Q: What is Bluetooth?
A: Bluetooth is the name for a short-range, digital, radio-frequency (RF) technology that transmits voice and data over short distances between compatible electronic devices. The effective range of Bluetooth-device transmission is 33 feet (10 meters).
Q: Why is the technology called Bluetooth?
A: When Bluetooth wireless technology was created, its purpose was to unite elements of the telecommunications and computer industries. In that spirit of unification, the name refers to Danish King Harald “Bluetooth” Blatand, who united Denmark and Norway. The king’s nickname comes from his almost constant consumption of his favorite fruit, blueberries.
Q: How is Bluetooth used?
A: Basically, Bluetooth technology provides secure communication of audio signals and data from one device to another without using cables. Different Bluetooth applications have the ability to connect various devices to one another — for example, computers to their peripherals, telephones to ear-level receivers, stereo amplifiers to speakers, personal digital assistants to computers — in a growing community of electronic gadgets.
Q: Are different brands of Bluetooth products compatible?
A: Yes. Adherence to the Bluetooth design standards guarantees compatibility across manufacturers. Indeed, this compatibility is the very motivation behind Bluetooth’s development. Keep in mind that Bluetooth is not a product; it should be thought of as “an enabling technology.”
Q: How secure is a Bluetooth network?
A: Bluetooth is extremely secure because Bluetooth devices combine the use of a Pass Key and a specific address to identify other Bluetooth devices. Encryption can also be used to supplement the level of Bluetooth security.
Q: Will other RF devices interfere with Bluetooth Devices?
A: No. Several design features of Bluetooth devices — including their intentional short range, frequency hopping and small data packets — make them extremely resistant to RF interference.
Q: Who invented Bluetooth?
A: A consortium of companies, including Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, Toshiba, 3Com, Lucent, Microsoft and Motorola, developed the technology in 1998.
Q: What companies are using Bluetooth?
A: More than 2500 companies have acquired Bluetooth licenses so far, so just about everyone involved in electronics is working with Bluetooth.
Q: What is ELI?
A: ELI stands for Ear Level Instrument. The ELI is a Bluetooth module that connects to certain types of hearing aids.
Q: How will ELI help people with a hearing loss?
A: As the first wearable Bluetooth device designed specifically for hard of hearing people, the ELI Ear-Level Instrument will solve virtually all of the problems that hearing aid wearers typically encounter with telephones, including acoustic feedback, insufficient volume, noise from other electrical sources and digital cell phone interference. Furthermore, ELI sends the telephone signal through the wearer’s own personal hearing aid, where it is customized to that individual’s type and degree of hearing loss. Bluetooth also allows connection between the hearing instruments and other Bluetooth-enabled devices like televisions, pagers, audio systems, computers and others.
Q: Are there other Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth hearing assistance devices for cell phones besides the ELI?
A: Yes. Not everyone who is has a hearing loss uses a hearing aid or has an ELI compatible hearing aid. In addition, some people will require sound in both ears (binaural hearing) to achieve good speech recognition and clarity. For those reasons, ClearSounds also offers several other devices that can help users hear better with their cell phones. For CIC, ITE and BTE hearing aid wearers that have t-coils in their hearing aids, there is a HT6110 Bluetooth headset that is t-coil compatible. For users with t-coils and who require binaural hearing the CLA7 Amplified Neckloop is an excellent choice. For people who need hearing assistance but do not use hearing aids, ClearSouns offers an amplified Bluetooth headset. There is also a wired amplifier that can be attached to a variety of cellular headsets. For people who need to hear in both ears and who do not have hearing aids, ClearSounds has a binaural cellular headset that can be used alone or with the amplifier. ClearSounds offers solutions for most hearing problems with cell phones. For more information on these alternatives go to www.clearsounds.com.
Q: What styles of hearing aids can use ELI?
A: The ELI Module can be used with any behind-the-ear (BTE) instrument that can be attached to a direct audio input (DAI) boot.
Q: I have very poor hearing and have pretty much given up on using the phone. Will ELI make the phone loud enough for me to hear?
A: Most likely, yes. The amplification of a voice from the cell phone through ELI is governed by your personal hearing aid. If you have powerful hearing aids, that same power will be applied to the voice from the phone. You will be able to hear on the phone as you hear in a quiet room. The volume control on the cell phone can give an extra boost if needed.
Q: How do I know if my phone is Bluetooth compatible?
A: That information should be in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have your owner’s manual, contact your cell phone provider or look for that information on the provider’s Web site.
Q. Is ELI expensive?
A: ELI will cost more than a standard Bluetooth headset, but the technology is very reasonable in light of the advantages and convenience of direct connection between your cell phone and your own hearing aid. In other words, its benefits will far outweigh its cost.
Q: How will the people I’m calling hear me?
A: ELI’s microphone is located under a small opening at the bottom of the module. Because the microphone is close to your mouth, the sound of your voice will be picked up loud and clear. ELI sends your voice to your cell phone, and the cell phone sends it on to the other end of the line.
Q: Will others using a Bluetooth phone be able to hear my conversation?
A: No. Your ELI and your phone will be paired and connected, creating a secure, point-to-point communication link. The signals they send back and forth cannot be picked up by other phones.
Q: What do the terms pairing and connecting mean?
A: Pairing is the process by which two Bluetooth enabled devices see one another and recognize that they have the ability to share data. Connecting is the process by which the two devices are linked and made ready to share information. It is analogous to plugging in a cable to connect the two. These processes take less than a minute, and their details are dictated by the particular cell phone you use.
Q: Does my phone have to be paired with ELI every time I get a call?
A: No. You will pair your phone with ELI when you first start using the device, and you should not have to pair it again.
Q: Does my phone have to be connected with ELI every time I get a call?
A: No. You only have to reconnect ELI and the cell phone each time you turn them on or after using ELI with a different device.
Q: What’s coming next?
A: The ELI Adapted Neck Loop is in development and will be released soon. The ELI and the innovative Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth products to serve hard of hearing and normal hearing people are our initial offerings for cellular users. Several additional projects are under way. Check back on www.hitec.com or www.clearsounds.com periodically to find out what’s new.