Bluetooth Hearing Aids for TV

Every hearing person can tell 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. Your guest now has the impossible task of getting your attention by knocking on or ringing the doorbell. The sounds seeking your attention drown under the noise of the television. 

The poor thing, now your guests are stuck looking like they are about to break and enter by your nosy neighbours. Your guests peer into the windows of 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 and now your neighbours are bringing out the popcorn to watch and waiting to see what happens next.

Then, your guest startles you when their face is pressed against the window.

Yes, this is the life of being friends with someone with hearing loss when the TV is on. 

Besides your friends, there are families who live with us every day and have to put up with the loud volume of 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 getting our friends to yell. However, when it comes to a TV, the volume is always needed. If you have a smart TV, you’ll understand they provide little sound projection. 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, allowing us to focus just on the sounds from the device. If you ever hear the term private listening, 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, especially when using a hearing aid for TV watching. 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.

See also  The best hearing aids on the market from a hearing loss person

New, advanced technologies will allow us to use Bluetooth in public places. Imagine watching TV at a medical clinic or a museum with the latest Bluetooth, which is making its way. You can access the audio from public TV, which we can do easily now.

How it works

Smart TV with Bluetooth for hearing aids

To even begin to have an audio stream to your hearing aid, you will ideally need a TV with a Bluetooth feature. The next step is determining if you can pair directly or indirectly. One option is to use 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 no other receivers or devices are in between the connection. This is very unlikely because the only devices that control hearing aids are smartphones and their apps. Bluetooth hearing aids to TV is a control to enable the connection. This can be an app or an assistive device.

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

However, times are changing, and new technologies will make direct-to-TV possible. Currently, 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 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, improvements are being made over time, but you might experience a few common issues with Bluetooth-enabled devices. 

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, as 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. Lip reading and listening simultaneously can be a bit of a distraction due to the audio delay.

This occurs because the manufacturers of the two devices have not collaborated to factor in Bluetooth hearing aid users when adding Bluetooth features to mainstream devices. Bluetooth from a headset, smartphone or hearing aids are all different and need different capabilities manufactured in the design.

See also  Best TV for Hard of Hearing People

Indirect Connections

Most of the time, you are Bluetooth hearing aid to TV, or in other words, pairing your TV and your hearing aid with another device known as a receiver, streamer, or device, and every hearing aid manufacturer creates 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 from 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 hearing aids.

Signia

StreamLine TV is Signia’s answer to the question of 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 to do so without having to buy a streaming device 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 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.

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


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