Onward Through The Fog: iPhones and Hearing Aids

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Life is grand. I am content, happy with my home and neighborhood and live a relaxing and rewarding life. I'm just your average blind, retired and elderly fellow who wears hearing aids. The blindness is here to stay, as is my retirement status and I suspect I will continue to age. The only thing I really aspire to change is how well I hear and how well my hearing aids work with my iPhone.

I am a retired executive and computer geek who still loves problem solving. When something doesn't work as well as I'd like, I always assume that either I or some poor soul that I persuade to help, will make things better. Right now, I'm on a mission to find deeper bliss with Made for iPhone hearing aids.

Truth is, my hearing aids do me a lot of good. When I first started wearing them two and a half years ago, I discovered that my wife of more than forty years had not really slipped into mumbling at me. Her voice happens to reside closer to those higher frequencies where I am no longer hearing very well. I also discovered the wonders of listening to VoiceOver, Apple Music and Audible all through my very discrete hearing aids. I was likewise thrilled that the particular brand I procured did not have that latency lag I found in some other hearing aids, where there was a noticeable delay in speech or when initial words were clipped.

So, what am I griping about? Just those little, and sometimes not so little imperfections that make this old man crazy. I cannot say that it is the hearing aid manufacturers fault, and I cannot offer indisputable evidence the irritations were brought on by flaws or choices made in the iOS operating system, and I cannot easily prove that it is not some kind of user error, meaning me, that leaves me somewhat unsatisfied.

Folks who have read my blogs over the years, know that I long ago transitioned to using my iPhone as my singular personal computer. I spent thirty years of my career in the computer industry and have worked on laptops, desktops, minicomputers, and Big Iron. But, none of those will fit in my shirt pocket. As dainty as my computers may have become, I still want everything perfect, and right now. My audio experience with my iPhone and hearing aids is not quite what I desire.

To be fair, I do love my hearing aids, and I ought to. A pair of Made For iPhone (MFi) hearing aids can easily cost more than a handful of brand new iPhones. They are way more expensive than my much loved AirPods Pro. In fact, my hearing aids are more than ten times the cost of my AirPods Max, and I didn't think there was anything more expensive than those, presumably, solid gold headphones. However, I own AirPods Pro and AirPods Max because they are capable of doing some wondrous things that my hearing aids just can't do.

Now, as you read along, please know that if you look at my complaints and are saying, "But, wait, my hearing aids do all of that!", then please say so in the comments. I know that I will live longer if I can remove these mild stresses from my life.

So, what drives me bonkers? Just to belabor the obvious one more time, the cost of hearing aids should drive us all nuts. Admittedly, I do want the best possible hearing aids, but gracious they are expensive. OK. I'll stop fussing.

What improvements would I like right now to make my hearing experience even better? I want all phone calls to talk straight into my hearing aids from the moment I answer a call. For the first two years of wearing hearing aids, when I answered the phone, the voice of my caller would instantly sound through my hearing aids. Now, the voice of my caller frequently starts out talking through my iPhone's built-in speaker, and then after a number of seconds, something will mute the voice on the phone and several seconds later transfer the caller to my hearing aids. This is a reasonably recent hiccup, so it could be me, the hearing aid manufacturer, or an issue with Apple. I have discovered a not-so-obvious work-around. In this case, if I just reboot one of my hearing aids before I answer the call, then the incoming call will go directly to my hearing aids. It's a Rube Goldberg solution, but it works.

I'd also prefer that the occasional blasts of very loud static into my hearing aids to disappear for good. Now, I know that many folks with hearing aids had this start happening some time during the early days of iOS 14, if memory serves, as I did report it to both the hearing aid company and to Apple. Apple seemed to acknowledge the problem and a software update took care of 95+ percent of those crazy-loud white noise bursts. However, and granted it may only happen about once a month or so, but I still occasionally have a hearing aid decide to attempt to disintegrate one of my eardrums. Although very infrequent these days, I always react within micro-seconds of a sonic blast and rip the offending hearing aid out of my head. I calmly reboot the hearing aid and all returns to normal. Still, it is unpleasant.

