This is an auspicious day for those of us with hearing loss. Steve Jobs likely wasn’t thinking much about hearing aids when he stood on stage ten years ago and held up that very first iPhone.
As he touted its revolutionary features he made a passing reference to its bluetooth capability. At the time bluetooth was used primarily to connect mobile phones with car systems and earpieces.
A decade, and one billion iPhones later, bluetooth now puts the power to connect, control and adjust hearing aids in the palm of your hand. Every major hearing aid maker now offers bluetooth apps for both iPhones and Android devices.
So what’s next?
I put that question to Dave Fabry. He is Vice President, Global Medical Affairs at Resound, the venerable Danish hearing aid maker. And when it comes to hearing aids he is also one of the smartest techies I know.
“I look to a time in the not-too-distant future when you go to a movie theatre and you’ll hear a prompt that asks ‘do you want to pair with the theatre’s audio system?’ so that you can adjust the level to what’s comfortable for you and compensate for your loss. Or if you go into a university lecture hall and can pair with the public-address system. It’s an exciting world to think about.”
Fabry is also quick to point out that while bluetooth has powerful and practical possibilities, a hearing aid should still be, well, a hearing aid.
“First and foremost the focus of attention has to be on building an instrument that will provide the best sound quality in different environments, and ensure that the basic needs of the hard of hearing individual are taken care of”
You can follow Dave on Twitter:@
And for those of you with a nostalgic bent, here’s Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone back on January 9, 2007.