Bluetooth Hearing Aid Streamer Phone Calls

Hearing Aid Streamer: The Most Underutilized Accessory For Phone Calls

Gianluca Uncategorized 6 Comments

Not sure what a hearing aid streamer is or never used one effectively? Then this article is for you.

For several years I was terrified of taking phone calls. Some were more terrifying than others—like extremely long calls with the bank in a foreign language—but I pretty much feared all of them. I was an equal-opportunity call-fearer.

I’d ask my girlfriend to take all the scary ones, and the calls I couldn’t delegate, I’d postpone. And I don’t need to tell you that delaying a stressful task can compound the problem: the longer you delay, the more stressful it gets.

Hearing aids aren’t really designed to let you comfortably have a phone conversation the regular way (holding your handset to your ear). As you know, covering your hearing aids with an external body will make them squeal. They’ll also exaggerate the noise around you, so you’re left to deal with lottery hearing: guessing what’s being said.

With the behind-the-ear type of hearing aid, the mics are placed at the top of your ears, so to hear you have to place your phone 90 degrees from your head. This way the mic will be so far from your mouth that the person on the other end will struggle to hear you.

No, hearing aids are definitely not designed to work seamlessly with your phone (at least not the way perfect hearing people do it).

I’ve tried lots of different hacks to make it easier to speak over the phone. I’ve spent hours in electronics shops, trying over-the-ear headphones, searching for the ones that didn’t make my hearing aids squeal. After I found some, it was still a fragile set up; a small tilt of my head and my HAs would squeal in the middle of an important sentence, and I’d miss what was said.

I’ve also tried having phone calls with the in-ear-type earphones, instead of my hearing aids. There were no squeals with this setup, but speech understanding was lower, especially when I was talking with women. (My hearing loss is greater in the higher frequencies).

So, lots of struggle and lots of failed attempt, until…I found the right hack.

The answer was simple, and it had been in my face all along: a Bluetooth streamer!

If you have wireless hearing aids, you can use a Bluetooth streamer to send the audio directly into both (both!) of your hearing aids. Most streamers will also let you mute the mics on your hearing aids, which is great when you’re talking in noisy environments.

It turned out that with my hearing loss, all I needed was a clear signal. If I can hear the sound loud and clear through my hearing aids, I basically have no cognitive barriers to process what is said. If you have a more profound hearing loss, or you have auditory processing issues, it might not be enough. But if you’re able to hear well in a 1-1 in quiet situation, you should be able to hear via the phone, too.

Please, save yourself a lot of struggle and grab a hearing aid streamer, or if you have made-for-iPhone hearing aids, use the streaming functionality. It makes a whole lot of difference.

PS: this piece went out of my Friday newsletter. If you’d like to receive my next thoughts via email, click on this link to join.

Comments 6

  1. Hi Gianluca! I think this is very helpful for everyone but let me share with you one more secret that you or others may find helpful.
    I use phonak compilot (blouetooth) device. It does have a 3,5 mm jack which you can use to plug in a microphone or an audio. I work in an office with lots of confcalls so I had to find a solution to overcome a disability to use standard headphones. For some years I used an adapter with avaya phones (something like that: ). You connect an audio cable with the adapter and plug it in to your compilot. The sound is perfect. For some reason though, it doesn’t work with the latest avaya office phones (which ia something i am very surpised because the adapter works with computer headset but the compilot doesn’t always work). But with avaya you can use an app and make your calls via your PC; if your PC has 2 jack input you need to use just a cable (🙂 and a mic, or if you have just one jack input you need to get additionally this adapter,id-371485?gclid=Cj0KCQjwrLXXBRCXARIsAIttmRPQ2KCxyWGka5eDZxRkqQZI7XtHDFFBpu3dicqVVkn2PeSGqwNHVt4aAinREALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CMTVj7iV79oCFUqZsgodMvMAUw.
    I am writing this because earlier having a conference call was something that would literally stop my career but with this, confcalls are sometimes better than talking in person. I recommend it to everyone who uses hearing aids!

    1. Post

      I totally agree Joanna. I have a double jack audio cable as well and prefer it to bluetooth. I also have students in my programme who have successfully used apps to reroute calls at work. Perhaps I’ll write an article just on this trick. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have a compilot which streams phone calls from my cell phone directly to my hearing aid. I feel like it is not the greatest solution. People feel like they are on speaker phone (and complain) and sometimes the compilot is only so so at connecting. In the past I was able to use a regular phone because the receivers were not flat like cell phones. I was able to turn my hearing aid down a bit to avoid the squealing. I don’t use a landline anymore and when I use my compilot I have to be in a quiet room so both me and the person I am talking to can hear everything.

    1. Post

      Hey Judy! I agree I had the same problem using my streamer in bluetooth. But if you use it with a double jack cable you’ll use the regular mic on your phone. And also no surprises when connecting. I know it’s a bit old school but this set up works for me!

  3. I too, have a com-pilot and I LOVE that there is the BT and the audio cable option for different situations. I just wish that more brands had both these options included. With Widex, you need two Dex devices to do the same thing as one com-pilot. And I have heard that the latest version of the com-pilot does away with the neck loop and clips onto your clothing, but they got rid of the audio jack feature! Not to mention after dropping a large amount of cash on hearing aids, who has extra money for the streamer?? They are also pricey.

    1. Post

      I agree with you Annie. Call us old school but don’t get rid of our jack cable please! Now I’m shopping for new hearing aids and I’m likely gonna have to buy a separate streamer.

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