Once you’ve purchased hearing aids and gotten used to wearing them, you’ll probably want to consider hearing aid accessories for enhancing your communication abilities. There are a number of helpful add-ons that can simplify the experience and further improve your quality of life.
One of the most popular hearing aid accessories today is Bluetooth technology, for wireless connectivity between your hearing aids and other electronic devices including smart phones, computers, tablets and personal audio devices. This allows you to stream signals from those devices directly to your hearing aids, where they are amplified to match your custom settings.
Because wireless connectivity requires more power than most hearing aid batteries are able to supply, assistive listening devices called streamers have been created. These provide a communication link, picking up signals from the Bluetooth device and transmitting them to the hearing aids through an FM signal or electromagnetic field. Streamers are typically worn around the neck.
FM systems are portable wireless systems that work in conjunction with hearing aids to allow the hearing impaired to understand speech better in noisy environments. They include a microphone, placed near the speaker, for transmitting sounds over special radio frequencies, and a receiver, attached to your hearing aids, for picking them up. FM systems are useful in meetings and lectures, and can be found in movie theaters, churches, conference rooms, museums and other public places.
Oregon, like many states, has a telephone equipment distribution program for residents with hearing loss. The Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP) provides free adaptive telephone equipment to the hearing impaired, with no restriction on income.