I've also noticed that I no longer seem to be able to pinpoint the direction of the sounds I hear. For the first two years or so, and I started wearing hearing aids on March 18, 2019, I could locate the direction of sounds I would hear through my hearing aids. Now, when walking in my neighborhood, which has no sidewalks, I frequently cannot tell if sounds are coming from ahead of me, behind me, or by my sides. I now feel like more of a physicist, trying to discern the doppler shift of the sound wave forms. Again, I don't know if it is Apple, the hearing aids or just me. I'd like to know though as one of my goals is always to avoid running into anything and that includes moving cars and buses. Thankfully, I have a fantastic guide dog with a strong will to live.

I'd also like to be able to do a few of the things with my hearing aids that I can do with AirPods Pro and with AirPods Max. Luckily for me, I can use both of these Apple products, even when my hearing aids are in my ears. I love being able to instantly stop music or a book when my wife or someone else speaks. Right now, if I am only using my hearing aids, I have to whip my iPhone 12 mini out of my pocket and two-finger double tap that screen over and over again until the phone is properly awake and willing to follow my tactile commands. I suspect I not only appear rude when I take so long to listen to someone talking to me, but also a tad nuts with how often I seem to be frantically tapping my iPhone. And, heaven forbid that I have left my iPhone on my comfy chair arm when I step into the kitchen. If I need to stop the music or answer a call, I have to quickly run back down a short flight of stairs to my living room, grab up the phone and tap-tap-tap-tap until the magic happens. I also have to hope that I will not plow down my poor spouse or dog as I make the mad dash.

And, that's not all! Right now, with my hearing aids, I have to talk into the bottom of my iPhone as my particular brand of hearing aids will not use one of their onboard mics to pick up my voice for the call. I know of one brand that will do that, but have never tried them out. Gee, for the kind of money we spend on our hearing aids, a little two-way communication seems ever so reasonable for this technology.

I'd also like to be able to lower the volume of music playing so that VoiceOver output could actually be louder. There is a very limited capacity to change this on the iPhone, but I'd like even greater control. I'd like music to be really soft in the background and VoiceOver still comfortably loud reading my email. Ducking is useful, but not the solution in this case. That desired feature enhancement, I think, belongs to Apple. And, while I am talking about sound levels, wouldn't it be cool if you could be listening to the voice menu at your local pharmacy and then, as it continues to remind you to hang up and dial 911 or press some other key, if you could actually hear VoiceOver say the name of the buttons as they pass beneath your fingertips? Just asking...

Like the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, I sure would love it if my hearing aids could tell my music and book software to skip forward or skip back. And, just to reiterate, Play and Pause would be grand, too. And, even though I own an AppleWatch, I do not find it a reasonable substitute for quick actions as I have to hear VoiceOver to know when I have finally found the right buttons to press.

I really do love my hearing aids, and I really do love my iPhone 12 mini. I also love both my AirPods Pro and my AirPods Max. I'm a loving sort of guy. Even so, I just want everything to work together so much more smoothly.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a perfect set of devices that makes you deeply happy? Please leave your thoughts about hearing aids and your iPhone in the comments section below.

If you'd rather mention your favorite red wine, that is my backup solution.


This is my twenty-seventh blog for AppleVis. Previous contributions include "Think Dainty: The iPhone 12 mini Kicks Butt," "A Dozen Dozen: Dreaming of iPhone 12 and iOS 14," and "Staying Home: Already A Pro."

And, dear friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.

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Comments

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, October 7, 2021

How do features such as transparency mode on max and pro, and the new conversation boost on pro compare with your hearing aids?

I suspect, like with any product that isn't mass market, from hearing aids to pro musical instruments, there are diminishing returns on what you pay. Still, if it is even a slight improvement on quality of life (within reason), it's worth it. :)

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, October 7, 2021

Oh my, Morgan. Symultaneously laughing myself silly and very frustrated, shaking my head in disbelief that you are experiencing these sort of absurd issues, in 2021. Wow! I am always amuse whenever I get to read something from your desk. It's unbelieveable that these sort of seemingly basic things are still not working together. You would think that, in our present age of tech, none of these problems would even exist anymore. I mean, if Captain Kirk himself is going into real outer space next week, it shouldn't be so hard to get all these communication barriers fixed. I guess those who creat the tech don't need the tech, therefore, people such as yourself and many others are left frantically grabbing for the offending piece of tech, all the while telling your guide dog that you are sorry you just ran him over again. Then, next, you find yourself having to buy your wife flowers and chocolate, once again, because you also piled into her, along the way, knocking her flat yet again, while still grabbing for the techno-jam.

