Last year at CES, I saw the LiNX connected hearing aids from ReSound. This year, they were back with their latest model, the LiNX2, which boasts a range of new features designed to help those with hearing loss engage with the sounds of their world more effectively. Key to these advances is that these devices connect to a smart phone, tablet, or even a smart watch to give the user more control over the settings and performance.

When wearing two of these hearing aids, the system can get them to work together, which gives the user a heightened spacial awareness about the location of sounds. This feature also makes it possible to direct your focus to sounds coming from a range directly in front of the user, narrowing or expanding this beam as desired. The system also has a feature that reduces wind noise when outdoors, and another to help control tinnitus. And as before, the user can define presets for common settings, such as an office meeting or a crowded restaurant. The hearing aids can be controlled and adjusted on the fly by wirelessly connecting to an Apple iPhone, iPads, or even an Apple Watch. They can stream sound from these devices, so that you can hear phone calls, play music, or stream movies with the sound coming through the hearing aids.

The extra processing power and wireless connectivity of smart phones, tablets, and other devices are making it possible to greatly expand the features and utility of wearable devices such as these hearing aids. This not only lowers the cost of the devices, but improves the quality of life for the people who use them.