There’s nothing quite like peeling the cellophane off a brand-spanking-new iPhone screen. The excitement of new features, the allure of the scratch-free screen, and the promise of a faster-charging and more robust battery can put a smile on anyone’s face.

But what happens when that new iPhone causes issues with your hearing aids?

At Berkeley Hearing Center, we were very excited about the new iOS 14 update.  It brings a number of sound features that could be very helpful to people with hearing loss. Unfortunately, it also seems to be bringing some issues for hearing aid users.

A recent Apple support document confirms that many iOS 14 users are experiencing sound issues (static, interrupted audio, and garbled noises) through their hearing aids when paired with the new iPhone 12.

That’s a problem. Millions of Americans use hearing aids to help them better experience and understand the world around them. But we also use phones to accomplish similar goals.

So, what do you do when the two get in the way of each other? 

What’s Going On?

Recently, iPhone 12 users have been flocking to the Apple Support forums to complain of a new problem. Their hearing aids aren’t working correctly when paired with the new device.

Some users report static sounds while others have complained of garbled noises and sound/streaming interruptions.

So far, the issue seems to be primarily concentrated on iPhone 12 devices running iOS 14.

Note: Some media outlets are claiming that the issue only happens with Made for iPhone hearing aids. However, many users are claiming to have problems with hearing aids outside that list.

Apple has confirmed the issue. As far as we know, the problem only impacts iPhone 12 devices, which use a new Bluetooth chip that isn’t found in earlier devices. So, those with the latest iPhone may run into loud sounds, static, and other hearing issues.

This puts hearing aid users with iPhone 12 devices in a tricky spot. How can you tell if your hearing aid issues are due to your aids or your phone?

There’s no easy answer. We’ve already had patients call us with this issue. Currently, we’re handling this on a case-by-case basis.

We diagnose the hearing aids themselves, cleaning/checking the components, and then discuss where the issue may be coming from.

This isn’t the first time Apple devices have struggled with hearing aids. They released iOS 13.1.3 in October 2019 to fix connection issues users were having with hearing aids. It’s unfortunate. As one user noted in the support forums, “we depend so much on this technology.”

Is There A Fix?

Maybe! Apple recently put out a notice urging users to update to iOS14.2.1 or later to fix the issue. If that doesn’t correct your problem, here are a few things you should try:

  • Troubleshoot the hearing aids: There’s a chance the issue is caused by your hearing aids. They may be malfunctioning or in need of a good cleaning. We have a helpful cheat sheet for troubleshooting hearing aids.
  • Fill out an Apple Support ticket: You can always fill out a support ticket with Apple. But, given that they’re already aware of the issue, you may get a canned response.
  • Switch phones: If you have an old device lying around, you may want to switch over and see if it works properly on that device. If so, contact Apple’s technical support line or bring your device in for repair.
  • Get in touch with a hearing healthcare provider: Your local audiologist should be able to help you discover where the issue is stemming from. They can troubleshoot your hearing aids, cleaning your aids and/or replacing components as needed, reset the internal processing chip and reprogram your hearing aids to see if this addresses the technical issues. In fact, your audiologist t may be able to program your device remotely (which saves you the sweat-worthy trip to an office amid a pandemic).
  • Try basic phone troubleshooting steps: While the issue may be caused by iOS 14, it may also be a more common issue. Try basic phone troubleshooting steps to see if they correct the problem.

We’re Here for You

Technology can be both incredibly enabling and frustrating. Glitches, bugs, and issues like these may seem small to Apple.

But they’re massive to those with hearing loss who depend on their hearing aids and a stable connection with their phones.

You need your phone. You need your hearing aids. When one doesn’t work with the other, it can be stressful. We can help.

At Berkeley Hearing Center, we know that your hearing is essential to you and your family. Our industry-leading Audiologists are here to help you find, solve, and fix any issues with your hearing aids.

We’re here to help, to address your problems, and give you the answers you need to stay connected to the world around you. Contact us to set up an appointment today.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

The Team at Berkeley Hearing Center

Our patients come to us because we are experts in what we do. We have put together a team focused on providing the most advanced audiological care available in the area. Our combined expertise ensures that our patients have their hearing healthcare needs met at a professional, compassionate, and comprehensive level.