Heres hoping that somebody gets a clew and fixes these ridiculous issues that you deal with, so that you can simply use the tech that you dropped a mortgage payment on the counter for.

Please keep writing. I smile and laugh every time I read.

Be blessed.

Submitted by Travis Roth on Thursday, October 7, 2021

Hi Morgan,
I also have an iPhone 12 Mini. My hearing aids are Starkey so not the same manufacturer. I have not experienced the call audio switching bug (knock on wood!) and that does sound terrible. I had a thought: have you tried changing the settings for Audio Routing? I use Automatic which is the default, but perhaps change it to Always Hearing Devices? Btw, if your hearing aids happen to not be connected, Always isn't really Always and sends it back to the speaker. See Settings.Accessibility.Hearing Devices.Audio Routing.
As for directionality as I'm sure you know there are a couple of possibilities. The best case scenario is possibly one of the mics on the aids is malfunctioning a bit and confusing the aid. Sadly more likely is a change in actual hearing. I'd recommend a new hearing test. Possibly the aids can be programmed to treat the change, or perhaps a new more powerful model will be needed. Yeah, gut punch to the wallet.

Submitted by Angelo on Thursday, October 7, 2021

I have a pair of Phonak Paradise aids and they seem to address many of your issues. First of all these are not MFI aids but I use them with both an iPhone and iPad. The aids connect very well with both. The aids automatically connect to whichever device I'm using at the moment, switching seamlessly to my phone when a call comes in. Then all I need to do is tap my left ear twice to answer the call, and when done tapp again to hang up. The right ear controls play and pause of whatever I'm listening/watching . Really comes in handy when my phone is out of reach or my hands are full and tapping the side of my head with the back of my hand ptoggles the play. One issue though is that pausing audio also mutes voiceover but volume up or down on the aid unmutes. Another feature I really enjoy is stellar noise cancelling on the aids. While listening to audio, I can raise the volume using the button on the aids and ambient sound decreases until it near disappears. Phonak, I hear (hah!), is coming out with an upgrade where the killer feature is ability to use the aids in the shower or in the pool.

Oliver,

I have gotten the new Transparency Mode to work on my AirPods Pro and it does not work as well as my hearing aids, but I can see how they can enhance my hearing under some circumstances. Of course, I just got the new firmware on the AirPods Pro yesterday, so I need much more time to get them balanced just right for me. I'm really glad that Apple is making this effort. I really enjoy my AirPods Pro and AirPods Max for their own feature sets. Another nice, nice thing about my hearing aids is that they (almost) never get in the way. With more than a year of regular practice, I can slip on or off a mask without dislodging them.

Thanks for your note!

Roxann,

My wife and I were so glad that you found this latest blog and sent along a comment. It always means a lot to us when we hear from you. I hope all has gone well for you during this viral calamity.

Thanks for your thoughts on the tech that we really wish would work better together. Of course, if that ever happens, I won't have anything to write about.

Although I have been absent from doing much writing of late, I have continued to read AppleVis on a daily basis. And, I am hoping that I can get back to more frequent postings. I really enjoy being a part of this community.

I frequently think of the time I spent in Mount Pleasant in the 1950s and 1960s and now associate that town with you, too. I hope you continue to do well.

Now, time for a glass of Cabernet!

Warm wishes from Texas,

Morgan

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Saturday, October 9, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Travis Roth

Dear Travis,

Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback. I did note that you were a Starkey user, and it was actually a Starkey user that first convinced me that it was time to look at hearing aids. Although I ended up with Oticon, I started out this adventure by looking into your brand.

I have tried the setting changes you suggested and I think the problem persists. I suspect, but am unsure, that these hiccups started when the manufacturer swapped out my pair of hearing aids. They were still working, but not well, the battery doors were getting loose and I was regularly listening to a lot of beeping indicating some sort of error condition. Although just a guess, I'm thinking it boils down to some change in the instruments over which I had no control. I'm just waiting to hear back.

