Bluetooth Hearing Aids for TV

Every hearing person knows when there is a hard of hearing person living in the house. Not more than 5 feet from the front door, they can hear the TV blasting from the outside. They now have an impossible task of getting your attention by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell. The sounds seeking your attention just drown under the noise of the television. 

The poor thing, now your guests are stuck looking like they are about the break and enter by the neighbors, as they peer into the windows on your house to see if they can get your attention, or walk around your house to see if there is any potential sign of anybody inside. They look like the intruder your neighbors are watching and waiting to see what happens next. Then they startle you when their face is pressed against the window. Yes, this is the life of being friends with a person with hearing loss. 

Besides your friends, there are families who live with us everyday who have to put up with the loud volume from the television. They let us know every single time that the television is just too loud. We  battle for a volume level that makes sense for both of us. A volume that works for you but does not damage their own eardrums. Then we turn back up the volume when they leave the room again.

In a quiet setting we can hear comfortably without having to get our friend to yell. However, when it comes to a tv the volume is always needed. If you have a smart TV, you’ll understand that they provide little projection of sound. It is easier to sit next to the tv to hear but then that will be turning your tv to a radio because you’re not able to see the screen well. We all desire to watch TV comfortably and there is a tiny device that can allow 

Hearing aids with bluetooth

Many hearing aids these days have a standard feature and come with bluetooth capabilities. These bluetooth features will allow you to get the sound directly from the audio source right into your ear. It skips the noise in the background perfectly, giving us the ability to focus just on the sounds from the device. If you ever hear the term private listening, this means that you can direct the sound from your TV to your hearing aids without any speakers. 

Bluetooth is a great solution for many people with hearing loss to use. It has been around for close to 24 years now but recently in the last decade we have benefited from the bluetooth on our hearing aids. This is just the start. There are new advanced technologies that will allow us to use Bluetooth in public places. Imagine watching tv at a medical clinic or at a museum, you with the latest bluetooth which is making its way, you will be able to access the audio from the public tv, which we can do easily now.

How it works

Smart TV with Bluetooth for hearing aids

To even begin to have audio stream to your hearing aid, you will ideally need a TV with Bluetooth feature. The next step is to figure out if you can pair directly or indirectly. One option is with your hearing aids directly. The other option is to make an indirect connection between the TV and your hearing aids.

Is it direct or do I need another device?

It confuses me when people say that the hearing aid can bluetooth directly to the TV but in all actuality it’s not technically accurate. Direct pairing between a hearing aid and a bluetooth device means there are no other receivers or devices in between the connection. This is very unlikely because the only device that controls the hearing aids are smartphones and its apps.

iPhone works with a number of hearing aid manufacturers to allow for direct pairing of hearing aids to the iPhone with no other device in between. For android users, you need Android 10 and above to work and a Starkey, Widex, ReSound and Whisper AI hearing aid brands.

However, times are changing and new technologies will be making direct to TV possible. At the moment we can use Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA). This will give you the direct connection everyone is talking about. Well that is until you next purchase your latest and greatest new hearing aids in the upcoming years.

Issues with using Bluetooth direct 

Bluetooth technology is only about 20 years old. Hence there are improvements being made over time but there are a few common issues with bluetooth enabled devices that you might experience. 

Bluetooth technology can use a lot of power and energy. One would often experience their hearing aid battery running low fairly quickly. The convenience of hearing comes at a cost and sometimes you may decide to use bluetooth like I do while on a long road trip or on the plane but not regularly for TV watching.

The other challenge with bluetooth technology is that sometimes the audio takes time to move over. You may experience audio lagging by a few seconds. You’ll notice this if you’re a lip reader. Because lip reading and listening at the same time, can be a bit of a distraction with the audio delay.

Indirect Connections

Most of the time, you are pairing your tv and your hearing aid with another device known as a receiver, streamer or a device, every hearing aid manufacturer created another device to enable the pairing.

Hearing Aids 

Phonak

Phonak has two devices that you can use to pair. They require a Phonak ComPilot with the  Phonak TVLink to get your TV audio to your hearing aids.

Resound

For Resound wearers, your hearing aid brand has a Resound TV Streamer that enables you to move sound to your TV to your hearing aids.

Oticon

If you own an Oticon bluetooth hearing aid , you will need an Otican TV Adapter to help. 

Widex

Widex provides a tool, Widex TV Play, to enable the sound of your TV to enter your hearing aid. Similarly their app allows you to control the sound like a remote control.

Starkey

Starkey hearing aids has a TV Streamer which enables audio to your hearing aids.

Unitron

TV Connector is Unitron’s version for connecting your television to your hearing aids.

Signia

StreamLine TV is Signia’s answer to bluetooth connection.

TVs

When it comes to TVs, not all allow for direct connection yet. Apple TV and Google TV have yet to build features for direct connections. So using the TV streamer listed by your hearing aid brands, is the way to go for now.

Roku

Roku allows you to connect your tv using your smartphone, which is a nice way without having to buy a streaming device but again, it is not direct but it does save you money from purchasing another device.

Direct Connections

Brands with Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) will allow for direct connections. For the Android 10 devices that pair with hearing aids listed above, this uses ASHA as well. To date, we only have one brand that uses ASHA outside of the phone.

Amazon Fire TV

If you own a starkey hearing aid, you will be able to connect your hearing aid with the Fire TV Cube. This cube .

Continue to review this post as we continue to update more ASHA enabled devices.

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