ReSound LiNX Hearing Aid: Made for iPhone
Update: We are now offering ReSound’s third generation Made for iPhone LiNX 3D at discount prices!
2014 is going to be an exciting year for hearing aids. We heard a lot throughout 2013 about made for iPhone hearing aids, but at this year’s CES, just a few days ago, the ReSound LiNX was finally put on display- and boy does it impress. From all vantage points, it looks like this hearing aid is really a game changer. This hearing aid does a lot of things that I think a lot of the more “tech-savvy” hearing aid wearers have been wanting for a while, and perhaps some things that they couldn’t have imagined. Let’s take a look at what the ReSound LiNX promises, and how they are planning on delivering. Here is the release video from CES. Update: Starkey has now released their Made for iPhone hearing aid, the Starkey Halo.
The ReSound LiNX is the result of a partnership between Apple and Danish company GN ReSound, the world’s fourth-largest hearing aid manufacturer. Using bluetooth technology, the LiNX is able to connect and interact (wirelessly) with iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. Sure, this isn’t the first hearing aid with that capability, but it’s the first hearing aid that can do it all without an additional intermediary streaming device. All of today’s bluetooth enabled hearing aids use streaming devices which are a pretty large extra expense when purchasing hearing aids (several hundred dollars), and they can be cumbersome to carry around and use all the time. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t often recommend Bluetooth hearing aids is because the majority of hearing aid users don’t want to have to carry around an additional accessory all the time. I know personally, my limit is phone-wallet-keys, and ensuring I have all 3 is part of my daily ritual- I’d hate to have to add a fourth item!
So the LiNX can be paired up with various Apple devices, allowing you to stream music, phone calls, and all sound through your hearing aids, so you can hear in surround sound. ReSound has cleverly marketed this functionality as well:
“Imagine a video call with a loved one on your iPad® or iPhone®. Imagine speech that’s clear, strong and easy to understand. All through a wireless stereo headset that just happens to be your hearing aids.”
Personally, I think that last bit is the best part. These hearing aids offer some really awesome functionality and can do things that the general population (that doesn’t suffer from hearing loss), will not have access to. For example, if you have your “maps” app open in your iPhone while driving and using your navigation, you can hear the directions being piped in through your hearing aids, all with no wires. Consider the possibilities once Google Glass comes in to the picture (if that ever get’s adopted by the mainstream). Phenomenal, yet perhaps a little frightening. Imagine working out at the gym or running with no cords dangling everywhere? These hearing aids are essentially wireless headphones, and they just happen to be your hearing aids. In addition to those cool features, the LiNX does a lot more.
Using a companion iOS app, users will be able to adjust the hearing aids’ settings. This means volume, programs, bass, treble, and more. This gives you unprecedented flexibility in adjusting your hearing aids, and should really help you get a better sound quality in a number of different environments. With everyone glued to their phones today, you won’t look out of the ordinary either, as you glance down to your phone, open an app, and improve your hearing all with the click of a few buttons. In addition, your iPhone can also be used as a microphone for the hearing aids, which means that you could be at a noisy restaurant, put your phone in the middle of the table, or in front of your guest, and their voice would then come through both hearing aids much clearer than ever before, as the speakers voice would be much stronger than the ambient noise. This is a neat feature which already exists on the market, but again, a separate accessory is needed to do this.
Another cool thing you can do with the LiNX is “geotag” your hearing aids. This means that using the app, you can assign locations to certain program slots on your hearing aids. For example, let’s say your at a noisy restaurant and choose to listen to program #2 (with a few tweaks you made). You can set that program to always turn on when you are at that location, so your hearing aids become very intelligent, much more aware than anything currently on the market. On another note, have you ever lost your hearing aids? That can be very expensive! Using the iPhone app, you can actually find your lost hearing aids! That’s a win for manufacturers, hearing providers, and patients- I love it.
One question that remains to be seen is how all of this affects the battery life of the LiNXs. All Bluetooth enabled hearing aids that work with a streamer do not have great battery lives as is, so we’ll see how it works. The LiNX operates off a size 312 battery, and ReSound claims it is their smallest 312 RIE device to date. ReSound claims to have solved the problem of short battery life though, by using Bluetooth 4.0’s low energy mode- the same battery saving wireless technology as Apple’s iBeacons microlocation services and real-time synchronization for connected devices such as activity trackers. I’m not sure how convinced I am that this hearing aid will get more than 6-8 hours of battery life while streaming, but we shall see!
The LiNX will be available in 10 colors, it looks like it has (1) toggle button on the back, ostensibly for program/volume control. With a number of different powered receivers available, ReSound says the LiNX can fit 90% of hearing losses. It’s supposed to be a very durable device, covered with isolate nanotech for best-in-class moisture resistance. The LiNX is currently available in a few select test markets, following a global launch in the first quarter of 2014. If anyone has experience with this device, I would love a guest blog post!
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.