The directional difficulty could be a change in my hearing, but I was tested again recently and my hearing has been pretty stable through the pandemic. I know that my hearing aids can be configured to be set to present all sound at equal levels, which would goof up the ability to sense the direction of sound, and perhaps that setting was inadvertently left turned on. Sadly, I know of no way to check that setting or modify it. Hopefully, in the next week or so, I will know more

I am also starting the search for the next great set of hearing aids. I am not tied to a particular brand, rather I just want better hearing and much better integration with my iPhone 12 mini.

And, I see you have the same kind of iPhone. It does take more attention to charging, but I absolutely love the smaller footprint. A very sweet iPhone.

Again, thank you for your help.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Angelo

Angelo,

What a great note from you. Although I have never worn Phonak hearing aids, I have heard them discussed before and it sounds like they have really added some incredibly useful features. I've actually spent a fair amount of time looking into these aids since I got your message. It sounds like you have to use the rechargeable model to get the tapping feature, but I wonder if the batteries would hold up for an entire day as I use my hearing aids all the time with my iPhone. I use my iPhone as my primary computer and I read a lot. How do you find the battery life on your Phonak hearing aids?

Thanks again for your thoughtful, and very useful, reply.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Submitted by Ramy on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Am using Phonak here, but i can not remember there exact series, am using them with compilot, it's like a remote control that is responsible for connecting my Hearing aids to my phone, they are always working with some lags, but they are working.
THe only thing now, is that,in the past, my 2 Hearing aids were connected to my phone, this is ok for me to listen to music and playing games, but it's very bad on street, because i need to listen to the GPS with just 1 ear, tried to do this from my Iphone but failed to do, so i asked the Company to pair only 1 hearing aid to my phone, it's working now, but i can not listen to music in my 2 Hearing aids through my COmpilot remote control, if i can find a way to tell my Iphone to send sound in 1 ear or 2 ears, it will be great to do so, specially now, even calls still in my 2 ears, and i hope to have calls only in 1 ear, is it possible?

You're very welcome Morgan. I am constantly streaming, be it voiceover, audiobooks, music, podcasts, etc. and I'll get about fourteen hours before getting the low power signal, which means I have about half an hour to charge. I have backup aids and then it's just a matter of charging the Paradise for 15 minutes for every two hours more I'll think I'll need them. I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Monday, October 11, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Ramy

Ramy,

You posed a great question. Unfortunately, I've never worn Phonak hearing aids and do not know the answer. However, with the reader comments about Phonak attached to this blog, my interest in them has been rekindled. I've already talked to an audiologist today about a trial with the Phonak Paradise P90 aids so that I can find out how well they might integrate with my iPhone 12 mini. I know they are not MFi (Made for iPhone) hearing aids and I'm wondering if I will notice any differences in use. So, once I get to try them out, I may yet figure out the question you asked.

For now, I'd suggest you check with your audiologist or hearing aid specialist to see if your Phonak devices can be set up to switch from one ear streaming, to both, and then back to one again, all at will. I agree that it would be really handy!

I very much appreciate your writing. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Hi Morgan,
Not sure if you have seen the latest announcements, Phonak has just came out with Audeo Life. According to Doctor Cliff on YouTube if I understood him correctly these are an update to the Paradise platform. So, just be sure to get the latest and greatest when you get to do trials!

Thanks so much for your information, however i hope if we can do this through the Iphone itself?
is it possible?

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Angelo

Angelo,

It sounds like you use your hearing aids in much the same way I do. Thank you. This is exactly the kind of real-world info that I needed. I really appreciate your candid feedback.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Travis Roth

Travis,

This is fun. I had not heard of the new enhancements to the Phonak Paradise hearing aids, but I've sure been looking into them now. Thank you! Now, to find out how these work with my iPhone 12 mini and my Apple Watch.

