I Got An Apple Watch And My Hearing Aids Love It!

Mark 4:9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I have been hearing impaired since I lost most of the hearing in my left ear from a brain tumor in 1997. I started wearing a hearing aid in that ear shortly after healing from surgery.

Since then, the hearing in my right ear has been gradually going downhill also. Being a firefighter, having decent hearing and being able to localize sound is a very important aspect of the job. Having four kids, it’s also helpful to hear what’s going on. Knowing that I was rapidly losing my hearing in my “good” ear was something that I was starting to come to grips with.

As the years passed, my audiologist and I closely monitored the hearing levels in my right ear to see how quickly I was losing the hearing. We were also monitoring the latest technology in hearing aids.

During one of the follow up tests, she asked me if I had an iPhone. Thinking that it was an odd question for my audiologist to ask me, I said, “Yes, why do you ask?” Well, it turns out that my hearing aid company, ReSound, was working with Apple in developing a hearing aid that Bluetooths with the iPhone.

So, as time progressed, the magic moment finally arrived. I was fitted for the ReSound LiNX hearing aid that was made for the iPhone. To say that this hearing aid was a game changer would be putting it lightly. To be able to Bluetooth through my hearing aids is amazing.

I can answer the phone, listen to music, and a host of many other things through the phone that I wasn’t able to do before.

I was also able to use a ReSound app on my iPhone to adjust the volume and a few other things that I wasn’t able to do before. I didn’t think things could get much better in the hearing aid world. I was wrong.

Say hello to the Apple Watch and the new ReSound LiNX2!!!

Let me start by saying that I am not normally a watch wearer. That being said, when I was told that ReSound was coming out with a new ReSound LiNX2 and you could change programs and settings from the Apple Watch and I had the opportunity to try them, I was interested and jumped at the chance.

I am usually skeptical of new devices, especially ones that I don’t normally use, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the Apple Watch. I am not going to focus on the millions of things you can do and see on the watch but just discuss how it relates to my hearing aids.

Through the Apple Watch, I’m able to adjust the settings on my smart hearing aids right from my wrist, allowing me to change the settings depending on the sound environment that I am in. This has truly allowed me to have some control of something that I had very minimal control over before.

The watch is kind of like a remote control for the some of the features on the phone. I know that people are going to think, “How hard is it to take the phone out of your pocket and change the settings?” and that is an understandable question. The truth is that it’s not hard to take the phone out and change the settings but the ReSound app on the watch sure does make it a lot easier to change them. This might not seem like a big deal but it truly is the difference between me changing the settings for different environments and not changing them because sometimes it is disruptive to take out your phone.

There are some really cool features on these new hearing aids that can be controlled through the watch (yes, they can be controlled by the app on the phone too but we are talking convenience here):

Blocking out wind noise: If you wear hearing aids, you’ll know how awesome this is.

Restaurant Setting: It actually allows the user to almost use tunnel-vision type hearing to block out surrounding noise.

Bluetooth: Wireless technology that allows me to use my hearing aids with the phone without putting the phone to my ear.  I cannot stress enough how awesome this feature is. Talk about modern technology being used to help.

There are many other cool things but those are the three that stick out the most. I recently had the opportunity to go to New York to be interviewed by CNN and Popular Science magazine to discuss the ReSound LiNX2 hearing aids and the Apple Watch. You can see the CNN interview here:  Apple Watch App Controls Hearing Aids

Here are some pictures of the trip to New York and the ReSound app on the watch. What a great time it was. I love talking about these hearing aids. It has made such a difference in my life.

PopSci IMG_1648 Watchprograms Watch wind

I know there is a stigma to wearing hearing aids (See below comments about stupid “What or Huh” jokes). I hope that people with hearing loss can get past that stigma and give these hearing aids a chance. It could truly change their life.

God has blessed me with so much. Sure, being hard of hearing comes with its own level of struggles but there are many bright, shining moments related to this too. I’m thankful that technology has opened up avenues for me to be able to hear more than I did before. Is it perfect? No it’s not, but it truly is amazing what hearing aids and a watch have managed to improve in my life. I am truly grateful for all of these things.

***A public service announcement from the hearing impaired: I can’t even count how many times when the topic of hearing loss comes up, that someone says “What???” as if it’s the funniest thing they have ever said. Let me save everyone some time: Nobody that is hearing impaired finds that joke funny in the least bit. In fact, it’s actually quite insulting. You wouldn’t say, “How many fingers am I holding up?” to a blind man so don’t make “Huh?” jokes to someone who’s hard of hearing.***

 

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Steve DeLuca is a 12-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 22-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.

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