Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

Made for iPhone Hearing Aids.

Hello,

Are there any applevis users out there using or planning to purchase a made for iPhone hearing aids?

For those curious or interested, these are Bluetooth 4.0 hearing aids that connects directly with the iPhone. Previously, for the iPhone to communicate with the hearing aids, you needed a remote. The remote cost extra and another thing you had to carry around. Currently, the two most popular models are Linx by Resound and Halo by Starky. An app needs to be installed so you can control the volume along with other features. For the Linx, the app is called Resound Smart and for the Halo, it called Truelink. The haring aids are paired using the hearing aid options under accessability.

I decided to replace my current pair of hearing aids with a pair of Starky Halos. They are small and available in different colors. I’ve had them for about a week now and here is what I like so far:
1> They have noise reduction filters. Unlike my old pair, these Has only amplifies what I want to hear. Barking dogs, door slamming are no longer loud yet voices from TVs and people around me are.
2> The Truelink app is fully accessable and easy to use.
3> The Has work with the iPhone to determine if you are moving more than 10MPH. If you are, the Has go into auto/car mode and reduces road and wind noise.
4> There is geo tagging so you can set a preference for a location. For example. I set a preference for my son’s karate studio. Lower volume, lower treble but the bass remains the same. The next time I walk into the studio, the Has automatically changes to my saved settings.
5> VO, Siri, phone calls and music are streamed directly to the Has. Because you are not wearing any headsets, people around you don’t know what you are up to. I asked Siri what time it was and a lady next to me gave me the time. LOL.

The things I didn’t like are:
1. The Bluetooth caused VO to crash a few times. I had to turn BT off then on for VO to work again. Starky tech support connected me with an engineer from Apple. It appears not a lot of VO users use these Has yet.
2. VO sound effects are heard on the iPhone speaker, not the Has. Another thing the engineer will look into.
3. The bluetooth range is only about 8 feet. I suspect it’s due to the lower power of BT 4.0.

Well. That’s all for now. Hopefully, this helps someone who is thinking about getting a hearing aid but unsure if it’s VO compatible.

Forum: 

#1 Really interested

Club AppleVis Member

Hello David:
I am a hearing aid user and would benefit from such a hearing aid. I have some questions:
a) Will you be able to hear text-to-speech output like a book or document being read by Voice Dream Reader? If so do you find it to be more clear than listening through a wired or bluetooth headphone?
b) How did you decide between Resound and Starkey?
c) Are the functions of a hearing aid compromised in any way?
d) Can you tell me how much do they cost? I use the BTE kind/
e) Does the app work on an iPad?

Thanks a lot and I am excited about these aids.
mani

#2 Hi

Hello Mani,

I’ve used the following apps so far. KNFB reader, Blindsquare, Goggles, Pandora, Audio Defense and other apps. They all stream to the hearing aids. I forgot to mention, with these Has. You have the option to either listen to your phone’s audio with or without listening to your surroundings. Hit the mute button and all you hear is your phone audio.

Soundwise, they are great. My audiologist provided me with four presets hearing modes and you can add 16 more. I have a normal mode where filters are set so loud noises are filtered out while voices are amplified. Music mode removes all filters so all the sounds are amplified. Streaming mode for when I listen to apps such as KNFB or Blindsquare. I don’t always switch modes since I find the normal mode works well for a lot of situations. I find I understand the speech of the apps better than if I used my old Has witt awire or Bluetooth headset. The only thing I miss about my Bluetooth headset is the ability to control the music, volume and answering calls. But for the sound quality, these Has beats the headsets.

The Starky Halos are suppose to work with iPhone 4 running 7 while the Resound Linx requires iPhone 5 with IOS 7 and up. They will both work on iPad 4 and up. I am on the first week of my 45 days trial period. I will be trying the Linx next. The Halo and Linx are both RIC, receiver in canal. The speakers are in your ears while the rest goes behind the ears. They are smaller than a BTE but the Resound Linx is also available in BTE. The difference between the Linx RIC and BTE is battery life. As far as functionality, the Halo does not have any buttons which makes it look sleeker. The Linx has a volume control. So the Halo requires the iPhone to make volume adjustments while the Linx does not. When you turn on the Has, they go to a default volume so you will need the phone to adjust the Halos.