Cheers,

Morgan

Submitted by Henry on Monday, November 1, 2021

Hi Morgan, as a blind hearing aid user I can certainly relate to many of your frustrations
Every hearing impairment is different, so I hesitate to give anything more than general advice. What I will say though is that in demoing the Oticon More 1's vs the paradise aids, the More 1's came up on top for me personally. They are both exceptional aids, however, directionality and natural sounding sound (the ability to localise where sound is coming from) seemed much better, using Oticon's approach.
I also love the fact that you can have the aids remotely adjusted by a hearing aid proffessional without needing to leave home.
Demo both, and pair them with an independent audiologist with a lot of experience. Tell them how important localising sound is to you, and emphasise how dangerous a situation could arrise if you aren't able to propperly hear where an oncoming vehicle is coming from.
Loved the post, and keep them coming. :)
Henry

Henry,

Thank you for such a thoughtful note. Since I wrote this piece, I have tried out the Phonak Paradise, and although there are many good things to say about them, I find myself happiest right now with my Oticon hearing aids. But, I did find the comparison quite useful and will remain open-minded when I do decide it is time to replace the devices that I have.

Thanks for contributing your feedback. And, it was great hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Submitted by bobcat on Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Response to Morgan Watkins AppleInsider Blog

I have used the MFi enabled Oticon hearing aids for 4 years now and am currently trying a pair of Phonak Paradise. I will give my comments below but first I have a question. In Nay this year Apple announced a number of upgrades to their Accessibility featuresovements Apple indicated that MFi would have : “support for new bi-directional hearing aids. The microphones in these new hearing aids enable those who are deaf or hard of hearing to have hands-free phone and FaceTime conversations. The next-generation models from MFi partners will be available later this year”

So, the question is: does anybody know when hearing aid makers will incorporate this new version of MFi into their hearing aids?

Morgan indicated that he was not getting correct audio location he should get this fixed by his audiologist. All hearing aid makers have their ‘Default’ program and usually this program damps down certain sounds that it assumes that users don’t want. These include noises behind one, loud noises, persistant noises, etc. Your audiologist can tune these features or you can have then set up a program that does not have these automatic ‘features’. Oticon, for example, actually warn users that using these auto features can be dangerous in some situations. Like myself most people with vision impairment rely on sound clues for spacial positioning, etc.

Good features of the Phonak hearing aids are that they have full ‘hands free’ ability for answering phone and FaceTime calls. No need to take the phone out of ones pocket.
They have tap control: right hearing aid answers phone calls or calls Siri, left hearing aid stops or starts current streaming music, book reader, TV streamer, etc. generally works OK, sometimes a bit hit and miss. Sometimes just fiddling with the right hearing aid invokes Siri.
They have good sound for streaming music, books, reading test with VO, etc.
In my case the rechargeable batteries have 40-30% left after a 16 hr day of normal VO use including some hours of reading and some TV streaming.
The things I dislike about the Phonak’s, and may make me decide to wait for the new MFi hearing aids, are the following:
There is a lag when using VO of about 1-2 sec every time one pauses for more than about 4secs(on an iPhone 7+). There is no lag on my Oticon MFi hearing aids.
Each time VO is used the hearing aids have some sort of ‘audio ducking’ which often makes external sound actually sound louder! currently checking with my audiologist if this can be turned off. I have audio ducking turned off in iPhone VO settings.
The hearing aids have an up and down button and this works as one would expect for volume control, up button for louder and down button for softer. These buttons are also used for changing the programs one has available but no matter which button one presses the programs increment upwards … crazy but it’s true!
The My Phonak app is not very VO friendly and for some mysterious reason has a Bluetooth channel of its own and takes a while to connect to the hearing aids every time one uses it. It has no Apple watch app. The oticon has improved their app but one does not have to use it normally as one can use Apple’s built-in Hearing Devices in the Control Centre for all MFi hearing aids.R

Submitted by LadyMunch on Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Thank you for all your posts. Its great hearing perspectives from people with hearing and sight issues, as so often hearing difficulties in blind people go overlooked IMO.

My ears are weird, as is my hearing loss.
I'm currently trying the Cochlear BAHA 6 Max bone conduction hearing aid on a headband. It's like a sweatband you'd wear at the gym apparently. It works like a total dream with my iPhone. I can adjust options in the hearing devices section of control centre or on the accessibility shortcuts thingy, which is really cool! I really love this device.
It works via bone conduction - a bit like the Aftershokz headphones. The device sits somewhere behind your ear, depending on head shape.This type of device can overcome problems like middle ear blockage or malformation, as the sound is sent directly to the hearing organ itself.

