Original Article Posted on: 5:00 pm, March 18, 2014, by Meryl Lin McKean, updated on: 06:11pm, March 18, 2014
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — No matter how you slice it, Apple technology is irresistible to many. Now the hope is that Apple can even make getting a hearing aid more “app-pealing.”
Anita Willeke resisted getting hearing aids for years. “I think it was probably a little bit of vanity,” said Willeke.
But pair the hearing aid with Apple, and Willeke was ready. Her iPhone is the remote control for her new hearing aids called LiNX.
Need more treble or bass on one side or both? Adjust it on your phone.
“You can go in and make those fine-tuning adjustments and in the past, there’s been no ability for patients to do that on their own,” said Linda Erickson of Associated Audiologists in Prairie Village.
Erickson says the system saves settings for specific environments such as a favorite restaurant or, in Willeke’s case, the classroom where she teaches.
Willeke really likes the streaming of phone calls directly into the earpiece.
“And I’m able to hear what’s being said more clearly without the background noises that often bother me,” Willeke said.
She’s still getting the hang of it. “How far away can I get it when you still hear me,” she said as she spoke on the phone.
Erickson says you don’t have to hold the phone. “It could still be in your pocket and you could be having a conversation,” said the audiologist.
And what if you lose a hearing aid? The iPhone will find it for you on GPS or, if you’re really close, just look at the bars on the screen. Red means you’re getting warm.
As you might expect, the technology isn’t cheap. Each hearing aid costs between $2,900 and $3,500. Most people need two.