As far as cost, it varies depending on your hearing needs and lifestyle. There are three models for the Halo and they go from 2200 to 4000 USD each. If you shop around, you can save a few hundred. If you live in Los Angeles, send me a message and I’ll tell you where I went.

HTH.

#3 TRhank you

Club AppleVis Member

Hello David:
Thank you for all the valuable information. I think it will work very well for me. cCn I talk to you more about the hearing aids? Over email? I have never sent a private message from Applevis but I hope it is easy enough to do.
take care,
mani

#4 Resound Linx App Partially Accessible; Beware, Don't Buy!

Hello David,

Thank you for your assistance; currently, I'm trying a set of Resound Linx, and love how they sound and function. However, what I strongly dislike is that the app isn't totally accessible. Examples include:

1. You cannot switch between the programs (presets) that the audiologist has made. VoiceOver only reports that the buttons are "dimmed."
2. The volume of each hearing aid can be adjusted through the app, favorites cannot be saved because program switching is inaccessible, which basically makes the whole product useless. After speaking to Resound, a representative stated that they were aware of the issue, but "that it wouldn't be corrected in the near future."
I think I'll have to give these a try. I really like the aids; like you said, the audio quality is great, but I can't do the whole geo-tagging thing. Frustrating. I'll have to speak with my audiologist and see if she can get some. Thanks for your help, as there really hasn't been much information about app accessibility.
Nathan.

#5 Trulink accessability

Hello Nathan,

I never even got to try the Resound Linx. In addition to the quality of the Has, I got really great service from Starky. Their support team was at first clueless about VO but to their credit, they were willing to learn. The customer service and tech support manager, Erick, is really responsive and made sure the developers looked at any concerns I brought up.

If you haven’t already done so, you can download the Trulink app and run it in demo mode and try it out. Make sure all buttons and features are labeled and work. If you find something that does not work, let me know. There are so many features, that you may not even use all of them. I find that I now do the triple home click , select the Halos and make the adjustments from there.

Updates since my last post.
IOS 8.2 resolved the connectivity issues that some Halo users have been reporting. If you’re still having connection issues or poor sound quality, update to at least IOS 8.2 and get the updated Halo firmware.
Trulink now supports the Apple watch. So whatever the watch says, you should hear it on the Halos. I don’t have an Apple watch so I can’t confirm this.
The VO sound effects are part of the alerts channel. This means the VO effects, phone ringing or alarm sounds will only be heard on the iPhone, not through the Halos. This is an Apple design/plan that Starky cannot change.

Finally, an observation. While on a plane, I realized there was no way to turn off cellular voice on my iPhone. The only way to do it was to turn on airplane mode. This will also disable BT, hence the connection to the Halos would be lost. The sound filters, speed sensor as well as streaming from the phone to the Halos would not be possible. So you have a choice, turn on airplane mode and connect a wired headset or leave everything the way it is and just keep quiet and turn on do not disturb. LOL

For those of you reading this and wondering if you might need a hearing aid, get your hearing checked. It’s free at most hearing aid shops and you can try out a pair for a month to see if it helps you.

HTH and good luck.

#6 Thanks David

Hi, David. I'll have to download the app, put it in demo mode, and explore. You said, that at first, Starky didn't understand VoiceOver? What I'm wondering if initially the app was inaccessible, but they made it so because of your feedback? If so, that's quite impressive!

Additionally, the airplane mode situation you just brought up--that happened with mhy Resounds, but then I just re-enabled Bluetooth, and it was fixed. What type of hearing loss do you have? Does this cover severe to profound?

