A middle aged man smiling while watching TV

Here’s Why a Dedicated Device Is Better Than Bluetooth Alone

Whether catching up on the latest episodes of the hottest show, enjoying new uploads on a favorite YouTube channel, or diving into fun cartoon DVDs with the grandkids, you want to maximize your television time with quality sound. Your hearing aids can help. Connecting them to your TV audio can not only improve sound but also enhance shared experiences with family and friends.

Today’s sophisticated hearing technology offers a range of options to support your TV enjoyment. You may be wondering, however, “Why should I buy a dedicated device if the newer TVs connect automatically through Bluetooth?” We’re breaking this down and more, including how your hearing aids can connect through Bluetooth and why using a TV adapter can provide an even bigger benefit.


Hearing Aid Connectivity Options

Depending on the model, hearing aids incorporate different technologies to aid in connectivity — including Bluetooth compatibility, telecoil (T-coil) capabilities, assistive listening devices, and even mobile applications or apps. Leaning into these capabilities can deliver a more empowered sound experience. Let’s take a closer look at these approaches.


Bluetooth Compatibility

Using Bluetooth for hearing aid-TV connections provides several advantages, including direct audio streaming; wireless convenience; reduction of background noise; ability to personalize the sound settings to your own preferences; and other amenities for clear, amplified sound aligned with the way you want to listen.

To connect your Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids to the TV:

  • Ensure your TV supports Bluetooth connectivity, whether with built-ins or a transmitter adapter.
  • Put your hearing aids in pairing mode by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Access the Bluetooth settings on your TV and search for available devices.
  • Select your hearing aids from the list of discovered devices and complete the pairing process.
  • Adjust the volume levels on your hearing technology to help maximize sound quality.

Bluetooth connectivity offers convenience and flexibility, letting you wirelessly stream audio from the television right to your hearing aids. Often, you need only to adjust the volume on your hearing instruments — without changing the TV sound for everyone else.


Inductive Loop Systems or Hearing Loops

Hearing aids and cochlear implants equipped with a T-coil mechanism let you leverage inductive loop systems, also known as hearing loops, for enhanced TV listening. A hearing loop is a wire connected to an electronic sound source that sends the signal to the T-coil of a hearing aid or cochlear implant. The T-coil transforms the signal from the loop back into sound in the hearing aid for the user.

Inductive loop systems are more likely to be installed in public places — for example, theaters, public-address systems, conference venues, and places of worship — but can be purchased and customized for residential setups as well. The listener then hears only the sounds they desire, whether it’s a presentation at a lecture hall, a TV show, or a conversation around the dinner table.

Hearing loops, which on a much smaller scale can even be worn around the neck, further enhance a hearing aid or cochlear implant’s functionality. The loop’s relatively universal technology allows it to work with just about any hearing device with a T-coil. The more public places that install looping systems, the better. At public places, look for the hearing loop symbol or ask if the system’s installed.

To experience TV sound through a hearing loop system at home:

  • Check if your hearing aids or cochlear implants have a T-coil mode, and practice activating it by moving the manually controlled T-switch.
  • Attain and install an inductive loop system, positioning it around your TV or seating area to create a magnetic field that sends sound signals directly to your hearing aids.
  • Turn on the hearing aid’s T-coil setting, which interprets the audio signals received from the inductive loop system.
  • Experience clear and amplified sound without intrusion from background noise, helping create memorable moments with the people in your life.

Most modern hearing aids include a T-coil. If you’re not sure whether the device you’re considering has this mechanism, check with your provider. This one feature can make a big difference in your hearing experience, helping you enjoy better sound even in challenging spaces.


Mobile Applications

Some of today’s most innovative hearing technology works hand in hand with specific apps designed for that particular device. The apps can enhance the listening experience, whether turning your smartphone into a convenient remote control for adjusting program settings, letting you arrange to have your technology remotely fine-tuned by your provider, tracking brain and body health, translating languages, or offering other benefits.

Some apps connect your Made for iPhone® or Android™ hearing aids, turning them into customizable instruments with features that improve your listening moments. These apps allow you to stream phone calls, video-chat audio, music, and sound from your television or computer using Bluetooth technology.

Using apps for an improved television experience often incorporates Bluetooth as well, with both working together to facilitate direct streaming of TV audio right to hearing aids via a smartphone or tablet. You can then enjoy personalized listening, using the phone to control the level of sound traveling from the TV directly to your devices — adjusting for speech clarity, tone, and other elements.

Some apps also offer additional features such as noise reduction, equalization options, and program adjustments, enhancing the overall TV viewing experience. Additionally, app-based connectivity may limit the need for separate remote controls or intermediary devices, streamlining the audio streaming process and making TV content more accessible and enjoyable for users with hearing aids.


Television Adapters

Streaming products such as a television adapter can take your TV-viewing to a new level of enjoyment. As a bridge between the TV’s sound output and your hearing aids, the adapter — also called a “TV streamer” — transmits the audio signal directly to your devices, enhancing speech clarity, reducing background noise, and providing customizable volume control for a personalized listening experience.

Oticon’s TV adapter, for example, wirelessly transmits sound from your television to your hearing aids, bringing audio right to your ears — conveniently, comfortably, and clearly. The discreet tabletop device is connected to an appropriate power outlet and your TV set using the cables provided and then paired with your hearing aids.

