Oticon Alta2 Hear even the softest sounds

Made for iPhone coming to hearing solutions near you

Contributed by , staff writer for Healthy Hearing

If you wish you could control the sound sources and volume levels of your hearing aids with a simple tap of your finger - there's an App for that.

Oticon has upgraded its Streamer Pro to connect to the iPhone via the Oticon ConnectLine App, giving users the ability to connect and set sound levels for as many devices as they desire. With this system, users can move seamlessly between a variety of input sources - such as FaceTime, phone call and music player - with a few taps of the finger. The App also allows the user to program different listening environments - such as home, restaurant and office - and set individual volume levels for each in advance or on the spot.

iPhone and hearing aids
Modern technology is making the link between
cell phones and hearing aids much easier!

The Streamer Pro is a small electronic device which looks like a stylish MP3 player and is worn around the neck. When the Streamer Pro is linked to hearing aids, it acts as an antenna to transmit sound to hearing aids, turning them into a small, wireless headset. Practically any audio source can be linked to the Streamer Pro using a wireless Bluetooth connection or mini jack cable.

Oticon Inc is a leading manufacturer of hearing solutions and first launched wireless hearing solutions in 2007. The upgraded Streamer Pro and ConnectLine App work with all wireless Oticon hearing instruments. The App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone. To use the ConnectLine App, users will need any Oticon wireless hearing instrument, the Streamer Pro 1.2 App, and an iPhone 4 or later.

“The launch of the Streamer Pro will immediately benefit more than two million hearing device users who will experience a new level of convenience and discreetness,” says Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. “Our simple, intuitive functionality gives Oticon hearing instrument wearers the ability to connect to iPhone via Streamer Pro without compromising sound quality.”

How hearing aids work with cell phones

Wireless technology has improved the hearing aid experience for millions of users; however, cell phones and hearing aids don't always work well together. Most hearing aids operate in microphone mode or telecoil (T-coil) mode. Hearing aids which operate in microphone mode pick up sound from the telephone as well as any background noise that may be present, making it difficult to hear clearly in certain situations. T-coils in hearing aids and cochlear implants only pick up the electromagnetic signals from the telephone, making it easier to communicate more effectively and without feedback. Unfortunately, not all cell phones support T-coil transmissions.

Since 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires cell phone makers and service providers to make digital wireless telephones work better for those who use hearing aids or cochlear implants. The rules require the phones produce less static and less interference with better T-coil connections.

Cell phones that work well with hearing aids have a microphone (M) rating of M3 or M4. The higher the number, the clearer the sound. Hearing devices with T-coil should look for a phone with a T-coil (T) rating of T3 or T4. Hearing aid makers use the same rating system to indicate how well their products work in the microphone or T-coil mode. Most new hearing aids will have a M2/T2 rating. For the best performance, look for a combined rating of 6 or more.

What's next?

Even though hearing devices and cell phones are becoming more compatible, users must still switch between standard and hearing aid compatible (HAC) mode on their phones. A patent filed by Apple corporation may change all of that. After the FCC's new regulations became law in 2011, Apple filed for a patent on technology which will detect and integrate portable electronic devices and hearing aids by enabling a cell phone to automatically switch between normal and HAC modes.

A magnetic field sensor in the handset will automatically detect if the user has a hearing aid in T-coil mode, making it possible for hearing-impaired and normal hearing users to hear conversations on an iPhone without having to change settings.

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