Pairing an iOS device to a hearing aid

Pairing an iOS device to a hearing aid

Summary: Apple supports the FCC's hearing-aid compatibility standard to current iPhone models. This summer, developers have released apps supporting Cupertino's Made For iPhone hearing aids.


An Apple Support list of iOS and hearing aid combinations shows that the currently-shipping iPhone models, the iPhone 4S and greater, support the FCC's hearing-aid compatibility standard (HAC) and Apple's own Made For iPhone hearing aids. There are two types of support M (enabling acoustic coupling with hearing aids that don’t operate in telecoil mode) and T (supporting inductive coupling with hearing aids operating in telecoil mode).

Pairing an iOS device to a hearing aid


"iPhone and hearing aids generally work best together in "M" or acoustic coupling mode. To use your hearing aid in this mode, make sure that your hearing aid is set to "M," or acoustic coupling mode, and position the iPhone receiver near the hearing aid’s built-in microphone (or microphones). In other words, hold your iPhone against your head as you would naturally hold the phone when making a telephone call. The hearing aid will receive audio from the iPhone through its built-in microphones.

"For the best results, try using the iPhone in different positions relative to your hearing aid—for example, placing the receiver slightly above the ear may result in better performance for hearing aids with microphones positioned behind the ear."

Check Out: Hearing aids to gain iPhone support 

Starkey Laboratories this summer updated its hearing aid app TruLink Hearing Control; the software works with Made for iPhone hearing aids from Starkey, Audibel, NuEar, MicroTech and AGX Hearing. The software can deliver optimized music from the iOS device, and lets users create stored and geo-tagged settings, called memories, that can be automatically switched depending on location. Users can also change the volue settings on the hearing aid from their iOS device. 

A recent post by Allyson Kazmucha at iMore runs through the steps of pairing an iPhone with a hearing aid in iOS's hearing Aid Mode. It's straightforward.

Topics: Apple, Government AU, Hardware, iOS

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  • Acoustic Coupling Not That Great

    As a long time user of hearing aids I can tell you that any kind of acoustic coupling that requires a position other than a normal center ear position does not work that well. The outer ear is an amazing acoustic structure that is able to filter a lot of background noise. When you move to a microphone that is on top or behind the ear you lose this filtering. I now have a cochlear implant. The biggest improvement they ever made in it was positioning the microphone to the center of the normal ear.

    Note that it is extremely difficult to position the microphone in the center of the ear in a regular hearing aid at higher gains. The problem is to decouple the microphone from the speaker to avoid feedback. In other words preventing the vibrations from the speaker from getting to the microphone. This is one reason why in the picture shown that they use a small wire to connect the two. Even still, air transmission can cause feed back. Note, that an implant pulses the nerves with an electrical signal directly and does not have a speaker. It does not have feedback problems.

    Hearing aid manufactures make all kinds of claims about there signal processing to deal with acoustic coupling to telephones. Even Apple has gotten into the act by doing some pre processing. It is all a massive amount of compromises. Whether it works in one location with the two devices it will not work in others. It is really a hit or miss deal. It many ways it is on the edge of false advertising. Maybe not technically false but when you consider the demographics of those buying the things and there level of technical understanding it is definitely misleading.
  • Not Exclussive To Apple

    my Windows 8 Phone has the same capabilities.

    Perhaps ZDNET can get one of their professional writers to do a comparative article on this subject.
    • Really?

      Including Apple's own hearing aids? (Might help to read the article first.)
      • And TruLink support?

        No WP8 support for that either.
        • You're Commenting On The Advertising?

          slow day?
  • These have all the Gen 1 issues

    Have a pair of Starkey HALO i101s. Top of the line model. I have had three other bands of digital hearing aids before. The last two (Oticon and Phonak) with fobs to connect my iPhone to my hearing aids. Both worked much better than the HALOs with fewer drops, better sound quality, and less breakup.

    You really need an iPhone 5 as the 4S only uses one ear for phone, radio, music, etc. Does not work with earlier iPhones. The one ear part is not stated in their literature, you just have to find that out on your own.

    Recorded messages just don't work at all. Just had a call with my insurance company and had to change to the iPhone speaker because the recoded message was broken up so bad as to be not understandable.

    They do not cancel loud noise well, i.e. the F15 fighter jets that take off from my local airport or the turbo prop that just flew over my house. The high pitch sounds come right through making me want to pull them out. Or lease the TruLink app open and hit the mute button.

    TruLink app does not work as advertised. Spent an hour and a half with the head iPhone tech at the local Apple store to try and get the push the home button three times to bring up the TruLink app, and OBTW now the double click the home button to get to the window to delete running apps only works sometimes.

    Without the iPhone there is no adjustments that can be made. My other hearing aids you could cycle through several pre-sets at the touch of a button on the hearing aid, not with the HALOs.

    The concept is great but the execution I see right now is poor. More like Beta SW than a real solid take it to the bank solution. Others on the various hearing aid forums are not happy either.

    I will continue to work with my audiologist to try and get these to work as advertised. I have the first set given a veteran at my local VA hospital so I am sure there will be more trial and error as we go along.

    I hope that Starkey will fix the issues and we can download new SW to both the hearing aid and TruLink. I sure would not want to have to have new hearing aids again in a year or so.