Hearing aid synced to your iPhone

Published 04/21 2014 10:17PM

Updated 04/22 2014 10:34AM

CHAMPAIGN -- According to the American -Speech-Language-Hearing Association about 28 million people suffer from some sort of hearing impairment. About one in five people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually use one. In this week's Your Health, we show you the first hearing aid which is directly compatible with an iPhone.

"All right, let's get started," Alina Phoenix tells patient Merle Benoit.

"It'll make your life so much better," Benoit says.

Thanks to a new app, an iPhone can now act as a remote control to a hearing aid.
It's called Audibel A31. Among many functions, it allows you to adjust your hearing aid to your surroundings.

"In the car when my kids are behind me and they are trying to talk to me, at about the third or fourth time I ask them to repeat, they say, 'Oh, I'll just talk to you when we're out of the car.' With this, I can just change it until I got their voices coming up behind me and I could hear them," says Phoenix.

It also uses geotag to remember the exact location, so, if you walk into a certain restaurant or a movie theater, the volume will change automatically.

Phoenix explains, "In the past, when that happened, clients would have to come in and we would make an adjustment to the computer and send them back out. We would have to repeat that process numerous times. With the app, when I'm having a hard time in a difficult environment, I just move my finger around the app until it sounds good and I save it."

Merle Benoit, a man who's had hearing problems most of his life, tried it out.

"It's just like you and I talking right here."

The app also streams telephone calls directly to the your ear.

Benoit says, "It's been so long since I was a small kid that my hearing was super good, that it's hard to visualize how good it was back then. But this gets you very close to it. Probably the next best thing I'd say. Once you have a hearing problem, you just don't how precious your hearing is until that comes about."

The hearing aids range from $3,500 - $7,000 depending on the severity of the hearing condition. Benoit walked out with one that day.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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