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New Hearing Aid Uses Smartphone To Clear The Air

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Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By KYW tech editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The ReSound Linx are for the hard of hearing, but they might also intrigue those who aren’t.

“Anything that’s comes through the Apple device, you can listen to directly in the hearing aids — in stereo,” says Kim Herman, president of ReSound US.

A wireless connection to an iPhone delivers phone calls, music, streaming radio, even turn-by-turn navigation, right to the Linx in your ears.

“It will fit 90 percent of hearing losses in the general population,” Herman explains. “You can also use the device to change programs on the hearing aid, adjust the volume, as well as treble and bass.”

And, with geotagging, the Linx can remember audio settings particular to location.

“Your iPhone will say, ‘hey, you’re back in your favorite restaurant, would you like me to adjust your hearing aids?'”

Another feature lets you serve as your own sound engineer, using the microphone on your iPhone or iPad to hear what you want, and block what you don’t.

“Let’s say you’re at a basketball game or some other incredibly loud environment, and you can’t quite hear your companions,” Herman says. “You press a button to activate the mic on the Apple device, and then you can hand the Apple device to a companion, and it streams directly into your hearing aids. Or, if you’re at a restaurant, you can take the Apple device and put it on the table, and the mic will pick up the voices in the immediate area and stream directly into the hearing aids.”

Linx is about the size of a lima bean and sits atop the ear with a tiny tube piping in audio. But when it’s not there, it also knows where you left it.

“These devices are super small, and a lot of times people can’t remember where they put them,” Herman says. “The Find My Hearing Aid feature on the app will help you to find your hearing aids in your home or display a map that will show you where they are.”

Herman says to expect about five days’ use before a recharge.

The top model, the Linx 9, starts around $3000, though there’s a cheaper unit for those with less severe impairment. The company says it’s working on an Android version.

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