Posts for: February, 2019
Telecoil vs. Bluetooth Hearing Aids. Which is Better?
It is true, as an audiologist, day in and day out I am asked about if a hearing aid has direct connectivity to a whole host of objects. Android, iPhone, computer, television, Alexa, Google Home… dare I say a toaster oven may be next? Yes, Bluetooth wireless technology is the new hotness. Couple that with a rechargeable cell and you have enabled someone to be almost worry free in the hearing aid realm. But the question remains, is this enough?
First of all, what does Bluetooth really do? Yes, it allows for wireless streaming from an enabled device into your aids (as long as the technology is compatible… Android users I am looking at you). Bluetooth is very good at allowing the hearing aid user to distinguish vocal sounds over the phone. It is an easy set up, and for someone in assisted living it can be a valuable tool for family members to be able to talk to their loved ones by utilizing the remote mic functionality on iPhone. But is it the cleanest signal for those with mild to severe and even profound loss. The answer is simply, no. That is where telecoil comes in.
What is Telecoil (T-Coil)?
A telecoil system, or “loop system” as it is called in the industry, is where a tiny coil of copper wire inside the hearing aid induces an electric current that when in range of a changing magnetic field (i.e. an environment that is “looped”) the signal from that system is delivered directly into your hearing aids. This is important to know if you visit churches, meetings, the symphony, museums, community centers, some school events, travel frequently or find that overall audio quality with Bluetooth is not enough. Most hearing aid manufacturers have hearing aid options with built in t-coils (they will have to be turned on by your audiologist) and remain discreet if that is your concern.
It is very important to communicate with your audiologist about what is important for you to be able to hear in your life. Believe it or not, they can’t read your mind. They also don’t follow you around on a daily basis, that would be creepy and you would have a restraining order. You would be surprised at what is looped and what is not.
How Do I Know if There is a Telecoil System?
Go to www.aldlocator.com , type in your zip code and a list of facilities in your area will be listed.
Anytime you see this image:
This indicates that a telecoil is present.
So should I get Telecoil and NOT Bluetooth?
No. I would highly recommend that you get a hearing aid with BOTH Bluetooth and Telecoil. I am a big fan of covering all of your bases. As a hearing aid user, I never know where I will be. I would rather be prepared than have to sit and smile because I have no idea about what is going on.
Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your career to your relationships to your general well-being. Luckily, hearing aids can help!. Led by Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton, Hearing & Balance Center of Austin (located in Austin, TX) offers treatments for hearing and balance disorders. Read on to learn about the different types of hearing aids that are available from our office!
1. IIC Hearing Devices
Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) hearing devices that are designed to stay out of sight. They are placed deep into the ear canal and can easily be removed with a string. IIC models are a great option if you have an active lifestyle—or if you don't want your hearing aid to be visible to other people. IIC hearing devices may not be the best choice for patients with severe hearing loss since they do not provide the same amount of power that larger models do.
2. ITE Hearing Devices
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are appropriate for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, and they are placed in the ear canal. ITE hearing models are a good choice if you want an easy-to-handle device that has features that don't fit on smaller hearing aids, such as volume control.
3. BTE Hearing Devices
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing models are appropriate for people of all ages and are suitable for all types of hearing loss. BTE hearing models hook over the top of the ear and have small tube routes the sound down into the ear canal. BTE models are capable of more amplification than other styles, are easy to use, and comfortable to wear. They are less likely to produce feedback (whistling), even at higher volumes.
4. RIC Hearing Devices
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing models are suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss. RIC hearing devices are discreet and fit comfortably behind the ear. An RIV hearing aid uses a thin tube that extends from the body of the hearing instrument (housed behind the ear) over the outer ear and into the ear canal. RIC hearing devices are very popular largely due to their cosmetic appeal and physical comfort. RIC hearing devices are easy to maneuver and can house a variety of features.
5. CIC Hearing Devices
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing models are also a great choice if you want a hearing aid that’s virtually invisible to others. CIC models are worn in the ear canal. The close placement of the microphone to the eardrum provides a natural listening experience without a “plugged up” feeling. Because of their small size, they may not have as many advanced features as larger hearing aids.
If you need a hearing aid, why wait? We can help you today! Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin at (512) 258-2300 today to schedule an appointment in Austin, TX. Hearing aids hold great potential to positively change so many lives.