For teens wanting to listen to music and chat on the phone with friends, Bluetooth can connect hearing-devices with MP3 players or phones. Two products are Nokia’s Bluetooth Neckloop and HumanTechnik’s Bluetooth connector. Nokia is not the only telecom provider in this market, however.
With news of Apple’s latest system, iOS6, came whispers of a possible new relationship between Apple and hearing aids. Interestingly, GN ReSound introduced its ‘Made-for-iPhone’ digital hearing-aids earlier in 2012, leading Apple to adapt its ‘iOS6 for iPhone’, to link with high-end hearing aids.
This groundbreaking move by Apple will change the direction of the hearing aid industry. Essentially, Apple has created a hybrid of hearing technology and digital markets. The beauty of this hybrid is that iPhone’s users will have improved interaction with a hearing aid, and control of the device itself.
A potential new app in this market, is a Cochlear iPhone app design, created by designer, Aaron Hall, from the frustration (necessity) of having to carry multiple items in his pockets. Aaron’s goal is for Cochlear Inc, the device maker, to consider his design as a remote-control option for its customers.
While we wait to see if Apple can pull off their move into the hearing market, other firms are pairing hearing aids and smartphones. SoundFest Inc. has an iPhone app, ‘Real Clarity’, which allows users to use an iPhone as a microphone for enhanced audio through their earbuds. Real Clarity has other uses such as improving TV audio by placing your iPhone beside a TV.
Another SoundFest Inc. product is a Bluetooth earpiece to enhance wireless signals from an iPhone in a pairing that will filter out unwanted noise during a phone call, as a user needs. SoundFest has an excellent YouTube video to demonstrate the difference with and without a Real Clarity sound processor.
Since Real Clarity is looking to provide an app for Android phones, Apple needs to hold out in this market. Regardless of how many handset vendors pair their models with hearing-aid technologies, communication possibilities are broadening for deaf and hard-of-hearing users everywhere.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)
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