Apple has applied to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a patent on detecting and integrating portable electronic devices and hearing aids. The application, filed August 2, 2011 and published today, describes a process in which a phone can automatically switch between standard and hearing aid compatible (HAC) modes.
As the patent describes, typical hearing aids operate in microphone mode or telecoil mode. Microphone mode is what is commonly associated with hearing aids; a microphone on the hearing aid picks up sound waves and converts them into an electrical audio signal. Telecoil (T-coil) mode detects a local magnetic field that has been modulated by the speaker of a compatible telephone handset.
These two modes have worked well for many individuals with hearing impairments, but the standard microphone mode does not work well with most mobile phones due to issues of ambient noise and many mobile phones lack of support…
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