Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

An Update on Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

Image via Flickr user reticulating
Back in June of last year, I wrote about Apple's announcement of upcoming new features, including "made for iPhone hearing aids." Now it seems more information on this is coming out of Denmark - a country which supplies half of the world's hearing aids. GN Store Nord is the world's fourth largest manufacturer of hearing aids and the driving force behind hearing aids utilizing 2.4 GHz technology.

As it turns out, there will soon be an option for people to have sound relayed directly to their hearing aids via their Apple (iPhone, iPad, etc) product, without the need for an intermediary device such as the Oticon Streamer, which I just discussed this past week. According to the Reuters article linked above, Starkey Technologies is also working on a hearing aid that will work similarly for iPhones but there's no details as of yet.

It sounds like GN ReSound may be at the forefront of "iHearingAids," but it does remain to be seen whether the elderly market for hearing aids will actually want to take advantage of the technology. I think it may take a few more years - for people in their thirties and forties now - before this kind of connectivity is basically expected.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's the Difference Between the Streamer and the Streamer Pro?

I recently received a question on my blog asking about the difference between the Oticon Streamer and the Streamer Pro. I wasn't aware there was a new version of the Streamer out, so I thought I'd take a look for myself.

For those unfamiliar, the Streamer is part of Oticon's ConnectLine series of products. If you have a compatible hearing aid (such as my Oticon Epoqs), you can take advantage of these products. They all utilize the hearing aids' Bluetooth connectivity, and the center of this gadget hub is the Streamer. It turns your hearing aids into a wireless headset; you can use it and the other ConnectLine devices to stream television, computer, mobile phone, tablet, and other device audio right into your ears.

I have a Streamer, and love it. At first glance, the Streamer Pro seems to vary in appearance from my Streamer (click to enlarge):


It looks like it is also shorter and wider than the original Streamer.

I took a look at both manuals (Streamer 1.2 and Streamer Pro) to find any more differences:

  • The microphone has been moved slightly in position at the top of the device.
  • The new Streamer Pro has flatter buttons on the front.
  • The volume control is on the side rather than the front. 
  • The Streamer Pro also has two connections for the neckloop where the original Streamer has one. 
  • The range the Streamer should be within appears to have expanded from .5 meters to 1.
  • The Streamer Pro uses micro USB to charge rather than mini.
  • The ConnectLine Microphone option appears to be new. You can use the Streamer to have a much easier one-on-one conversation with someone in a busy/loud area.
  • The Streamer Pro has an Aux Selector button on the side for use with an audio cable, or headset.
  • The Streamer Pro has telecoil functionality built-in.
  • There is an optional FM receiver device for the Streamer Pro (this is awesome!).
Are there any more differences between the two that I haven't noticed? I'd love to hear from you if you have experience with the Streamer Pro.