In an earlier blog, we asked pivotal members of our DSP and Hearing System Engineering teams about the many influences that contribute to delivering brilliant sound performance year after year. They shared how user-centric thinking and technology advances can work to deliver clear, comfortable, natural sound. 

But that’s not the whole story of what makes for a listening experience that’s easy for people to love. To fully do the topic justice, we also need to talk about connectivity. 

One of the first connectivity wins for hearing aids was the invention of the telecoil. Placed inside the hearing aid, it would pick up a magnetic field from a landline telephone or room loop system. Wearers still had to manually activate it to use the technology, but the benefit of better phone conversations was well worth it. It’s tried-and-true technology that’s still present in many of our hearing aids today.

The introduction of our easy-t feature took the convenience of phone calls up a notch by automatically switching to a dedicated telephone setting whenever a receiver containing a magnetic field was held up to the hearing aid. This made having clearer phone conversations a more seamless experience for wearers. 

These days, people wearing Unitron hearing aids also enjoy the Binaural Phone feature, which automatically streams audio from the phone ear to the non-phone ear on a landline or mobile phone. It’s a win for wearers everywhere.

“We know that people with hearing loss do better when they have information from two ears, and that carries through to their phone conversations,” says Jesse Sinclair, Senior Hearing Performance Audiologist. “We developed the Binaural Phone feature with the goal of helping wearers have clear, high-quality conversations over the phone.”

More recently, our technology innovations are making hands-free calling possible. But to talk about that, we first need to explore how the ability for hearing aids to talk to one another totally changed the feature-development game.

Connectivity between hearing aids is fundamental to powering the innovations that make it easier to hear across many listening environments. This connectivity has been built into Unitron hearing aids since 2012. Multiple generations later, we continue to evolve in terms of how we apply the capabilities to deliver features that make a meaningful difference to the listening experience. 

“Our hearing aids aren’t just “talking” to one another, they are working together like a single unit,” says Chief Scientist, Henry Luo. “We have developed technology that lets them communicate intelligently and work together to get much more advanced information so they can make decisions together.” 

According to Luo, the simplest way to think of it is like two brains working as one. And it provided Unitron with lots of room to grow when it comes to developing stand-out features:

  • SpeechPro was a landmark Unitron feature, which worked to know where speech is coming from and focus accordingly to help improve speech understanding in noisy situations. This technology was only possible thanks to the connectivity between hearing aids. Since the individual hearing aids could exchange data, they worked together as a complete system to precisely determine what’s happening in the listener’s environment.

  • The four-microphone network in a binaural fitting makes it possible to determine where speech is coming from so we can then make an intelligent decision to focus accordingly.

Our latest iteration, AutoFocus 360, together with HyperFocus, represents a significant evolution from where we started, detecting a target in front of the listener, and suppressing noise while enhancing speech. Now, for challenging, high complexity listening environments, we can further improve the signal to noise ratio, automatically, and give clients more control for unique situations where they want to personalize performance to suit their own preferences. 

“Today, our capabilities are much more powerful,” says Luo. “And we continue to refine them with each platform .”

The early days of connectivity were promising, but there were some barriers that limited client uptake – like intermediate streaming devices, for example.

“When I was working in the clinic, many clients would take the streaming accessory home,” says Sinclair. “But then I’d see them back for a follow-up visit and they weren’t using it. The extra steps of remembering to charge it and put it on were barriers.” 

Advancements in Bluetooth technology freed our team to build hearing aids that connect directly to external devices. That’s when everything changed.

  • These days our hearing aids work like wireless headphones, which makes it easier for wearers to integrate into their everyday lives. 

  • Our Made For All compatibility allows wearers to stream audio directly to their hearing aids using their favorite Bluetooth-capable devices.

  • The direct connection between the hearing aids and smartphones frees wearers to use our Remote Plus app as seamlessly as any other app on their phone. Now people can easily make ratings, optimize comfort and clarity, and make adjustments in the moments that matter most. 

Remember when we mentioned hands-free earlier? Now it’s time to talk about it.

Thanks to our unique compatibility with Classic Bluetooth protocols wearers can enjoy hands-free phone calls. The microphones in the hearing aid pick up the user’s voice, freeing them to leave their phone in their pocket – or anywhere within Bluetooth range – while they talk. 

Hands-free calling is a great example of our team’s user-centric mindset in action. And these days, they’re thinking even more through the lens of consumer wearables.

“In our rechargeable hearing aids, wearers can now answer their phone with tap control,” says Sinclair. “If a call comes in, they’ll hear the phone ringing in their ear and, with a quick double tap, they can start talking. It’s just like a consumer wearable.” 

Connectivity between our hearing aids, the Remote Plus app and Unitron TrueFit™ fitting software gives hearing care professionals an even better understanding of their clients’ experiences, both right in the moments they are occurring and over time. 

The Ratings feature in the app lets clients submit in-the-moment impressions of their hearing aid experience. Behind the scenes, our tech also captures the settings and listening environment. This whole package of information makes troubleshooting and counseling so much easier, and it’s only possible because of the connectivity between devices. 

The information gathered by the app is also good for clients. Log It All data gives them a clear picture of their unique listening lifestyle through the app, which also features everyday support, including how-to videos, frequently asked questions and day-to-day guidance through Coach notifications. 

As the future unfolds, we’re committed to continually progressing our technology to curate the most timely, meaningful information for hearing care professionals.

“We want hearing care professionals to have the right information about their clients’ experiences with the hearing aids prior to actually seeing them in office,” says Lead System Architect and Manager, Leonard Cornelisse. “With the right insights, they will never have to go blind into follow-up appointments again.” 

The exciting thing about Bluetooth technology is that it’s continuing to evolve and progress. And that offers intriguing possibilities for the future of connected hearing aids.

Even after developing many feature-firsts using Bluetooth technology, our Hearing System Engineering team is continually learning as they go. They’re excited to apply those learnings to keep releasing connectivity innovations that aim to deliver personalized listening experiences that delight clients. 


For 60 years we’ve been solving meaningful challenges for the people who wear hearing aids and the hearing care professionals who help them along their hearing journey. This article is one in a series featuring insights from our internal experts who spend their days making sure you and your clients always love the experience. Easy to wear, easy to hear and easy for you – that’s the Unitron way.