When you hear the words “hearing aids,” you may stifle a groan and inwardly cringe as you imagine a big, chunky device that squeals and ultimately ends up in a sock drawer because it just makes “everything louder” and not clearer. FEAR NOT, hearing aid technology has come a long way and is now allowing hearing aid users to engage in a more active, dynamic way. We live in a technology-driven, fast-paced world. In recent years, hearing aid manufacturers have sought to meet the demands of more active, tech-savvy patients, both young and old, to allow hearing aids to connect to a variety of mobile devices, including cell phones using Bluetooth connectivity. Other connectivity options include connections to televisions, MP3 players, and tablet devices. This post will focus on how hearing aids interface with cell phones, including iPhone and android products. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2016, 77% of Americans own a smartphone. Ownership in people 50 years of age and older has increased significantly in recent years, with nearly 74% of people ages 50-64 owing a smartphone device. Smartphone use has become the new trend in communication. For several years, hearing aids have been able to communicate with cell phones via Bluetooth connectivity using an intermediary device. While some hearing aids still require such a device, like a streamer, to allow communication between a mobile device and hearing aids, some manufacturers have introduced direct-to-iPhone streaming which allow patients to stream input from their phones directly to the hearing aids. You can stream music, audio, podcasts, and hands-free phone calls directly from your iPhone to your hearing aids. Currently, android phones still require an intermediary device to stream audio signals to the hearing aids. However, they can be used as a remote control independently to change volume and programs. In addition, many hearing aid manufacturers offer a free app which allows their patients to change hearing aid volume, programs, and microphone orientation on their cell phone. Other features offered may include “find my hearing aid” which shows the last place the hearing aids were connected in case the aids are lost, information about hearing aid care and maintenance and troubleshooting, and geo-tagging. Geo-tagging, using GPS technology, allows patient to personalize their hearing aids for a particular location. If a patient frequents the same noisy restaurant every Friday evening and likes his/her aids set a certain way, he/she can “geo-tag” that location so that the aids will automatically switch to that setting anytime the patient enters that location. These features allow the hearing aids to function more like advanced “hearing systems” rather than stand-alone devices creating a more personalized, customizable hearing experience. Continued advancements help to de-stigmatize hearing aids and improve communication and quality of life for its patients. Hearing aid technology has come a long way and will continue to improve to meet the demands of this fast-paced, every-changing world.