Did you know that App was voted “Word of the Year” in 2010 by the American Dialect Society? It is not so long ago that mobile apps were unheard of, but since their introduction, many people across the globe use them regularly. Apps have become integral to everyday life, and we use them to connect to families and friends who could be miles away. Healthcare apps can promote and support healthy living and are nowadays also available for most modern hearing aid technology like adjustable hearing aids.
Adjustable hearing aids: in the comfort of your own home
Your home is a familiar environment and could be an ideal place for you to adjust your hearing aids towards your listening needs and preferences. Most of the latest hearing aid technologies are compatible with an app on your smartphone so that everyday sounds can be adjusted exactly the way you want. The apps are evolving to be more efficient and helpful for hearing aid users. You can take as much or as little control as you wish. The apps can allow you to do anything from a quick change in hearing aid settings to checking battery use or to link to other devices via Bluetooth. This can be done in real-life settings where you need these adjustments and all from the convenience of a smartphone. Many of the hearing aid apps can also link you to your hearing healthcare professional if you need remote support and tuning by an expert.
The apps can help to get the most of your hearing aids, or they can help you to have a greater understanding of how your hearing aids work and how to control and adapt them according to your listening circumstances.
Turn your phone into a remote control for your hearing aids
The hearing aid apps allow you to turn your smartphone into a remote control for your hearing aids. Not only will you have complete control over your hearing aids via your phone, but other people won’t notice that you are controlling them. Some self-adjustment and tuning options that could be available, include the following:
- You will be able to adjust the volume of your hearing aids while listening to real-life sounds like the TV, radio, your own voice, or another person’s voice. The app may also allow you to change settings on your hearing aid for more comfort in noise or to hear speech better.
- You can discreetly adjust the volume or program settings of your hearing aids via the app on your smartphone if you don’t want to fiddle with buttons when socializing.
- Some hearing aid apps allow you to create customized programs with settings that you prefer.
- It is possible to balance the loudness of low, medium, or high sounds (bass and treble) or adjust microphone settings between directional and omnidirectional to hear better during difficult listening situations.
- The app could allow you to make ear specific adjustments for each hearing aid or both together. Most people have hearing loss in both ears but may need to make adjustments on each ear separately depending on the external sound environment and source of the sound.
- Some Bluetooth enabled devices can be paired via an app so that you can listen to music or stream external devices to your hearing aids. This function could be done directly depending on your hearing aids and your phone, or via an additional streaming device if needed.
- Depending on the hearing aid, some apps can connect your devices with various other internet services that also support remote-controlled devices. These devices may include alarms, for when there is someone at your door or a fire alarm.
- The apps may help you to get used to your new hearing aids by giving you access to instruction manuals or give you troubleshooting tips and illustrations on how to handle and care for your hearing aids. Instructions can include how to change the battery, how to turn it on or off, how to put it in your ear, and how to clean and store it.
- Some, like the Lexie App, have specially developed interactive programs to improve your knowledge base, help you optimize your hearing ability and hearing aid.
- Apps could also allow you to view the battery status of your hearing aids or to track the usage of hearing aids.
- Some apps have a “find my hearing aids” feature for when you have misplaced them.
Take note that some of the apps are exclusive to specific hearing aids or may require specific streaming devices. It is always advisable to check the compatibility of your phone and devices first. While apps are not a necessity for all hearing aid users, it surely makes your life easier and more convenient and could be a smart addition to your hearing aids.
Teleaudiology: keep in touch with your hearing healthcare professional
Teleaudiology, telehealth, telemedicine, or remote care were some of the new buzz words during the Covid-19 pandemic when social distancing became increasingly important. Remote hearing care or teleaudiology is the provision of hearing care or audiology services over the phone or the internet. Internet technology makes it possible to connect an app on your smartphone to a secure online portal on the professional’s computer or phone for a virtual consultation. Your hearing healthcare professional can then check on your progress, provide counseling, or make hearing aid adjustments – all remotely.
Remote programming and hearing aid support
Hearing aid apps make remote programming and professional support accessible, when it may not always be possible to get to your hearing healthcare professional for adjustments. Online tools and connectivity can work together to support clients along every stage of the hearing care journey from the comfort and safety of their homes. These tools can include online hearing testing, real-time remote hearing aid fitting, programming, and fine-tuning. During remote sessions, information about the acoustic environment and usage of the hearing aid can be obtained and used to allow real-time remote adjustments and fine-tuning.
For remote care, you would need to download the app that works with your hearing aid and grant your audiologist permission to provide remote assistance. Updates and follow-up virtual visits would then be possible once you are ready for remote services.
So are you ready for remote hearing aid care, the use of apps, and virtual support? These tools are ready for you and can open a world of better connectivity and hearing!