The only thing I wish I had on the actual device was a play/pause button!
There's no lag with VoiceOver, its just as snappy as it usually is.
Music sounds pretty good on it too, from listening to the radio in our living-room on our stereo system. and audiobooks etc are also good streamed from the iPhone.

I haven't really got any bad things to say about it - apart from the fiddliness of getting the thing positioned just right. There's a definite knack to getting it right. It also squeaks like crazy when I touch my hair or have to adjust the device for some reason, so I have named it Elephanteus McSqueakertron

Because there is nothing physically blocking my ear, I can still use what natural hearing I have on my right side, as well as the BAHA, which can only be a good thing.

I get such a kick out of having complete access to my iPhone, without the need for extra accessories between my aid and the phone.

I know this is long, but I wanted to add something that is hopefully useful to the discussion. Thanks again for the wonderful posts.

Ramy,

Great to hear from you again.

I have tried out the Phonak Paradise P90 hearing aids. They were interesting and worth trying, but I decided to stick with my Oticon for now.

Like you, sometimes I want different sounds from different apps to go to different ears. When I really want a customized listening experience, I often use my AirPod Pros. Those AirPods Pro stems give me lots of additional control. I use one, or both, AirPods to listen to what my iPhone is transmitting and I hear the outside world through my hearing aids. Turns out, for me, with my receiver in the ear hearing aids, I can wear both hearing aids and AirPods at the same time. For example, when I play my mandolin, I put on AirPod Pros to listen to the music and then I mute my hearing aids so that I help cut down outside noise. And, when I do want the ambient noise, it is easy to turn the hearing aids back on without interrupting the music. I don't know what your P30 Phonak subset of commands are, or perhaps I could offer better feedback.

Cheers,

Morgan

Bobcat,

Thanks for the excellent question and the very useful Phonak synopsis.

I wish I had an excellent answer for your excellent question, but I don't know when the new MFi features will find their way into our hearing aids. I am going to be hopeful that it will be in the next two hearing aid product cycles as that is when I anticipate upgrading. Right now, I continue to use my Oticon aids as they are still the best match for me.

Even so, I did try out the Phonak Paradise P90 hearing aids with the new tap controls. Although their feature set is impressive, I had a few problems with them that did not quite convince me that I ought to switch to using them. I may yet write an article about how I found them interfacing with the iPhone as I kept good notes.

I did get back to my audiologist after having written this article and am going to keep enjoying what my current hearing aids offer and remain hopeful that the new MFi features come along soon.

Thanks for writing,

Morgan

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Saturday, November 6, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by LadyMunch

Ladymunch,

Many pardons for my late response to your really useful introduction to the Baha hearing device. I learned quite a bit about the Baha from your excellent description. That was very helpful. And, I am really happy that they are working so well for you.

Best wishes,

Morgan

Submitted by bobcat on Saturday, November 6, 2021

Since writing my previous comment I have found that Starkey’s Evolv AI Hearing Aids Have The gnew Made for iPhone (MFi) Program for Bidirectional Streaming and were introduced on
October 25.

These hearing aids provide hands-free calling and tap controls like the phonic paradise but also include many other features which seem inappropriate for hearing aids. I assume that the other major hearing aid manufacturers will be adopting the new MFI protocol in the near future.

Submitted by rwf on Friday, November 12, 2021

I was very interested to read your article about Hearing aids.
I experience some of the difficulties you do but not others.
We really need Apple to develop some hearing aids.
i have Phonak aids and these are very good in that I can answer calls and terminate them from the Aids.
The main problem I have is in %80 of answering calls the sound is distorted which is very annoying.
The fact that it is acceptable in %20 makes me believe that this problem can be solved.
When listening to other sources I find that it is better to reduce the volume on the phone which increases the frequency range.
With all the best from
Richard Freeman in London.

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Saturday, November 13, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by rwf

Richard,

Thanks for your kind note and thanks for sharing your experience with Phonak aids. I recently tried them out and may yet write an article about my impressions.

