Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Exploring Hearing Aid Integration in iOS

Klaus Wirtz:

I learned that besides normal hearing aids, there are “Made for iPhone” (MFi) hearing devices that are directly recognized and controlled by iOS. An Apple support document lists manufacturers and products that have earned the MFi label. Of course, as an Apple user, I had to get an MFi pair. After trying several different devices, I finally settled for a pair of Pure 312 3Nx by Signia. In this article, I describe my experience in setting up and using these devices.

Why doesn’t macOS support these devices?

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

I have looked briefly at this: some hearing aids do support macOS streamed BT audio, apparently. I advised my OP to discuss this with their audiologist, who should have better and up to date knowledge of which models do.
I agree that this should be common to both iOS and macOS, but apparently it isn't.

My current hearing aids (Phonaks) use bluetooth though not MFi. I have severe hearing loss trending toward profound, and the bluetooth support is actually terrific, transforming the effectiveness of the phone.

Phonak makes a TV accessory that works really well with macOS. It plugs into audio or USB, and streams to the hearing aids. It’s not perfect — it assumes that if there's no sound it should disconnect to save your batteries, and that means you miss intermittent sound. But for most things, it's absolutely great.

Pierre Habouzit

I use hearing aids, and I don't see the point of pairing with macOS that much. hearing aids pale compared to using a actual headset, they're a clutch for when you don't have the actual numeric source of audio, because if you do, then you use a headset and turn the volume up.

When mobile, in my car and I need to talk to Siri, or just get directions, that's when the hearing aid being connected to the phone /is/ useful. I've never once wished to pair it with any of the computer I work with.

It's possible others with hearing aids have a different opinion though ;) it's just mine.

@Pierre Perhaps there are different use cases? All I can say is that making them work with a Mac is a common feature request that I receive.

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