Audio streaming is likely something you have heard, whether it be in conversation or somewhere online, and is one of the latest advancements in hearing aids. Hearing aids have offered Bluetooth features for some time, such as app control through your smartphone, and audio streaming allows you to enjoy music, media, and phone calls - all without having to take your hearing aids out.


Is audio streaming for hearing aids just a current trend that will fade away? Do they actually offer the convenience that they promise? Let's take a look below.


What is audio streaming?


Audio streaming is simply the process of sending data between two devices, and in the case of audio streaming for hearing aids, it is the process of sending audio data (music, phone calls, etc.) between a hearing aid and a paired device, such as a smartphone. The audio is processed by the device that your hearing aid is connected to, and is then sent directly to your hearing aid, rather than being processed by the receiver of the hearing aid. 


Another example of audio streaming is something you might already be familiar with - using wireless headphones to listen to music or watch videos on your cell phone, laptop, or tablet. The audio is processed by the device you have connected the wireless headphones to, and is then sent via Bluetooth (or other wireless technology) to your headphones. Audio streaming for headphones is the same concept but with a hearing aid instead of headphones.


Benefits of audio streaming for hearing aids


The biggest benefit is the convenience factor of being able to use your hearing aids, without having to sacrifice any features. Hearing aids were pretty limited before audio streaming started to become a looked-for feature in hearing aids. Audio streaming for hearing aids is not widely adopted at the current moment, but manufacturers are starting to invest heavily in adopting the convenient technology, as featured in the Go Ultra OTC hearing aid.


Lady on conference call with laptop screen in front of her and hearing aid in right ear


Before now, hearing aids were only able to process audio that they received through the microphone, and then feed it into your ear. Telecoil technology was introduced as a way to assist the hearing aid but it is dependent on the venue having telecoil capabilities built in. Audio streaming allows you to accept phone calls, listen to music and TV, and connect to many other smart devices (such as baby monitors) for alerts and notifications, all directly through your hearing aid. It’s worth noting, however, that some devices might have limited streaming capabilities, so always check exactly what the streaming entails when advertised. 


Streaming capabilities not only offer convenience but also enhance your ability to hear warning sounds. For example:


  • The sound of an alarm on your phone
  • The telephone ringing
  • The noise from a baby monitor


With audio streaming for hearing aids, you can program Bluetooth-enabled devices so that the sounds come directly to your hearing aids. 


Another benefit of audio streaming for hearing aids is the enhanced functionality. Something as simple as a phone call can be frustrating for someone with a hearing aid, as voices could distort, the volume could be too loud or too soft, there could be feedback, and so on. It can make communication over the phone quite difficult.


Audio streaming for hearing aids can eliminate many of these frustrations as it is sent directly to your hearing aid, so as long as you have a strong Bluetooth connection, you will be able to have a conversation with the other person so much easier. If you have ever had a conversation with someone using a pair of earbuds you will know how convenient and functional it can be to be able to move more freely while on the phone. 


How do I start audio streaming?


In order to stream audio to your hearing aids, you will need to have hearing aids that are capable of streaming, such as the Go Ultra OTC hearing aid, and you will most likely need to use a companion device, such as a smartphone, to connect your hearing aids. Other than this, you will most likely not need any other peripheral equipment to start streaming audio directly to your hearing aids, so long as your hearing aids already support the function. 


Keep in mind that not many hearing aids support streaming capabilities beyond accepting hands-free phone calls but the industry has been rapidly trying to introduce audio streaming, as it has become a sought-after feature. 


In summary


Hearing aids that feature audio streaming, such as the Go Ultra, offer convenience for those who already struggle with hearing loss. Audio streaming for hearing aids is a technology that has evolved the industry so it is unlikely that we will see it disappear anytime soon.

Written by Robert De Wit

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