Over the last decade; telecommunications developers have pushed the boundaries of technology in order to help produce a more refined product for every consumer. With each passing year the advances in technology allow us not only a much greater understanding of the various forms of hearing loss and hearing related issues, but it also allows companies to help develop new sets of tools to aid those with long term hearing afflictions. In recent years cellular phones have made leaps and bounds towards helping audiology and the hearing impaired. In the paragraphs below we will examine some of the ways that this new technology is impacting the lives of those with long term hearing loss.
Cellular phones – Dispelling the Myth
Even today there are many modern misconceptions regarding hearing aids and their compatibility with new-age technology. They range from the simple misconception that they simply don’t mesh well with cellular phones to the more complex misunderstanding of how radio frequencies interact with one another. The former could not be any further from the truth. By utilizing telecoils internally within hearing aids, or externally on a mobile device, a user can boost electronic signals to better allow them to hear. These telecoils are comprised of a thin copper wire, and are found in all behind-the-ear hearing aid, and some in-the-ear hearing aid. One of the other concerns is how the radio frequencies interact between hearing aid and cellular device. Fortunately there is an FCC mandated rating scale for cellular devices to show compatibility between hearing aid and mobile device. The scale gives the device a rating from 1-4 for the microphone interference (M 1-4) and telecoil coupling capability (T 1-4)
Smart phones – The Next Generation
With the advent of the “smart phone”, the digital age has seen numerous applications created with the intent of improving the quality of life for everyone. The hearing impaired is not exempt from this. Developers with friends or family with hearing problems or who may be deaf themselves are banding together to create a world where hearing impairment is much less of a burden. Be it by applications that simply alert the user to high noise levels in an adjacent room, allowing them to preemptively change the settings on their hearing aid to avoid discomfort, or much more advanced applications that can transcribe phone calls in real time so that you can see a text representation of your conversation, thus allowing a much easier means of communicating. There is much untapped potential in the world of smart phones, and with more interest than ever in helping our friends and family with impairment, that potential is marvelous and limitless.