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Bluetooth Hearing Aids UK - What are the benefits of Bluetooth hearing aids?

Updated 13/01/2022

Oticon Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Bluetooth Hearing Aids UK

Helping you stay connected to iOS and Android phones

 

Hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity enhance your everyday life and keep you connected to both iOS and Android phones, as well as your TV, tablets and other audio devices in your own home.

Historically, hearing aids held limitations for hearing aid users in regards to accessing audio devices like mobile phones.  You can imagine this to be a frustration for wearers.  For example,  if they wanted to jog and listen to music at the same time - they would have to remove their hearing aids to switch to the headphones.

Today's hearing aids are so much better - and accommodate both connections to audio devices and streaming sound straight to your hearing aids.

What are Bluetooth hearing aids?  The use of Bluetooth within hearing aid technology has continued to advance over the past few years - offering consumers flexibility, great connectivity and pairing hearing aids with mobile phones.  This will only increase as technology meets innovation, but there are still a few misconceptions surrounding Bluetooth hearing aids and what this setup actually means. 

We hope you find this page useful, as we discuss some of these misconceptions, the key Bluetooth hearing aid benefits and what they do, connectivity and discussing the Made for iPhone, Made for Android and Made for Any Phone hearing aids on the market.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids For Any Phone:  Made for Any Phone Hearing Aids

Truly Made for any Phone Bluetooth hearing aids are currently only available from the Sonova Group - who brought you Phonak, Unitron and Audio Nova. The hearing aids with this strategy are Phonak's Paradise and Unitron's Blu models.

Offering you the flexibility of having connectivity to any smartphone or mobile phone, whether it's iPhone or Android, with Bluetooth capabilities - for audio and call streaming (and pretty much any electronic device with Bluetooth).

 

LEARN MORE >>  Made for Any Phone Hearing Aids

Bluetooth Hearing Aids iPhone:  Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

Bluetooth hearing aids for iPhone is also acknowledged as both MFI and Made for iPhone hearing aids - which basically means a technology to be paired with iPhones, iPad and iPods. It is a licensed product that is Apple-specific and includes a variety of devices to connect and integrate.

 

LEARN MORE >> Made for iPhone hearing aids

Bluetooth Hearing Aids Android:  Made for Android Hearing Aids

Before the Android 10, Android developers were having a bit of a problem. They hadn't invested enough time to research, develop and launch hearing aid integration. Android displayed similar features to that of the Made for iPhone hearing aids - but had always needed a streamer, whilst Apple was a direct connection.  All that has changed.

Over the last few years, Google has been dedicated to making Android more accessible to the hearing impaired. The company launched an app called Sound Amplifier - turning your Android smartphone into a hearing aid.

 

LEARN MORE >>  Made for Android hearing aids

Phonak Bluetooth Hearing Aids

The smart technology of Bluetooth hearing aids

Historically the concept of Bluetooth hearing aids described only the devices that have a direct connection to a mobile phone to enable audio streaming.  In short, when the industry spoke about Bluetooth hearing aids, they were referring to Made for iPhone hearing aids (also known as MFI).

The Made for iPhone hearing aids came onto the market with Resound’s LiNX platform in 2014 – their first iPhone device.  This was then quickly mirrored by Starkey’s Halo hearing aids and now the industry has seen a sea of change with manufacturers adding to their Bluetooth hearing aid ranges.

 

Bluetooth hearing aids how do they work?

 

Bluetooth hearing aids transmit radio waves through high-frequency channels to connect to another source.  They are paired with each other to communicate data safely by changing frequency continuously - thousands of times per second.

This clever ‘wireless radio’ technology was developed in 1994 and provided the market with two or more electronic devices being able to switch data between each other wirelessly – using radio waves. 

So, how do Bluetooth hearing aids work? In short, they are a wireless communication system between devices.  Even though hearing aid manufacturers saw huge potential and benefits to Bluetooth hearing aid technology over the years, the development hasn’t been plain sailing. 

 

Before Bluetooth hearing aids - The audio of the past

Originally, the transferred audio wasn’t of great quality and relied on huge amounts of power.  Due to this, most brands opted to design streamers to bridge the gap between connectivity and sound quality – a middleman of sorts.  

Ultimately, this resulted in both launching the first-ever Made for iPhone hearing aids with a direct connection.  Also allows you to access the world through your hearing aids using mobile phone features and apps. 

Pretty much all hearing aid manufacturers now have Made for iPhone Bluetooth hearing aid models on offer, but it is worthwhile knowing that you may need a connective device – a streamer - for some models for hearing aid mobile phone compatibility.  

Oticon Bluetooth Accessories

What if my hearing aids can't connect?

If your hearing aids don't incorporate direct streaming, don't worry, there are plenty of hearing aid streamers on the market that connect you.  What are Bluetooth hearing aid streamers?  Pretty much all the hearing aid manufacturers have Bluetooth-compatible hearing aid streamers.  It ensures fast, low-energy and reliable wireless audio streaming directly to your hearing aids. Streamers are effectively the 'go-between' from your hearing aids and your electronic device.

