By LEESA BURKE,MA, FAAA, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Staff

Almost all of my hearing aid patients ask me “what’s new” in the world of hearing aids when they come in for their check ups.

Hearing Aid.

(WILLIAM WEST/Getty Images)

Like all technology, there is almost always something new. I generally tell my patients that each hearing aid manufacturer will roll out a new product 1-2 times a year. Does this make their current product obsolete? No. But, for those who might be in the market for new hearing aids, or, those who always seek the latest products, asking about the new developments is wise.

In the spring, one manufacturer introduced the first “Made for iPhone” hearing aids. Not really made JUST for iPhones, but, these are hearing aids that can interface with Apple’s wireless products, such as iPhones and iPads.

There is an associated “app”, which can act as a remote control for your hearing aid, controlling volume and program selections, and, it can use the GPS feature on your phone to recall your preferred listening settings from a previous visit.

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant, and each time you enter, your phone will ask you if you would like to set your hearing aids the way you did last week. The hearing aids can also stream your cell phone calls directly to the hearing aids, so not only are you hands free, but you are now hearing the caller amplified through your hearing aids. There are several other creative ways to use this technology.

As baby boomers age, and enter the hearing aid market, products that work with our many tech gadgets may become the norm. I love the idea of hearing aids that can stream my phone calls, my music playlists, my television, and all the conversations that happen during the day.

For those who don’t have, or use, smart phones, my advice to hearing aid users is to consider the age of your current devices. If they are 5 years old or greater, it might be worth investigating newer technology.

Learn more about the audiology clinic at Hebrew SeniorLife.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted December 2014

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