Over the last decade there have been numerous significant advances in technology that allow for a better utilization of common devices to aid the hearing impaired. One such device is the cellular phone. What was once developed as a better means of keeping us connected to one another has evolved in to a whole new outlet for advances in the realms of Audiology and Otorhinolaryngology. These devices provide countless untapped potential in their ability to interact with modern hearing devices such as the behind-the-ear hearing aid and the cochlear implant. We will now analyze and see how cellular phones and their integrated applications have made an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hearing loss.
Cellular phones – The earlier years
Unknown to many people and contrary to the belief of most; Cellular phones have been used to help augment and improve the hearing of those with cochlear implants of hearing aids for many years. The most basic forms allowed for interaction between the cellular device and a hearing aids telecoil by allowing it to “hear” the magnetic signal. It would then transform this signal in to sounds that are easily identifiable by the user. Cellular devices that were compatible with a hearing aid were given ratings on a scale of 1-4 based on their ability to reduce interference and allow for a better overall quality of conversation. This would allow users to more easily identify which cellular phone may better suit their needs when coupled with their respective hearing device
Smart phones – Paving the way for the future
In this tech savvy age of smart phones, many companies are making a clear conscious effort to help improve the quality of life for every consumer in every niche market. With the advent of features such as teletypewriting, display and keypad lighting controls, and speech to text, functionality and ease of access has been increased dramatically.
Many other small innovations have been made, such as applications which allow multiple cellular devices to interact simultaneously and utilize the speech to text function to record conversation in real time in order for the hearing impaired to be able to keep up with group conversation. Other applications can now even help you to track your hearing device via gps in the event that you lose it, or misplace it and the battery dies.
With every passing of the guard between cell phone generation to cell phone generation, more and more phone are being produced with preset integrated hearing aid technology allowing users greater ease of use and peace of mind.