My 88 year old mother was finally ready to get hearing aids. She actually needed them at least a year ago but, like most of us, didn’t see any urgency as she could still “hear.” Hearing everything was just getting more difficult with each passing month.
However, an important piece of information we weren’t aware of is as your hearing starts to wane, hearing less and less can have a negative effect on your mental abilities. We learned that areas of your brain start tuning out when you can’t hear. The first lesson is, then, if a parent or you yourself need hearing aids, don’t wait. Luckily, Mom has been blessed with many friends and a very active mind, so I don’t think any permanent impairment has been done. (If you’re concerned and are a friend of hers, go pay her a visit and help keep her mind stimulated, please!)
This was not the main thing I wanted to tell you, though, so I’ll get to my main topic. Did you know that many hearing aids now have Bluetooth technology built into them? Bluetooth is the short range wireless technology that is used to connect people’s cell phones and their hands free headsets – as well as in cars to talk on the phone through your car’s audio system or a small wireless box.
The first obvious use of this technology is to use your hearing aids as the speakers for your cell phone. I haven’t looked into all the hearing aid models available but, at least with the pair Mom now has, she would also need a device that pairs (connects) her cell phone to the hearing aids. This device also has the microphone and can be worn around the neck.
Mom doesn’t use a cell phone much at all, so this was not something she was interested in. However, one of the first issues Mom discovered was difficulty adjusting the volume using the little button on the hearing aids. There was also the even more difficult task of changing between the different programs that were put in by her hearing aid tech. Again, for those of you who don’t much about hearing aids, modern hearing aids can have different programs applied to them for different sound situations. Mom’s units were setup with two programs, one for normal conversation and one for noisy environments. She can have up to four different programs on the units she has.
Well, guess what? The same device that is used to pair your hearing aids and cell phone also has volume buttons, as well as another button for answering the phone and hanging up. It can be used with her land line phone with just a little adapter. It can be used with another adapter to connect her TV sound right into her hearing aids if she so desires. And, of course, it can change the hearing aid settings between normal conversation, noisy environments and any other program setting one might have. We just ordered this simple yet amazing little marvel. For an elderly person with some of the issues that often come with advanced years (like some arthritis in the hands,) it has got to make it a lot easier for her to enjoy her restored hearing abilities.
I will keep you posted on her results….
June 7th, 2013