Updated: Jul 5
There are hearing aid users that work from home. You may run a business remotely, attend online/zoom meetings, conduct group meetings, support customers and so on. Read this article to learn what are the attributes of good hearing aid for working from home and what the best hearing aids in the market that can make working from home more fun.
1 - The best hearing aids for talking over the landline
Despite the extended use of smartphones, there are still people who use landlines. Last month I had a semi-retired patient in his 70s. He provides counselling to his patients over the landline telephone. He tried several brands of hearing aids and finally settled on Resound One 961 Rechargeable. The hearing aids that he chose are Bluetooth enabled so he could provide counselling over his mobile phone, however, he insisted to use the landline instead.
The good news is that a few hearing aids come with a feature to receive the electromagnetic waves from the speaker of your landline and send the sound to your ear canal through your hearing aids. The microswitches in the hearing aid will be activated as soon as you hold the telephone handset close to your ear. Two brand hearing aids that I have worked with and that do provide this feature are Resound One and Starkey Evolv AI.
2 - The best hearing aids for working from home
Zoom meetings become very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies started providing remote customer support through online visual sessions and millions of people started working from home. I believe that the use of technology to provide remote support and remote collaboration will keep expanding. Most of the brand hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. That means you can have one-to-one live visual and audio communication on your smartphone through Zoom meetings, WhatsApp, Apple Facetime, Google Meetings or any other communication platform, but what if you need to use your computer for the zoom meeting?
Visual and audio communication for people with hearing loss can easily be established through his/her smartphone and a pair of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid however, there are not many hearing aids that could connect to your laptop, computer or desktop directly.
If you have hearing loss (and use hearing aids) and work as customer support or simply work from home and manage tens of video calls a day you have two options:
Direct connectivity to desktop/laptop: Most hearing aids use a light low energy version of Bluetooth (called ASHA, learn more here) for connectivity and streaming audio from/to Bluetooth devices and your hearing aids. Unfortunately, most desktops or laptops do not support ASHA hence although you can stream music from your iPhone or Android straight to your Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, you cannot stream video or have a zoom teleconference from your laptop to your hearing aids. The only exception is Phonak. If your Phonak hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, it is very likely that they can directly connect to your laptop or your desktop through Bluetooth and works exactly as standard headphone. This is priceless for people who work from home or work in customer support and who use a computer to do Zoom meetings and manage files, reports and group workflow.
Connecting with a bridging device: If you have any other Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid but Phonak, there is still a way to connect them to your desktop or laptop. All you need is a remote microphone to bridge your hearing aids and the desktop/laptop. See this article to see how such a gadget works on Resound GN hearing aids.
3 - The best hearing aids for tech-savvy people
"Awesome, "a game changer", "made my life much more fun", "a huge difference" and many more are what hearing aid users say when they try their very first Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. It is true. Streaming your favourite music, or hearing TV sound straight in your hearing aids are life changers for people with hearing loss. What about hands-free calls?!
But what if you want more than that? What if you are tech savvy and need to frequently switch the connectivity of your hearing aids from one Bluetooth Device to another? While most Bluetooth-enabled hearing ids can only connect to one Bluetooth device (e.g. your smartphone), only Phonak hearing aids are the ones that can set up Bluetooth connectivity to 8 devices and be connected to 2 at the same time. That means your Phonak Paradise P90 or Phonak Lumity can connect to your iPhone and your iPad at the same time. You are listening to your favourite music on your iPhone with your Phonak Paradise hearing aids, and seamlessly you can watch a movie on your iPad without the need to disconnect from your iPhone and connect to your iPad.
What other challenges have you faced when working from home? Please share your experience.