You don’t need a smartphone to take advantage of some of the great features that those units have to offer. Many hearing aid manufacturers produce devices that stream sound from audio sources directly into your hearing aids. Let’s take a look at the differences between two popular streamers, the ConnectLine and the SurfLink.
The ConnectLine is a series of devices that are designed with communication and entertainment applications in mind, helping to transform your hearing aids into a personal wireless headset. The purpose of the ConnectLine is to enhance communication in all aspects: face-to-face conversations, watching TV, listening to music, and chatting online or over the phone.
At the heart of the ConnectLine is the Streamer Pro, a device that can be worn around the neck and linked with your hearing aids via Bluetooth®.
- The Streamer Pro acts as a gateway to the audio sources you wish to hear. Any technology you own that has built-in Bluetooth, such as a TV or iPod, can connect to the Streamer Pro wirelessly to send the sound straight to your hearing aids.
- If your TV or computer doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, the device can connect to the Streamer Pro via a mini-jack cable.
- The Streamer Pro also allows for control over the hearing aids’ volume and hands-free cell phone calls straight to the units.
The SurfLink products are similar in purpose, but the devices differ in how they operate. There are four SurfLink devices: the SurfLink Mobile, SurfLink Media, SurfLink Programmer, and SurfLink Remotes. The choice of devices allows the user to decide which wireless capability they would like based on their lifestyle and activity level.
- SurfLink Mobile: This allows for hands-free cell phone conversations that transmit the signal to your hearing aids. It wirelessly streams sound from your Bluetooth-enabled TV or MP3 player and can act as an assistive listening device that can be placed on the table for listening in group settings, meetings, or restaurant conversations.
- SurfLink Media: A device that is plugged directly into a sound source (a TV, radio, or MP3 player) to stream sound to your hearing aids. It allows multiple users with SurfLink-compatible hearing aids to connect to a single device. Set the device up, and it automatically streams audio to your hearing instruments when you’re in range.
- SurfLink Programmer: This unit allows hearing care providers to quickly and easily fit your hearing aids. It connects to a computer via a standard USB connection, allowing for quick programming by your hearing care specialist.
- SurfLink Remote: There are three different remote control options for those who wish to adjust their hearing aids using a more traditional remote device. Make memory and volume adjustments to hearing aids, or choose to activate/deactivate streaming modes.