Two accessories--when combined with a Bluetooth cell phone--enable you to use the same earpiece as a hearing aid or a cell phone. In 2006 the Aliph company developed a hands-free cell phone earpiece that can also be used as a hearing aid. The technology boosts all the same features a high-tech digital hearing aid offers, at a fraction of the cost. This type of personal amplification device can be purchased at electronics stores and is compatible with most major brands of Bluetooth-enabled cell phones. Hearing aid manufacturers have also developed Bluetooth compatible hearing aids. The first was released in 2005 by Starkey Laboratories. This technology allows you to use a highly advanced digital hearing aid as a Bluetooth cell phone earpiece.
Things You'll Need
- Bluetooth-compatible cell phone
- Bluetooth earpiece
- Bluetooth-compatible hearing aid
- Bluetooth hearing aid remote
Using a Cell Phone as a Hearing Aid
Confirm that your cell phone is Bluetooth-compatible. If you're unsure, contact the cell phone company for information regarding your phone's capabilities.
Visit a local cell phone retailer to inquire about the earpiece by Aliph. The retailer can tell you about compatibility and show you how the device would work with your current cell phone.
Ask about a trial period on the device. Find out how long you have to return the device if you're dissatisfied with its performance.
Sync the device with your cell phone. Before turning on your device, read the owner's manual thoroughly. Your cell phone will have a menu option for syncing a new Bluetooth device to the phone. Turn the Bluetooth earpiece on and then select the sync option on your cell phone. Your phone will tell you when the syncing process is complete.
Adjust the earpiece comfortably in your ear. Follow the device's instructions to make a call. Experiment with your new device, and after you've successfully made calls, try the hearing aid features of the device. Turn on music or television and adjust the device to a comfortable hearing level.
Using a Hearing Aid as a Cell Phone
Contact a local hearing aid clinic to inquire about Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. Also ask if it offers an in-office demonstration of the technology and a trial period or money-back guarantee.
Schedule an appointment at the clinic for a free hearing test and demonstration of available Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.
Bring your cell phone with you to the appointment. You can use the "Sync" option on your cell phone menu to sync your phone to the demonstration hearing aids and try making a call while in the office.
Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids use a Bluetooth remote, which is included when you purchase the hearing aid. When wearing the hearing aid, you'll need your cell phone and Bluetooth remote to use the hearing aid as a cell phone earpiece. When your cell phone rings, you must push a button on the Bluetooth remote in order for the hearing aid to pick up the call. When finished, you must push a button on the remote to end the call and return to hearing aid mode.
Tips & Warnings
- Bluetooth hearing aids can also be connected to computers, stereos and other Bluetooth devices via the Bluetooth remote control.
- Bluetooth hearing aids are expensive--$2,500 and up per ear--so make sure you get a money-back guarantee in writing when purchasing these devices.