As a hearing aid wearer myself, I used to avoid using the phone as I struggled with lack of visual cues. Video calls were better but not commonly used within my circle of friends and family. We mainly communicated via text and saved our conversations for face-to-face visits.
The pandemic changed that for me.
As I live thousands of miles away from family and friends, phone calls and video calls are now my social lifeline. Direct connectivity from my hearing aid to my smartphone makes our virtual interactions effortless for me.
In this article, consider why connectivity should be a priority for your clients and four Phonak connectivity options that can foster their social well-being.
Social connections are a lifeline for your clients. They allow them to bond with those they love, those they share stories with, and those who keep them safe. And there are health benefits. Growing evidence shows that having supportive social ties is linked to better health outcomes, including:
- longer life expectancy1
- better physical health2
- better mental health3
- better cognitive and emotional health4
What does this have to do with connectivity? Well, the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way we socially connect. It has led to an increased reliance on digital communication to stay connected.5
And this change has impacted more than Millennials. Older adults are embracing technology and finding virtual ways to connect, shop and be active. A Pew Research Center survey found that 20% of adults, 50 years and older, have had a virtual party or social gathering with friends and family.6 Everyone seems to be connecting online daily these days.
This shift to virtual interactions means having seamless connectivity options is more important today than ever.
Seamless connectivity options
Phonak Paradise hearing aids connect directly to more devices than any other hearing aid, giving hearing aid wearers universal connectivity without limitations. The ability to connect to almost any Bluetooth®-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and digital notebooks, opens the door for streaming video calls, music, and more.
Video calls with friends and family are now a part of my weekly routine. Together with visual cues and the ability to stream to my hearing aid allows me to take part and enjoy the moments.
Why do I personally love it? The multifunctional capabilities of Phonak Paradise allow for up to eight Bluetooth-enabled devices to be paired, while two can be simultaneously connected. I can switch effortlessly between two active devices, adding to a seamless listening experience.
Four Phonak connectivity options that help strengthen my social ties
1. Streaming handsfree phone calls or video calls allows me to chat with loved ones while going for a walk or cooking in the kitchen.
I enjoy taking long walks as it helps to break up my day. During this time, I ask my sister if she would like to ‘take a walk with me’. She is of course, still living thousands of miles away, but we use the time to catch up and we give each other a virtual tour of our neighborhoods.
2. Using the TV connector means I can talk during the movie.
With movie theaters closed and increasing our streaming service consumption, my partner and I watch a lot of documentaries. Here I enjoy the ability to simultaneously stream the signal to my hearing aid and converse with my partner while watching the documentary together.
3. Streaming media makes listening to videos and other social media content enjoyable.
Since the pandemic, I received many memes and videos from friends and families. Many of these memes and videos have brought a sense of humor and enjoyment. The ability to stream the media to my hearing aid has allowed for me to appreciate the content and to further share them with others.
4. Features such as, RogerDirect and PartnerMic allow me to socially connect in challenging listening situations.
I regularly use a Roger™ microphone, especially for work and when attending doctors’ appointments. With the mask mandate, communicating without visual cues and with increased physical distancing has made it very challenging for me to communicate with others. Using a Roger microphone has helped to reduce the challenges of communicating in noise and over distance.
For clients, including myself, having the ability to stream and hear well in challenging listening situations can foster feelings of security, stability, and confidence. And I personally love that these connectivity options allow me to remain connected to loved ones thousands of miles away.
To learn more about Phonak connectivity options, please visit the connectivity landing page on phonakpro.com. An eLearn on connectivity is also available on Phonak Learning in countries and with a PhonakPro account.
1 Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T.B., & Layton, J.B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic review. PLoS Medicine, 7(7), e1000316.
2 Eisenberger, N.I., & Cole, S.W. (2012). Social neuroscience and health: neurophysiological mechanisms linking social ties with physical health. Nature Neuroscience, 15(5), 669–674.
3 Meyer-Lindenberg, A., & Tost, H. (2012). Neural mechanisms of social risk for psychiatric disorders. Nature Neuroscience, 15(5), 663–668.
4 Malone, J.C., Liu, S.R., Vaillant, G.E., Rentz, D.M., & Waldinger, R.J. (2016). Midlife Eriksonian psychosocial development: Setting the stage for late-life cognitive and emotional health. Developmental Psychology, 52(3), 496–508.
5 Nguyen, M.H., Gruber, J., Fuchs, J., Marler, W., Hunsaker, A., & Hargittai, E. (2020). Changes in digital communication during the COVID-19 global pandemic: implications for digital inequality and future research. Social Media + Society, 6(3), 1-6.
6 Vogels, E.A. (2020). From virtual parties to ordering food, how Americans are using the internet during COVID-19. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/30/from-virtual-parties-to-ordering-food-how-americans-are-using-the-internet-during-covid-19/