Author: Heather Jensen
Audiologists, like scientists in any other field, are constantly trying to update technologies to keep them modern and relevant. There are a wide selection of such technologies if you know where to look, but we have found that some of the most interesting can be accessed through a device that most people use every day: a mobile phone.
Beltone is one of the companies looking to make their products user-friendly and suitable for the modern age. Specifically, they are embracing mobile apps. Beltone's HearPlus app, available from their website, from iTunes, and from Google Play, allows you to control your Beltone hearing aid, check the batteries, and so on from your phone. You can adjust the volume and other settings without having to remember to carry an extra device around. It is also a discreet way of making adjustments, given how much time most of us spend on our phones every day. As an added bonus, there's a feature that allows you to track your hearing aid with the GPS in your phone, in case you should ever lose it. This GPS can also be used to help you save certain settings for certain locations such as restaurants so that you do not have to manually change your settings every time.
This is Beltone's most popular app, but they have recently released a couple others. For instance, there is a Tinnitus Calmer app that combines customized sound therapy and brain exercises to distract the user's brain from tinnitus. Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears, affects 10 to 15% of the population, and about a quarter of these people have cases severe enough that they need medical attention. As you can imagine, this means there is a big need for relief from this condition.
Other AppsWhile Beltone is one of the biggest names in hearing apps, there are certainly other apps to choose from. Some of them are aimed at preventing hearing damage, such as the Sound Meter from Smart Tools, which allows you to measure the noise level of your environment so that you can adjust your circumstances as needed. A wide selection of hearing test apps exist as well, from organizations like Action on Hearing Loss, England's official hearing foundation.
For those who already have hearing damage, fear not! There are more apps for you, too. If you're new to signing, there are apps to teach you American Sign Language (ASL). Some of the most popular are the ASL app by Sheep Co, which you can find on Google Play, and the Sign Language app by EverydayASL.com, which you can find on iTunes. Then there are apps that can help the hearing impaired with day-to-day matters, like Tap Tap (found in iTunes), which draws your attention to nearby sounds so that you can better interact with your environment. You can adjust the sensitivity to account for different noise levels, and then your phone helps you to hear when you are being called, or when loud noises like crashes and honks happen around you.
For more information about getting a bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders at Utah State University, visit
Follow USU on Twitter and like them on Facebook.