It would be an understatement and a little patronising to suggest that losing your hearing brings with it lots of disadvantages and problems, but many of those are ones that would not be immediately obvious: things like using mobile phones, listening to music and watching TV can suddenly become near impossible.
However unsurprisingly in the 21st century the technology is now around to help you with these and the latest of these is the ‘miniTek’ which has recently been released by Siemens and aims to help those with poor hearing through the novel introduction of what can only be described as a ‘multifunctional streamer’.
Weighing in at just 55g the slightly-smaller-than palm sized device can seamlessly stream the audio via Bluetooth from any enabled device into the specific Siemens Hearing Instruments to provide you with the sound quality, comfort and convenience that those of us lucky enough to still have good hearing benefit from.
It’s small enough to sit discreetly away in an inside pocket (although it does come with a clip much like the new iPod Nano) which means that hands free calls are now a possibility, and the fact that the device allows users to change the volume and programs makes it a lot more convenient on the go!
One of the especially nice features of the device (for practical purposes anyway) is that it comes with two transmitters that can both connect at the same time, meaning that you could connect one up to the TV and another to the stereo (to steal the example used by Siemens) and switch between the two using the ‘miniTek’.
You will also of course be able to make use of the Bluetooth capabilities at the same time; by connecting your landline and mobile when either rings you will automatically hear it through the system, and you can even pick it up using the ‘miniTek’ saving you the need to get up for it!
“Hearing instrument wearers can now enjoy the benefits of advancing audio technology by using this innovative device to link any of their audio outputs directly to their instruments, they no longer need to feel left behind as technology advances at great pace,” said Mark Laben, Product and Marketing Manager at Siemens Hearing Instruments.
“There are around nine million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing and as we live in a gadget nation it is inevitable that many of these people will have been missing out. miniTek makes it easier for people with hearing loss to stay entertained, informed and in touch.”
One last bit of technical information for those familiar with hearing aids, the miniTek can also receive and transmit audio via e2e™ wireless technology, connect with FM transmitters commonly used in schools plus stream sound from induction loops commonly found in cinemas, banks and theatres via its in built T-coil, and for those with non-wireless equipment, the device also has a 3.5mm headphone jack which I’m sure could prove infinitely useful!
So that’s the Siemens ‘miniTek’ – admittedly it is a bit of a niche product, but it is a very good example of how technology can help people get back onto their feet after a physical setback.
It’s really the kind of technological advance that we should be encouraging, especially when the product makes such an effort to help the user to integrate with the rest of the gadget world. Of course I hope very much that you will not have to ever use this product, but if you do I’m sure it will be of great help!