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The World of Hearing Aids and Smartphones

If you're like most people in North America, you probably have a smartphone in your pocket or purse right now.

Smartphones and hearing aids

They're everywhere and they're making an impact in the lives of people all over the world, positive and not-so positive. If you're a struggling parent trying to get your teenager to stop texting and listen to you then chances are you probably wish smartphones could be un-invented. It's not all bad — one area where these devices are having a positive impact is in the battle against hearing loss.

One app that is making a difference is called ReSound LiNX.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that it's one of the first hearing aids made to work with Apple's popular smartphone. Promoting itself as the world's smartest hearing aid,ReSound LiNX allows you to connect to what you love through your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. You can enjoy high-quality sound through hearing aids that are also wireless stereo headphones, and all without a neck-worn device.

The Post-Gazette mentions two other apps that have launched this year. The Beltone First and the Starkey Halo.

Fox News says there are also new smartphone apps that link to hearing aids. These apps are helping people with impaired hearing pump up the volume on their devices or use them as headphones to stream phone calls, YouTube videos and music. The apps are also turning the devices into hearing aid enhancers or conduits for information on hearing loss.

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 36 million American adults have some hearing loss. Despite this fact, only a fifth of people who could benefit from a hearing aid wear one. It's because of statistics like these that Connect Hearing Canada encourages people to visit a clinic near to them for free hearing tests.

Connect Hearing’s Director of Professional Practice M.J. DeSousa says any technology that helps people who are hearing impaired is wonderful.

“So many people have smartphones and one of the things that I admire about these machines is the potential they have to make an impact on hearing health,” says DeSousa. “We are aware of several very good apps that people can purchase to enhance their lives.”

A page to check out for the latest in apps for the hearing impaired is App Advice,which highlights how the iPhone is helping people with hearing loss. Be sure to read the customer reviews on the bottom of the page, as they may provide insights into user satisfaction.

These apps include:

LouderTV: Helps you reuse your iPhone as a Hearing Aid.

Play It Down: This app is like three fun music and audio apps in one.

Tap Tap: It helps deaf and hearing impaired people respond to their audio environment. Shout, honk, crash and TapTap will let you know you are being called. Adjust sensitivity for noisier environments.

Dragon Dictation: This is an easy-to-use voice recognition application that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages.

While thrilled at the new apps available on the market, DeSousa stressed that it's important for the consumer to research what is out there.

“There are some very good products on the market and there are products that are not so good,” says DeSousa. “Take the time, research what's out there, understand your needs and find out what might work best for you. The biggest advantage of smartphones is that they put information about hearing health, safety and technological advancements right into the palm of your hand. There's no such thing as too much information when it comes to your hearing, and I would encourage people to learn as much as they can about smartphones and hearing loss advancements.”

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