada general manager Frank Skubski.
He explained hearing is a sense that is often neglected, and added it takes an average person about 10 years from the time they begin to notice hearing loss to the time they purchase a hearing aid.
He hopes with advances in technology, people will be more receptive to using a device, and with the compatibility with a smartphone or iPad, a hearing aid can now be configured with the swipe of a few fingers, which, in the past, had to be customized prior to wear.
“When I started (in the industry), everything was analogue, and there really weren’t a lot of options. In the ’90s, programable hearing aids had the ability to make adjustments, but they were still analogue,” explained Skubski.
In the early-2000s, digital hearing aids were created with the ability to adjust to certain environments, with programming based on hearing loss and lifestyle.
Now, with the help of handheld technology, improving communication for people through understanding speech in various environments becomes significantly easier, added Skubski.
The device contains a small built-in antenna which operates similar to a Bluetooth device but runs on an FM frequency. The hearing aid pairs with a wearer’s device of choice, where the user can control volume, treble and bass, and access programs which save settings for designated environments.
Skubski said the hearing aid works really well with younger clients who are already using their iPhones or iPods in the day-to-day life.
An application for Android devices will be released through Beltone soon, and in the future Skubski said he sees intelligent hearing aids expanding, as people begin to use one centralized device for many of their needs.
For more information, visit www.beltone.com.