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New hearing aid is first ‘made for iPhone’

WASHINGTON — A recently-released hearing aid is the first compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and will enable users to easily enjoy all the sounds emanating from the Apple devices.

ReSound LiNX is the first Apple- certified hearing aid that connects directly to the device, and is operated through an iPhone app.

“Everything that comes out of your iPhone that’s audible will be streamed wirelessly to your hearing aids,” says Laurel Christensen, chief audiology officer with GN ReSound Group.

As with other hearing aids, each tiny hearing aid contains a built-in microphone and amplifiers to help hard-of-hearing users better-comprehend sound when engaged in an in-person conversation.

What’s different about ReSound LiNX is how it enables the user to take full advantage of tools offered on a phone.

“Traditionally talking on the phone has been one of the most difficult” tasks for a person wearing hearing aids, says Christensen.

After initially pairing the unit with Bluetooth the hearing aid reacts to the situation.

“The phone rings, you answer the call, and the phone call is right there in your hearing aids,” says Christensen.

However, ReSound LiNX isn’t limited to the spoken voice.

A user can stream iTunes, audio from YouTube, or turn-by-turn navigation from mapping software.

“In essence you turn your hearing aids into wireless stereo headphones when you’re streaming from your iPhone,” says Christensen.


More than improved sound

In addition to making sounds easier to hear, the iPhone acts as the control unit for reconfiguring the hearing aids.

“The volume control and program changes for the hearing aid can all be done on the phone,” says Christensen.

If a user misplaces his or her hearing aids, location software on the phone or tablet can help locate them.

The devices come in 10 colors to match skintone or hair color.

The pricing is determined by retailers, but a company spokesperson says the price to consumers is expected to be in the $3,000 range.

Interested wearers will need to go to a local audiologist to be fitted, says a company spokesperson.

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