Regarding the sounds, you can disable the Vo sounds under General/Accessibility/VoiceOver. I have done that, and my phone is completely quiet, except for when it rings.
Lastly, you mentioned trying a hearing aid for a month. My issue is that I will have DBVI (my state rehab) pay for the aids. However, I don't know how to get a trial period before going back to college in less than a week. Next, in most cases, you have to put a huge downpayment $2,000.00 plus just to try an aid? That's ridiculous to me. You should get the aid free, if you like it, then you can buy it. I live in Virginia. How did you get your trial, can you recommend someone, and how much did it cost for your trial? If there is a risk free trial, and I end up liking them, then maybe I could get the state to intervene on my behalf before the conclusion of the trial period.

#7 I will be trying the Resound Enzo...

Club AppleVis Member

Hello David And Nathan:
Thank you for all the valuable information. My audiologist recommended the Resound Enzo 9 for my severe-profound case. I am waiting for help from my state agency, failing which, I do not know how to finance it myself.
Nathan, do you know if Resound will make any efforts to make their app accessible?
I would certainly want the 45-day trial period and will ask the audiologist about it.
Thanks again,
mani

#8 Made For iphone Hearing Aids Accessibility--What We Know

Hello David and Mami:

Today, I have made it my top priority to pester the heck out of Resound to discover a solution. I do have some partially good news, but before that, I would like to describe the problem with the Resound aids accessibility. Firstly, Resound's app is totally accessible; the problem seems to be with Apple's hardware. Let me explain:
In the Resound app, there is a "Programs" screen. Here, you can select which program you want to change to. Once this has been accomplished, you can save your settings. What the representative from Resound told me is that because of VoiceOver, the program buttons do not activate. This is because Vo's audio goes through the hearing aids and not through the external speaker, or phone's speaker, which is the only way to make the app work. This is just how the hearing aids are designed. Now, I have also spoken with Michael, a technical representative from Starky. He said that the app did work with Vo, but the Sound Space, where the bass, treble, and volume controls are not accessible, and that you cannot add new memories. David, is this true, or did you figure out a way around this? Do you have the same problem with audio, as I have described here?

Here's the good news!!!

There is currently a very good work-around to make the Resound app completely accessible and fix the audio issue, but it only works with the IOS 9 public beta, available to anyone. At first when I downloaded the beta, , I had to play music for a few seconds for VO's audio to rever to the phone's speaker and not through Bluetooth. This was quite annoying, but I found out how to fix it.

I have posted the instructions below for your reference. We need to stay on Apple, and ensure that this feature is not removed. At this time, if you have the beta of IOS 9, then the Resounds are accessible. As I've said, we have to submit feedback, and I've have done that. Instructions begin here:

I've been researching compatibility and accessibility issues for made-for-iPhone hearing aids all day! Finally, I've found the solution!!! I'm so freaken happy!

In order to ensure that the feature remains as part of IOS 9's final release, I have sent feedback to Apple through the "Feedback" app.

So, there was a problem with getting VoiceOver's audio to come out of the iphone's speaker. Because of this, the Resound app was completely inaccessible, since VO was making buttons dimmed. If you have IOS 9, here's how to fix it:

1. Navigate to General/Accessibility/Hearing Aids.
2. Under hearing aids, choose "Audio Routing."
3. Check media and call audio to always be through your hearing aids.
4. When you start your iPhone, Vo may come out of the speaker. This is great. When you place a call, or listen to music though, VO's audio will come through your hearing aids again.
By using the roter, select "audio Destination."
Then, swipe down to select "Default Audio."

You can now adjust every aspect of the app independently.

While these functions are in IOS 9, it is important to remember that the final release may not include the audio routing options. It is very important that everyone submit feedback and complement Apple on a job well-done to ensure that the feature is not removed.
Thanks to all, and I hope this is helpful to someone.

Thanks,

Nathan.

#9 Hmmm...

Hello,

My hearing loss is moderate and I wear hearing aids because I got tired of straining to hear my wife and kid. Now I joke that I can hear better than them at really noisy places.