Thanks for mentioning you are from London. My parents and youngest sister lived in Amersham for a couple of years and absolutely loved their time there.

Best wishes from Texas,

Morgan

Submitted by treky fan on Sunday, November 14, 2021

Hi Morgan. First, let me say good job on this post. Before I start with my questions, I need to go into a bit of background info. Back in 2019, I started having minor tinnitus episodes that came and went, lasting maybe thirty seconds to five minutes. I mentioned this to my doctor, who basically blew me off, did the hearing test, and all that stuff. Fast forward to this year, actually the summer of this year. My tinnitus had started getting worse, but could still be managed with headphones and music. That brings me to now. My tinnitus has gotten worse, now its a buzzing sound in both ears nearly 24/7 that at times can drive me nuts. I can no longer use headphones because it makes the noise seem louder than it really is. With the background out of the way, I have a few questrions. I'm scheduled to have an evaulation for my tinnitus in a month, that month won't go by fast enough. If the audiologist reccomends hearing aids, do they come with a program for managing tinnitus?What hearing aids would be best to use with an IPhone SE 2020, running the latest version of iOS at the time of this writing. I like to listen to spotify and pandora and watching netflix, hooloo, and my new favorite streaming service, thanks to my dad, discovery plus. If hearing aids are the recomened way for me to go, could I still enjoy my favorite tv shows and music while keeping the monster known as tinnitus under control? What brand of hearing aids work best for an IPhone user? And my last question, about how long would it take to get fitted for hearing aids, and would I be able to use the aids with both my phone and computer?

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by treky fan

Dear Treky Fan,

I apologize for being so late in responding. We have had a few special occasions all come together this last week and I've gotten behind.

I can understand how tinnitus can be such a difficult distraction. I deal with it on a very small scale, but I do know others who have to deal with it all the time. First of all, you are wise to get into an audiologist and get a thorough evaluation.

Although my own hearing aids do not have any support turned on for tinnitus, different hearing aid companies do make claims about certain background sounds they can generate that is supposed to help. I do not know how effective they might be, but there is a way to find out.

My non-professional advice would be to ask your audiologist , assuming he or she recommends hearing aids, to let you try out a few different brands on a trial basis. I did that and I know others who have done it. I am personally a fan of hearing aids that are MFi, that is, Made For iPhone certified. I am genuinely hopeful that some of the changes in MFi support on the Apple side will make MFi hearing aids even more useful.

Once my audiologist determined that hearing aids would help, I had a trial pair almost immediately. I logged everything that I liked, but made special note of anything I found less than stellar. If you are going to purchase a pair, make sure they really work extremely well for you.

When you do see your audiologist, make sure they know that you must be able to connect to your current iPhone and make sure they set that up for you. If you want the same kind of hearing aid connectivity to your TV and computer, that can be done, but it may require that you purchase some additional technology. Although I really don't watch TV, and my iPhone is my computer nowadays, I do want to hear my Apple Watch through my hearing aids. My particular brand of hearing aids from Oticon were the OPN S 1 miniRITE that were new in May of 2019. They are not perfect, but I have managed to make them work well for me. I did buy a "connect clip" accessory to enable my watch to also be heard on my hearing aids. All brands differ in some ways.

Things to consider when trying out different hearing aids include:

* Is there any delay between an action on your phone and when you finally hear VoiceOver. And, are there any syllables chopped off when VoiceOver first starts? That will drive you nuts. Also, do you hear some level of white noise associated with any connectivity? That is, how clean is the sound?

* Another thing I needed was excellent 3-D hearing. I need to know exactly where sounds, like moving cars are coming from. Make sure you have superb directional awareness when you are wearing the trial aids.

And, they should help you hear everything else more clearly.

I think it can take a couple of weeks to get used to a pair of trial hearing aids, so try to get enough time to really discover their utility. Make sure they work with your TV and computer operation of that is important to you. Although I may like one pair of hearing aids and be less pleased with another brand, that really means very little to anyone else. There are a lot of excellent hearing aids out there and, if they are going to really benefit you, then try out at least a couple of options.

I hope you have an excellent evaluation of your tinnitus and hearing and that they help you find some relief from the unwanted background noise.

Best wishes,

Morgan