Do you use a Streamer with your hearing aids? The word “Streamer” is technically the name of the Oticon-made product, but it seems to have become a general term for any device that directly streams sound from media sources to hearing aids. Phonak’s product is called the ComPilot, and Widex’s product is named the M-Dex. Most manufacturers have at least one product that could be called a streamer.
So what does a streamer do exactly? (for those of you who don’t presently use one). It is a small electronic box worn around the neck which pairs to a device such as a cell phone by Bluetooth, and relays the sound from the cell phone directly to your hearing aids. A streamer can be used to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks or for phone conversations, all while giving the listener the option to block out outside noise. Some newer products, such as the ReSound LiNX, skip having an actual streamer, and pair the phone by bluetooth directly to the hearing aids (at the cost of significant battery life – so I’ve heard).
The benefits: for many of us with hearing aids, speaking on a cell phone can be very difficult, or uncomfortable, especially in noisy, busy environments. Whereas people without hearing aids can simply press their phone up against their ear to hear better, those with hearing aids may often get a large squeal of feedback if we put the phone too close. Same story for music, over-the-ear headphones may also cause feedback or discomfort while earbuds require us removing our hearing aids. Streamers provide a great solution to all of these problems.
Wait, does this post seem to straightforward and not nearly as rant-filled as my normal posts? Well that’s because I haven’t gotten into the cons of streamers yet. Personally, I don’t use one as I find the cons far outweigh the pros – but I won’t get into that until next Monday. Until then, tell me what you like, or don’t like, about your streamer by using the hashtags #StreamerPro and #StreamerCon respectively. (Please don’t get mad at me Oticon, #StreamerPro is not intended to copy your brand name, it just works out well as a catchy hashtag!)