Oticon's ConnectClip, on the right, acts as a microphone and a combined headset.  An intermediate device, which wirelessly connects Oticon 2.4GHz wireless hearing aids through Bluetooth to most mobile phones.  It also doubles as a remote/partner microphone for improved one-to-one speech understanding in tricky listening situations.

Our recommendation 

It is also worth noting that you simply might only have to purchase a Bluetooth hearing aid streamer from your hearing aid manufacturer if you already have hearing aids - to gain from this connectivity and freedom. 

We also recommend the rechargeable option, if you are buying a Made for iPhone hearing aid, in order to be able to take full advantage of the direct Bluetooth hearing aids streaming capabilities.

 

Oticon Remote Control

Hearing Aids with Bluetooth UK

Are Bluetooth hearing aids any good?

 

What do we think of Bluetooth hearing aids?

Most consumers and audiologists would say they were better, even though the Bluetooth hearing aid connectivity doesn’t ensure better-performing hearing aids.  The real benefit here is the quick connectivity to mobile phones and accessories such as remote microphones.

Streaming audio from your mobile phone ensures that you can hear and make calls easier and more confidently, as you will always gain from great clarity – without any additional device.

What are the advantages of Bluetooth hearing aids?

 

You gain from fast, seamless and direct connection to:

  • Remote microphones
  • TV streamers
  • iPhone & Android hearing aids
  • Stereo audio streaming for both phone calls and music or media

 

 Bluetooth hearing aids benefits:

 

  • A brilliant sound experience that adapts to you and your lifestyle.
  • Impressive streaming options from your devices at home to hearing aids.
  • Intuitive and discreet wireless accessories and apps to control your hearing aids with.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids Cost UK

 

So, how much are Bluetooth hearing aids?

With the introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 - this innovation, as well as the rise of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, are the reasons why direct connectivity Bluetooth hearing aids are now becoming more widely available.

It has become rather mainstream and, therefore, results in many Bluetooth hearing aids prices being no more expensive than ones that aren’t.  The cost of Bluetooth hearing aids roughly starts from £795 - £1895 per aid. You can view our price of Bluetooth hearing aids here

 

Bluetooth Hearing Aids NHS UK

Can you get Bluetooth hearing aids on the nhs?  Please also note that just recently, the NHS are now able to offer Bluetooth hearing aids.  However, like with all NHS hearing aids - the choice and technology will be limited.

Audiologist

Bluetooth Enabled Hearing Aids

Some useful terms, in regards to Bluetooth hearing aid devices

 

Made for iPhone hearing aids (MFI):  These connect directly to iPhones without an additional streamer for streaming calls and audio.  MFI hearing aid devices don’t always connect to Android phones and might need a streamer to be successful.   This will, no doubt, change as the future of audiology and its technology evolves.

Bluetooth compatible hearing aids:  These are not a direct connection and need a streamer to connect to a mobile phone and to stream audio (using an app).  They do connect to Android devices exactly the same way, once you have said streamer in place.

Made for Android hearing aids:  These, in the past, still needed an additional streamer, but since the Android 10 – the future of direct connection is looking brighter.

Made for Any Phone hearing aids:   This, at the moment, only applies to the Sonova group hearing aids – like the Phonak Paradise and the Unitron Blu.  These connect to any mobile phone with Bluetooth capabilities and pretty much any Bluetooth device.

 

Private Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Realistically, you more than likely won't be able to purchase Bluetooth hearing aids online.  There are some cheaper and less reliable OTC devices available, but most hearing aid brands do not operate like this.  You will need to visit your local audiologist to access this type of hearing aid.

Your local audiologist will give you a hearing test, support and advise you on your Bluetooth hearing aids keeping your budget, lifestyle, level of hearing loss and much more in mind.  You will be shown a variety of Bluetooth devices that will suit your needs the most. 

The good news is that if you are searching for Bluetooth hearing aids there are now loads of styles, models and brands out there - especially from private audiologists.  You also need to be prepared to spend a little more on some models that include Bluetooth.  Most models include Bluetooth technology as standard, however, each hearing aid offers something different when it comes to patient support and functionality.

 

Bluetooth hearing aids UK

Bluetooth and Hearing Aids

Using Bluetooth Hearing Aids

What to ask your audiologist

Before you consider purchasing your Bluetooth hearing aids, reflect back on your needs and priorities, as well as discuss your queries, anxieties and expectations with your audiologist. At the end of the day, it's important that you're not paying for what you ultimately don't need.

Here is our consumer tick list for those who are thinking about upgrading or purchasing Bluetooth hearing aids and some questions you might want to ask your audiologist.  We hope you find this criterion useful:

  • iPhone Streaming: Do the hearing aids stream audio from iOS devices?
  • Android Streaming: Do the hearing aids stream audio from Android phones?
  • Laptop Streaming: Do the hearing aids stream audio from laptops and other Bluetooth hearing aid devices?
  • Accessories: Do I need to purchase accessories to stream audio from various devices or to have hands-free calls with these hearing aids?
  • Connectivity: Do the hearing aids provide reliable connectivity with numerous devices and is it easy to install?

