The “Made for iPhone” hearing aid designation will be joyful words for some and a source of anxiety for others. The reaction depends on your comfort level with your iPhone, plain and simple. Below we will review the basics of how a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid works, but we will not be offering any specific product recommendations. Instead, we hope this is a helpful first step in determining if a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid is right for you.
The conversation must start with Bluetooth because that’s what made it possible for our electronics to start talking to each other without being physically connected. Bluetooth technology allows for the wireless transfer of data between two or more devices using radio waves. When invented in 1994, it was an alternative to data cables. Currently, it is used to transfer sound and byte data in telephones, speakers, tablets, computers, laptops, gaming equipment, headsets, modems, and watches.
The Bluetooth label on a hearing aid does not necessarily mean that it is compatible with an iPhone. It means that the hearing aid is capable of wireless connectivity through a connective device, usually a streamer. A streamer is the communication link between a hearing aid and any Bluetooth-enabled device. Basically, it’s the middleman that steps in when a hearing aid is not directly compatible with a smartphone. Some people believe that the streamer provides a more stable connection than a direct link to a smartphone.
Hearing aids will often come with an iPhone app, but they still may not be fully iPhone compatible without a streamer. Again, it means that the hearing aid has Bluetooth capabilities, but needs the streamer to complete the connection with the iPhone. It’s important to know the difference between Bluetooth-enabled and “Made for iPhone” devices so you can ask the right questions when making your hearing aid purchasing decisions.
“Made For iPhone” Hearing Aids
A “Made for iPhone” hearing aid is designed to work with Apple’s operating system, IOS. If you have an Apple product (iPhone, iPad, etc) it is using IOS. A “Made for iPhone” hearing aid will connect directly to any Apple products without a streamer or other intermediary device. Audio from any Apple device will stream directly into the hearing aid.
Apple has invested in the integration of its devices with hearing aids allowing users to hear more clearly and to control their hearing aid using their Apple devices. For detailed instructions on how to connect a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid to an iPhone, visit this site.
“Made for iPhone” hearing aids require these devices with IOS 7 or later:
Take note that Apple’s IOS platform is updated frequently. If your device runs on anything before IOS 7, you will not be able to use a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid. However, you can still use a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid with a streamer.
We know this can seem confusing, but we can help you navigate the right hearing aid choice based on your technology comfort level, budget, and lifestyle. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing evaluation and to create a personalized hearing health plan.