The best part: Using the adapter lets you enjoy TV audio on your terms — without changing the volume for everyone else. Plus, it’s effective to about 49 feet, making it easy to hear even if the television is in one room while you’re tackling chores or other activities in another. Entertainment, convenience, and empowerment in one!


TV Streamers vs. Bluetooth Alone

Why use a TV adapter with your hearing aids rather than taking advantage of Bluetooth alone? Some of the advantages lie in the extra features and functionalities that streaming devices offer. Streaming devices can provide additional benefits in:



TV adapters may work with a wider range of audio equipment, including non-Bluetooth equipment such as older TVs, stereo receivers, or computers. This potentially expands the connectivity options for your hearing devices, allowing compatibility with various sound sources.


Audio Quality

Streaming devices often provide enhanced audio quality and signal stability compared to direct Bluetooth connections, especially in circumstances where Bluetooth signals might be weak or prone to interference. This can result in clearer and more reliable audio streaming to your hearing aids.


Additional Features

Some streaming devices come with advanced features such as noise reduction, customizable sound settings, volume control, and program adjustments. These features allow you to fine-tune your listening experience, optimize speech clarity, and reduce background noise for a more comfortable and enjoyable audio experience.


Multi-Device Connectivity

Streaming devices may support simultaneous connections to multiple audio sources, allowing you to switch between devices seamlessly without the need to disconnect and reconnect Bluetooth connections. This multitasking capability enhances convenience and flexibility in managing your audio streaming preferences.


Range and Coverage

Streaming devices often have extended range and coverage compared to Bluetooth connections, providing a more reliable audio streaming experience over longer distances or in larger spaces. This helps ensure you can move about more freely rather than feeling stuck in one room.

Overall, investing in a TV adapter for your hearing aids gives you more flexibility and opportunity over using Bluetooth alone. It can mean improved audio quality, enhanced compatibility, and greater convenience, complementing the Bluetooth functionality of your hearing aids while providing a comprehensive solution for audio streaming across various devices and audio sources.


Considerations When Connecting to Your TV

Leaning into your hearing aids’ connectivity capabilities can give your TV enjoyment a big boost, with clear, crisp sound customized to your listening preferences. It can bring loved ones together for shared experiences and elevate your sense of empowerment at home, work, or play.

Connecting your hearing aids to the TV can significantly enhance your television viewing experience, providing clear and amplified sound tailored to your hearing needs. As with any electronics, however, it’s important to keep certain considerations in mind to optimize your TV watching experience:


Hearing Aid Compatibility

Make sure your hearing devices are compatible with TV connectivity options. Newer hearing aids often come with Bluetooth capabilities, T-coil functionality, or compatibility with assistive listening devices designed for TV audio streaming. Our expert team can help determine the compatibility of your hearing aids with TV connectivity solutions.


TV Connectivity Options

Work with your provider to identify and understand the different connectivity options available for connecting your hearing aids to the TV — including advantages of adapters as well as the benefits of other technologies. From TV streamers to Bluetooth connectivity, inductive loop systems, and more, the choices can feel overwhelming.


TV Settings and Compatibility

Adjusting TV settings and ensuring compatibility with your hearing aids are crucial steps in optimizing the TV viewing experience. Check the audio output options on your television to determine the best connection method for your hearing aids. Collaborating with your audiologist helps ensure the TV and hearing aid settings are seamless and aligned with your listening needs moving forward.


Placement of Hearing Aids and Accessories

Consider the placement of your hearing aids and any accessories required for TV connectivity. For Bluetooth connectivity, ensure your hearing aids are in pairing mode and within range of the television’s built-in Bluetooth technology or adapter. For inductive loop systems, position the loop or device near the TV or seating area for optimal audio transmission to your hearing aids.


Audio Quality and Clarity

Optimize audio quality and clarity when connecting your hearing aids and TV. Adjust volume levels on each device for a comfortable listening experience without distortion or discomfort. Explore sound settings, equalizers, and noise-reduction features on your hearing aids and TV to enhance speech understanding and curb background noise.


Battery Life and Power Management

Consider battery life and power management when handling hearing aids and TV connectivity. Whether your hearing aids use disposable batteries or have rechargeability, ensure they’re fully powered to support extended TV viewing sessions. Talk with your provider about your hearing device’s power-saving modes, which may help extend battery life during TV usage.


Accessibility and User Experience

Other elements of accessibility can further enhance your hearing aid and TV connectivity for an even more empowering experience. Many shows, for example, include captioning that can be activated on demand, letting you see dialogue in addition to hearing it. Some smart TVs may facilitate voice-command control. Your audiologist can help recommend integrated solutions that support you.


Troubleshooting and Support

Having trouble with device connections, equipment compatibility, sound adjustments, audio interference, or other issues? Getting comfortable with the devices in advance helps build confidence and prepare for potential problems. Our hearing aid experts are also on hand to help, and be sure to keep your equipment manuals nearby to aid in connectivity challenges.

Connecting your hearing aids to the TV can add a wonderful dimension to your engagement with the world. Several options abound, but using television adapters can prove especially advantageous. By exploring key choices and seeking guidance from the experts at Hearing Advantage, Inc., you can enjoy enhanced TV experiences tailored to your individual needs.

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