Starky support was not familiar with VO and was at first hesitant to try. My audi called and they finally agreed to try. The app was for the most part, accessable. Only minor tweaks such as making the volume adjustment swipe from up down instead of left to right which didn’t work well with VO. Target, which does the geo tagging and custom filters worked well.

After I suggested you download the app, I noticed there was an update. I downloaded the update and the target button is now inaccessible. LOL. I guess I can’t do custom filters on my iPad until it’s fixed. FYI, when you have hearing aids that you depend on, don’t always update the IOS or app until you know it works well. Better yet, if you have another device, update the IOS and hearing aids apps on your secondary device before doing the same on your primary device. I already sent them an email and hopefully it will be resolved soon.

If you want to access your hearing aids control, you can also triple click the home button. From there, you can select VO or hearing aids. With the Halos, if I select hearing aids, I can adjust the volume, mute and select the filters. I’m sure you can do this too with the Resound.

For the trial, my audi was the one that suggested I take the Halos for 45 days and if I really wanted to try something else, I could. I agree with you guys, there shouldn’t be any down or payments required to test them out but, I think they fear you will run away with them and not pay. Isn’t your audi willing to work with you on the trial? Perhaps another audi would work with you on this since you will end up buying from them in the end.

I’m glad to hear Resound was able to help you. When I was first shopped around, Resound was not aware of VO and my audi couldn’t get anyone to work with us. As far as including the hearing aids feature in IOS 9 final, keep pestering Resound about working with Apple to make sure it’s included in the IOS 9 release. As a channel partner, they have clout.

HTH and good luck.

#10 Starkey Halo with Audio Defense

Hello there,
I have been using Starkey Halo i110 since June 30, 2014. I have found that, when playing Audio Defense, I am unable to do so when my Starkey Halo hearing aids are having the audio streamed to them (the sound effects sound like a cassette on slow speed). I also get a message stating that I "need headphones" in order to play the game. I have had the same experience with Blindfold Racer as well. Also, I am unable to stop streaming on one iOS device and start streaming on another (I get a message when I am, say, listening to music stating that my iOS device is attempting to get audio connection from another device). The streaming does not occur at all. (Both iOS devices I use are on the same Wi-Fi network). Why Apple didn't use Handoff to accomplish this task I don't know. So far, the ability to have hearing aids connected to multiple devices is completely useless (I have to unpair the device I no longer want to use from my hearing aids and pair the device I am currently using in order to get streaming to work with my hearing aids). The battery statistics for the connected hearing aids are unreliable (VoiceOver either says the batteries are at 100%, 70% or 0 percent no matter how much battery power the hearing aids currently have).

PS,
Given that one cannot stream audio from OS ξ to Made for iPhone hearing aids: Is there a way to get the audio to stream to Starkey Halo hearing aids? My audiologist told me that the SerfLink will not interface with Starkey Halo hearing aids. Also, I would like to know if there is a way to update the firmware of the Brailliant BI 40 in OS X. Each time I applied a firmware update to the brailliant I had to track down a Windows computer to accomplish the task.

#11 Wow.

Hello,

Wow. You’ve had your Halos for a while. Have you seen your audi lately? A firmware was released around the time IOS 9 came out.

I’ve played the games you mentioned as well as zombie run and blind legend. No audio issues here. In all the games, they stream to left or right accordingly. I also mute the external microphones and the experience is even better. As far as the message stating you need headphojnes, I get that too. I get the message whether I use my Halos or a regular pair of headsets. I think the message comes up to make sure the user is aware some type of headset is required.

The hand off feature you mentioned I think is meant for software, not hardware. I can’t help you much on this as I do not use Hand off. I do however, use multiple devices and had the problem you mentioned. To get around this, I turn off Bluetooth on my current device before turning on the Bluetooth on the next device I want to use. By doing this, I haven’t had the need to unpair and/or repair my devices to the Halos.

HTH and good luck.

