If you’re reading this from a crowded waiting room, desperately wishing you could hear the muted TV most likely playing your local daytime soap opera, fear not. The Tunity app lets you scan any muted TV and stream the audio directly through your phone. While this is certainly convenient for loud sports bars and muted gym TVs, the app’s new update partners with Starkey Hearing Technologies to connect those who are hearing impaired.
Starkey’s Halo 2 wireless Made for iPhone hearing aids (of no relation to the first-person shooter game of the same name, unfortunately) allow users to link hearing aids directly to smartphone functions such as music streaming, phone calls, audio access to emails and social notifications and GPS geotagging.
Halo 2 connects wirelessly to Apple and Android phones and can access Tunity using Bluetooth technology. Previously, embedding Bluetooth chips directly into hearing aids was impossible due to power constraints. But with apps like Tunity, those with hearing impairments can selectively adjust volume and other specific hearing modulations through an app on their phone, without pairing directly to a TV.
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One potential setback: Tunity doesn’t work on just any channel. Users can only scan a TV if the app supports that particular channel. Tunity currently supports 100 live TV channels — this means no direct Halo 2 scanning access for pre-recorded shows, paid subscription channels or streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or HBO.
While you can't yet binge watch Game of Thrones through Tunity’s scanner, the ability to tune in to and adjust live streams anywhere seems like a big plus for hearing-impaired users — especially those stuck in waiting rooms.