Danish firm develop ‘made for iPhone’ hearing aids

Danish firm ReSound has created what it deems to be the first ‘cool hearing aid’; the new LinX. 

The aid is designed to work in tandem with Apple’s popular iPhone.  The LinX hooks up to the headset, and is able to play back audio on the phone through the hearing aid.  It can also use the microphone in the iPhone as a remote device, enabling the user to position it near the person they’re talking to and hear them more clearly.  As such, it operates as an on-the-move hearing aid.

There is also an App in place designed to help users operate the hardware.  The app lets users edit the audio, altering the volume as well as the EQ of the sound. This means that the audio feeding back through the aid can be tailored to suit specific situations, i.e. the quiet of an office or the background noise of the local pub.  It’s also possible for the user to put different settings in place for both the left and the right earphones.

In addition to this, ReSound LinX also has a noise cancelling feature, which is able to filter the sound coming through the iPhone’s microphone.

All this technology comes at a price, of course.  The devices cost £3,000 per pair, meaning that they would be a substantial loss if it were to go missing.  What’s impressive is that the iPhone app can also help the user to locate the headphones if they get lost.  As well as a map signal of where the headphones were last used, the app provides a digital version of the classic ‘hot or cold’ hide and seek trick, bar graphs rising or falling depending on how close the aid is to the phone.

The LinX makes use of Bluetooth Low Energy, which the Bluetooth SIG dubs “Bluetooth Smart”, in order to control the aid.  This means that a separate remote control isn’t necessary, and also means the power usage of the aid is comparatively low.  Indeed, the battery is able to last between five days and a full week.

Currently, there are plans in place for Android versions of the hearing aid: it’s believed that they will either wait for the smartphones to have the relevant Bluetooth connections, or that ReSound will develop a specific adaptor for Android users.

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