Compatibility between vendors for hearing aids and peripheral hardware

This is the second part of my wishlist to audiologists and accousticians, hearing aid manufacturers, and the health care system. If you like to add something, share your experiences, or provide more information, I encourage you to submit a comment.

Most modern hearing aids communicate with each other. If you switch the program on one side, the other hearing aid does so as well. Also, for the signal processing, they talk to each other and exchange information to analyze the acoustic setting more thoroughly. This does not work when two hearing aids come from different vendors, sometimes not even when they are different models from the same vendor.

The same applies for peripheral hardware. Hearing aids from one vendor most often are only compatible to peripheral hardware (such as bluetooth adapter or FM systems) of the same vendor. If you buy a hearing aid from that vendor and the compatible peripheral hardware, you are very likely to to choose your next hearing aid from the same vendor, because you don’t want to rebuy the peripheral hardware or the hearing aid for your other ear. You are stuck with one vendor and don’t have the freedom to choose the best product next time, just because there are no standards and/or no willingness of the vendors to coorporate with each other.

The same applies to compatibility between cochlear implants and peripheral hardware, other hearing aids or cochlear implants of other vendors.

Also the parameters and settings between hearing aids are not compatible, often not even between different models of the same vendor. When your hearing aids break and you temporarily get a spare hearing aid of a different model, the accoustician can only roughly tune it and you have to live with those crappy settings until you get back your own hearing aids from the reparation.

See also the next point on my wishlist: Seamless compatibility between hearing aids and peripheral hardware to consumer electronics. Or the previous one: Better Signal Processing.

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