Modern hearing devices do more than just “turn the volume up”, unlike the hearing aids of previous generations. Today’s hearing devices are jam-packed (into their tiny size) with advanced digital technology. This gives clarity of sound, not just volume, with amazing clever features such as speech enhancement, which makes softer sounds easier to hear in quiet situations; directional microphones which can zone in on the person speaking; and dynamic noise cancellation which gives a better hearing experience when you are listening to someone speaking against background noise. However, many now also have connectivity capabilities that can, in fact, be life-changing.
“Connectivity” refers to the hearing device’s ability to connect via Bluetooth to your mobile phone, ipad, or even your television (via a wireless connector box). Phone calls, for example, can be streamed directly into your hearing aids using this feature, allowing you to answer and end phone calls simply by tapping your ear. (Our Lead Audiologist, Trevor Chapman, a hearing device user himself, has often been spotted seemingly talking to himself as he walks round the clinic as he streams phone calls directly to his hearing aids).
But how can this connectivity, while evidently convenient for hands-free conversations whilst on the move as in Trevor’s case, also be life changing?
Here’s how Samuel, one of our Audiologists, restored the absolute joy of music for one of our clients, Neil, using hearing device connectivity.
Neil is a client who came to see us for help with his hearing as he has long term hearing loss in one ear, and his hearing had also started to decline on his “good” side. Music had always brought Neil a lot of happiness and his gradual hearing loss in his “good ear” meant that he could no longer appreciate music as well as before. Neil sadly admitted he had not been able to hear the lyrics to any songs in over a decade. Without lyrics, he sadly admitted to Samuel, songs have no meaning. And with no meaning, songs lose their emotional power.
Samuel fitted Neil with a Phonak P90 hearing device which greatly restored Neil’s ability to once more hear and experience the clarity of music. However, he took Neil’s elation one step further by introducing him to the connectivity abilities of his hearing device for an even more immersive sound experience. After showing Neil how to connect his hearing devices via Bluetooth to his phone and stream music directly to his ear, Samuel hit play and Neil listened. As the sound of the singer’s voice flowed into his ears Neil became very emotional. For the first time in many years, he was able to distinctly hear the lyrics.
On his follow-up visit to the clinic a week later Neil described to Samuel how, after that visit to the clinic, he had played the same one song that he had stored on his phone over and over for two hours whilst grinning from ear to ear with joy and singing along.
So, Samuel introduced him to Spotify, downloading it on Neil’s phone and teaching him how to use it directly streaming to his hearing devices. Neil now has a huge catalogue of music at his fingertips to choose from, hear the lyrics to, and connect with their meaning on an emotional level once more.
“Neil was moved to tears”, said Samuel. “And so was I to be honest; it was a very moving moment. Neil had not heard song lyrics for many, many years, and now, thanks to the Bluetooth capability of his hearing aid technology, he could stream the music he loves directly into his ear with crystal clear clarity.
“As he left the clinic after his appointment, Neil joked that he couldn’t wait to get home and annoy his wife by singing along loudly once again to a now endless supply of fantastic music. Today’s hearing aid technology gives so much more to enhance your experience and sense of sound that they, just like in Neil’s case, can be truly life-changing.”