If you are one of the 30-million Americans over the age of 55 who has some degree of hearing loss, you know how frustrating it can be to talk on the phone. The question, “Can you hear me now” has a whole new meaning. Nearly 80% of older adults now have smartphones, so new hearing aids are made to work with the computer in your pocket by connecting to your phone.

Connecting your hearing aid to your iPhone makes calls, videos, and music sound better because they go straight to your hearing aid. It also makes it easier to make changes to your hearing aid using your phone. But how do you actually connect hearing aids to an iPhone?

If you have hearing aids that work with your iPhone, we’ll show you step by step how to pair, control and fix problems with them.

I have an iPhone. Will my hearing aids work with it?

First, you should make sure that your hearing aid works with an iPhone. Most popular hearing aids with Bluetooth can connect to an iPhone, but not all of them allow for a direct connection. Apple works with the best hearing aid makers to make hearing aids that are “Made for iPhone,” or MFi. On Apple’s website, you can find a list of hearing aids that work with iPhones.

You’ll need an iPhone 5 or later to use Made-for-iPhone devices. You can also use any of the following products from Apple:

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air
  • iPad (4th generation or later)
  • Small iPad
  • Touch iPod (4th generation or later)

How to get hearing aids to work with an iPhone

Follow these steps to connect your hearing aid to your iPhone:

Step 1: Click the “Settings” icon on the home screen of your iPhone.

The Settings icon on the iPhone

Step 2: Tap the “Bluetooth” setting in your phone’s settings. Click the slider button that shows up to turn on Bluetooth. When it turns green, you’ll know it’s on.

Activate Bluetooth

Step 3: Open the hearing aid’s battery doors.

Step 4: Go back to “Settings” on your phone. Tap the icon that says “Accessibility.”

Click on Accessibility

Step 5: Scroll down to the “Hearing” section and click “Hearing Devices.”

Choose “Hearing Aids”

Step 6: Close the hearing aid’s battery door.

Step 7: On the “Hearing Devices” screen, you’ll see “Searching” next to a spinning wheel. This means that your phone is looking for hearing aids that work with it. When the name of your device shows up on the screen, tap on it.

On the lookout for MFi devices

Step 8: When asked to pair, tap “Pair,” and be ready to wait up to a minute.

If your hearing aid is checked under “MFi Hearing Devices,” you should be able to use it. If you turn off your hearing aid, it will stop talking to your phone. When you turn it back on, you’ll have to reconnect it by opening and closing the doors that cover the batteries.

How to Use an iPhone to Control Your MFi Hearing Aids

Once you’ve paired your hearing aid with your iPhone, you can use it to control your hearing aid. Follow the same steps as above to get back to the “Hearing Devices” page in your settings: tap the “Settings” icon on your home screen, then tap “Accessibility,” and then tap “Hearing Devices.” This is where you can:

  • Change how loud it is
  • Check how much power your devices have left.
  • Choose a sound setting (like “restaurant” or “party”) for the best sound.
  • Put on and take off Live Listen (uses the phone’s microphone to make it easier to hear someone in a noisy room or from a long way away)
  • Click on the device name to disconnect your hearing aid.
  • Support from Apple Support from Apple

You can also use the accessibility shortcut, which lets you change settings right from the home screen, to get to these features faster. Here’s how this works:

Step 1: From the home screen, go to “Settings.”

Step 2: Tap “Accessibility” in the next step. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Accessibility Shortcut.”

Step 3: Tap one of the most-used features on the screen.

Step 4: To use the shortcut, tap the home button three times or, if you have an iPhone X or later, tap the side button three times quickly. The screen below will pop up automatically, making it easy to change your settings.

Make sure to download the mobile app for your hearing aid, if one is available, to give it more features.

If you would like to learn more about hearing aids and how they connect to your iPhone talk to your audiologist at Imagine Hearing Solutions by calling (530) 392-4533

Tags: hearing aids & smartphones, smartphone apps