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What Is Bluetooth, Anyway? And Why Would I Want It in My Hearing Aids?


By Laura Schroeder, Au.D., Audiology Consultants

It seems that Bluetooth is everywhere these days, connecting electronic devices together somehow. The Bluetooth technology was named after King Harald, who ruled Denmark in the 10th century. King Harald’s nickname, Bluetooth, likely referred to a bad tooth that appeared dark blue. The people that developed Bluetooth technology intended to change the name, but the name Bluetooth caught on quickly before it could be changed.

Bluetooth uses radio waves to allow two devices to communicate wirelessly over a short distance. Once two devices are paired together, they are capable of connecting. When two devices are connected, they are actively communicating. In the field of audiology, Bluetooth enabled hearing aids can communicate with cell phones or tablets. This allows the hearing aid user to hear phone calls through their hearing aids. Phone calls are heard in both ears and the sound is processed by the hearing aids, so that it sounds very clear. In addition, any sound that comes from the phone or tablet is routed through the hearing aids. Videos, audiobooks, music, video calls, podcasts, notifications, and even games can all heard through the hearing aids. There are apps that turn your cell phone into a remote, so that your phone can be used to adjust the hearing aids. This feature is good for people who struggle to push the tiny buttons on their hearing aids to turn their volume up or down or change programs.

Bluetooth has a range of about 30 feet. The range is shortened by obstacles such as walls and your own body. Sometimes, interference can create connection problems. Interference can be caused by a Wi-Fi signal, smart home devices, fluorescent lighting, and even your microwave. When connection problems occur, simply restarting the hearing aids and your cell phone can fix the problem. Hearing aid companies have consumer hotline phone numbers you can call to get help troubleshooting any Bluetooth problems that may come up.

Having your hearing aids connected to your phone via Bluetooth is a powerful and valuable tool for folks with hearing loss. Call your local audiologist to talk about how you could benefit from this technology!

Now is a great time to have your hearing checked! Audiology Consultants’ offices are located at 2215 East 52nd St., #2, Davenport, IA: 563-355-7712; 600 Valley View Dr., Moline, IL: 309-517-3889; Unity Point Clinic, 3426 North Port Dr., #500, Muscatine, IL: 563-264-9406; or Hammond Henry Hospital, 600 College Ave., Geneseo, IL: 309-944-9181.