They might not know it, but most people now have technology in their pocket which can stand in for a hearing aid – their smartphones. Advances in phone technology mean that many people are now using their phone and apps on it to help them manage their hearing loss better. Does this mean the end of the traditional hearing aid?
Will Cellphones Replace Hearing Aids?
On the face of it, smartphones are an ideal solution: they have all the technology necessary to mimic a hearing aid, people carry them everywhere, and many apps are already available. Additionally, some users report feeling self-conscious using a hearing aid and may find a smartphone a more acceptable solution.
The Jacoti ListenApp, for example, helps users to use their Apple earphones to hear nearby voices and audio from their phone more clearly – essentially acting as a hearing aid. The smartphone picks out the sound, increases the volume and decreases ambient noise, and then sends the sound to earphones connected by wire or Bluetooth.
Sounds great, but there are also a few downsides. Some phones are more expensive than hearing aids, so this isn’t a solution for those who can’t afford a hearing aid. Additionally, the audio tech contained within phones is not as good, and these app solutions are not effective for all levels of hearing loss. As it stands, cellphones are unlikely to replace hearing aids – but they are a great backup option.
So, It’s Smartphones vs. Hearing Aid Then?
Not necessarily. Modern hearing aids are increasingly learning from the wider wearable tech industry, introducing more modern, stylish designs and embracing the opportunity smartphones and apps bring for improving the user experience. Many manufacturers have already brought out their own apps which can act as a remote control for that brand’s hearing aids.
Many smartphone makers are also working closely with manufacturers to ensure hearing aids are compatible with their phones. For example, brands such as Unitron, Oticon, Widex, Starkey, and Signia are compatible with iOS devices.
Hearing Apps Go Beyond Hearing Enhancement
Cellphone apps have far more to offer than just hearing advancement. There are a wide variety of apps available that help to solve specific problems:
- Voice Relay – P3 Mobile is a relay service app which helps hard of hearing and deaf individuals to have phone conversations.
- Relief from Tinnitus – Apps such as Relax Melodies help tinnitus sufferers improve the quality of their sleep.
- Environmental Alerts – Apps like Sound Alert give visual and vibratory alerts after registering a specific audio cue (such as a car horn).
- Sign Language Apps – There are a wide variety of apps which help users to learn and understand sign language.
Get Advice From an Audiologist
Have you noticed a reduction in the quality of your hearing? Smartphone apps are helpful, but the best thing you can do is to get a diagnosis from an Audiologist. We are independent specialists with more than 30 years’ experience supporting individuals experiencing hearing loss in the Perth area.