Bluetooth hearing aids

Bluetooth Hearing Aids UK Reviews

What are the best Bluetooth hearing aids UK?

 

Examples of the latest Bluetooth technology

How do we choose the best Bluetooth hearing aids?  Finding the right Bluetooth hearing aids for you will depend entirely on your unique preferences, hearing loss needs, budget and what you typically want from your hearing aids.  In so many ways, there is no one size fits all answer here.

Our Bluetooth hearing aids reviews are based on brand reputation, customer reviews of the product so far, recent studies and our audiologist's experience.  So, what Bluetooth hearing aids do we advise?  Here are some of our audiologist's Bluetooth hearing aid recommendations that have been launched this year.

Phonak Paradise Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Phonak Bluetooth Hearing Aids - Phonak Paradise P90 Hearing Aids

After Phonak Marvel, Paradise came along with a new look and new impressive technology and processing chip - PRISM.  Combining advanced sound quality, motion sensors, a personable hearing experience and digital solutions along with universal and multiple Bluetooth connectivities and much more.

Using Phonak's Motion Sensors, Paradise can control Bluetooth features with a double-tap of your ear. So you can accept/end calls, pause/resume streaming and ask Google for driving instructions with a simple tap.

In fact, Phonak Paradise digital hearing aids allow for eight Bluetooth-enabled devices to be paired, while two can be simultaneously connected.

 

Mobile phone compatibility with myPhonak app:  Your mobile phone must at least support Bluetooth 4.2 and iOS 12.0 or Android 7.0.

Mobile phone compatibility with streaming wireless calls and music:  Your mobile phone needs to, at minimum, support Bluetooth version 2.1, optimally 4.2 and higher.

Phonak Paradise Charging System

Advantages and Disadvantages of Phonak Paradise Bluetooth Hearing Aids

From a Bluetooth perspective, it works very well at receiving, however, the sound quality experienced by people on the other end of the phone is less good than we have found with people using an external clip-on mic type device, or just speaking into the phone like normal. 

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version an additional £50 per aid. New ActiveVent Receiver sold separately.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version an additional £50 per aid. New ActiveVent Receiver sold separately.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range

Unitron Blu Hearing Aids

Unitron Bluetooth Hearing Aids - Unitron Blu 9 Hearing Aids

This hearing aid range is powered by the successful Sonova PRISM chip and along with the new Integra OS signal processing system - you gain from a highly optimised hearing experience that is unique to your hearing loss in all environments.  This chip provides double the memory of Unitron's last chip and also two times more memory to power such personalisation.

The advanced Bluetooth connectivity is made even more convenient with Unitron's new tap control feature.  Giving you access to great wireless connectivity, at-home device control and pairings to Unitron accessories with the tap of your finger.  

Unitron Blu digital hearing aids allow for eight Bluetooth-enabled devices to be paired, while two can be simultaneously connected.  Plus, let's not forget about the direct connection to Unitron's Coach feature through the Unitron Remote Plus app giving you personal care remotely whenever you need it. 

 

Mobile phone compatibility with Remote Plus app:  This app works with Apple smartphones with iOS 10.2 or newer and Android smartphones with version 6 or newer.

Mobile phone compatibility with streaming wireless calls and music: Your mobile phone needs to, at minimum, support Bluetooth version 2.1, optimally 4.2 and higher.

Unitron Blu Hearing Aids

Bluetooth hearing aids

Other Information

About Bluetooth Hearing Aids

 

Bluetooth hearing aids app

Hearing aid apps generally connect directly to various smart devices using Bluetooth, so wearers can control their hearing aid features and settings like programs and volume.  Program management is a great tool, as you can use a range of feature sets in different environments to help you hear better.  For instance, hearing speech clearly whilst walking in the park with a friend. 

Your Bluetooth hearing aid app can also tell you how much battery your hearing aids have left.  If you're wondering about Bluetooth hearing aids battery life, it all depends on your streaming usage, device, type and capacity of the hearing aid battery itself.  As a rough guide, expect traditional batteries to last from 5-7 days and rechargeable ones can last upto 24 hours in one charge, but again this all depends on streaming trend.

Because the apps connect via Bluetooth you can also gain access to compatible devices like televisions, smartphones and computers - as well as stay connected to your hearing healthcare professional remotely.

 

A quick reference to more information on Bluetooth hearing aids:

 

Need more support with new Bluetooth hearing aids on the market?

You might be new to hearing aids, or you might be thinking about upgrading and wondering which device would be right for you or you simply might want more information on Bluetooth hearing aids - call us free on 0800 567 7621 and one of our experts will be happy to advise you.

This information was written by Paul Harrison - Audiology Expert

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

Hearing Aids Bluetooth - Some Examples

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