#12 Issues with my Resound Enzo 9

Club AppleVis Member

Hello:
I finally got my Enzos last week. I love its sound quality and clarity. I use the mini-mic to stream my iMac audio and I also use the the TV streamer. while I love those accessories for its clarity, I have a major issue with them. When I use them, I cannot hear any ambient sounds. This is frustrating because I spend most of my days alone with my pet dog . The same is true when I stream my iPhone(5c with iOS 8.1.3). Is this something I have to live with due to the severity of my hearing or is this something the audiologist can take care of? Can I use the Smart app to rectify this solution? Another issue is when I use the streaming mode with the iPhone, I can't hear phone conversations clearly. This is a real pain.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
mani

#13 About resound issues

Hello,
I don't know if my reply Will be useful or not, because it's too late!
Anyway: I use the many Mike for the same reason, but about me, I can hear all the sounds around me as well.
Does your hearing aids have volume buttons?
If so, you can adjust volume as well.
If not, try to change the volume with Smart app.
About the audio quality with phone calls,
Actually I didn't face this problem, but about you, try to change the volume, bass and troubles Until you get better quality.
Note:
When you are trying to change the presets like volume, base in trouble to hear people around you , you must switch the audio to the iPhone by using audio destination option from the rotor items, you must switch the sound to the iPhone, not hearing aids. Because you can't change the all around program settings while you using the iPhone program.
Otherwise:
Maybe there's an error with programming your hearing aids, maybe for that reason you get bad quality.
Finally: I hope my reply was helpful.
Thank you

#14 It is not too late

Club AppleVis Member

Hello Fahad,
Thank you for your reply. Now I have my mini-mic working well, but I still have problems with the iPhone and the TV. With the latter, I cannot hear the ambient sounds very well. How do you get the audio destination option on the rotor to stay? I have the audio routing set to 'Automatic' for both call and media. But the audio destination option do not appear at all times. Do you know why? I would like to se the audio destination to external speakers when I am using the keyboard with my iPhone-- I found using the keyboard to be not smooth at all, when the audio is directed to my hearing aids.

Any help will e appreciated.
mani

#15 No clue

Hi everyone,

I'm really new to this whole hearing aid thing. I was active duty in the military, but have been out for a decade. Due to the nature of my work I never mentioned my hearing loss (big mistake). Now I'm a dependent and have gotten tired of reading lips and yelling at my kids "I don't know what you're saying when you're behind me!" Turns out I need a hearing aid for my right ear. RIC type is what is suggested. The hiccup I'm running into is that if I get the hearing aid though the military insurance then we will no longer be elegible to be stationed overseas. We currently live in Japan. I'm extremely interested in the Stearly Halo, but to purchase it here in Japan on the local market is upwards $6,000! I tried to contact Stearly direct, but they weren't very helpful. Does anyone know of an audiologist who would work with me via phone or email and ship a hearing aid so that I am able to get one as a lower cost? I have the results from my audiology exam.

Thanks!

#16 Thoughts

Hello,

Here is a few reasons why it might be better to bite the bullet and spend a little more to get it locally. A good audiologist will offer to test your hearing. A second test is always good to make sure nothing was missed on the first one. The audi can then look at your hearing loss and recommend a make or model that will work best for your needs. Whether you need in the ear, behind the ear or reciever in canal and if you should have an open face mold. Then once you recieve them, the audi can fine tune it to your needs. YOu will then need a follow up visit to make adjustments as needed. And last but not least, if the hearing aids are not comfortable or isn't working out for you, a good audiologist will allow you to exchange them for another brand or model.

I found my Halos cheaper elsewhere but decided to purchase mine locally and I have no regrets. You can check out her website at http://www.thehearingstation.com/index.html and ask if she is willing to sell the HAs by mail.

HTH and good luck.

#17 Resound hearing aids

Club AppleVis Member

Hello InternationalMum,
Have you looked into Resound hearing aids? I agree with David that it's best to have access to an audiologist locally. I purchased my Resound last November and I have already been to my audiologist four times for tuning and adjustments. I have forwarded your request to my audiologist and will be meeting her next week. I will keep you posted on her thoughts.
I just hope you get your hearing aids soon. Good luck.
mani