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I have made-for-iphone hearing aids, which are great for delivering good quality speech sound over bluetooth direct to my hearing aids. They are Starkey Kinnect, which connect easily to iOS devices but have no connectivity to a computer - they do not pair with the Bluetooth on the MacBook (2014 version). With the current need for Zoom, Google Meets etc connectivity, I am often in video meetings for which I need to use my MacBook for the size of screen. The sound is preferably directed through earphones, but they do not give clear speech for me without the hearing aids and are awkward and clumsy to use over the HAs.

Starkey TruLink has an option to use the iPhone as a microphone and send this across the room (say) to my HAs. I wonder whether the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the MacBook, set as output, can plug directly in to the Lightning port on the iPhone (via what adaptor?) to use the audio stream from the computer as an external microphone for the iPhone, which can then connect to the HAs? Are the voltages and impedances compatible?

Or does anyone know of a gadget that will do this mimicry of an external mike?

I am aware of the Airfoil utility that is claimed to do this, but not sure if the iPhone will recognise this as a "microphone", and also I have seen reviews that state that the latency is about 2s so it is unsuitable for real time use.

Thanks!

Keith

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  • Are you trying to use your MacBook's speakers to stream the audio around the MacBook to your hearing aids? Or are you trying to stream your MacBook's sound output (from apps like Zoom or watching YouTube on safari or whatever)?
    – At0mic
    Jun 5 '20 at 16:35
  • The second. I'd like to get the sound from Zoom direct into my HAs, rather than have to wear headphones over them. So I need (a low latency) connection between the audio output and the Lightning iPhone input (iPhone 6 at present).
    – KeithB
    Jun 5 '20 at 17:00
  • you should be able to stream audio output from your phone to your HAs, correct? I wonder if you could use a Remote Desktop/VNC app to connect to your MBP on your phone, I'm not sure if that transfers audio as well. Not sure about the latency either.
    – At0mic
    Jun 5 '20 at 18:09
  • Yes that is what I want to do. I don't really understand what you are suggesting, but it looks similar to what Airfoil does, and reviews say the latency is about 2 s, much too long for real time. Or have I misunderstood?
    – KeithB
    Jun 5 '20 at 22:36
  • latency for my VNC Viewer app is much lower than 2s. It doesn't support audio, though.
    – At0mic
    Jun 5 '20 at 23:36
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I have ReSound made-for-iPhone HAs. ReSound sell a device called a "multi mic" and also a "mini mic" which is a remote microphone which will transmit direct to the HAs. It also has a 3.5mm jack so can be plugged into a computer (or TV) and the computer sound is sent straight to my HAs. Speaker is cut off. I keep a dedicated multi mic permanently connected to my computer. To hear computer sound streamed to my HAs I just have to change to the correct streaming source on my phone. Works brilliantly and has had a lot of extra use with Zoom meetings. I would be amazed if Starkey don't make a similar device. I would add that the multi mic is extremely useful in many other situations.

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I'm no expert but I did play around with bluetooth/mics/headphones and my experience would suggest you probably won't be able to do it. Your "made for apple" hearing aids have bluetooth 5.0 I think. Likewise the latest airpods and the powerbeats pro. Even the powerbeats high-performance which Apple currently sell don't work as a Listen Live device they say. Certainly my experience with a 2017 Macbook and Audacity was that the latency (possibly 1 sec rather than 2 sec) was totally unacceptable - just confuses everything! The Macbook was Bluetooth 4.2 and I think that's where the problem lies. Likewise my experimenting with an iPhone SE with Bluetooth 4.2.

Bluetooth 5 is double the speed of Bluetooth 4.2 and I think if you don't have that at every single stage in the chain you'll get unacceptable latency.

Sorry for the gloomy answer!

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  • Thanks for the useful info on Bluetooth. But the only Bluetooth in the proposed link will be from the iPhone, and that works fine (it may be the faster one). The connection to the phone is entirely wired, headphone out socket to iPhone Thunderbolt socket. But I don't want to risk any damage either end so I wanted to know if the levels are compatible?
    – KeithB
    Jun 5 '20 at 9:06
  • The headphone out socket on the computer would be about line level whereas the lightning port on the iPhone would expect a much lower level if it thought a mic was attached. I think all mics made to attach to an iOS device are powered by the lightning port itself. Seems a bit obvious - but can't you pair your HA's with the computer itself rather than the phone? Then just select them as the output destination in sound preferences. Jun 6 '20 at 17:23
  • No, that's the whole point, the made-for-iphone HAs can only be paired with an iOS device not with regular Bluetooth. This seems true of all brands. I've discovered that the Lightning connectors on the Apple Lightning to 3.5mm (female) adaptor contain a miniature DAC to convert output to analog. So they won't act as input to the phone. But the Apple 1.2 m cable for Lightning to 3.5 mm (male) is claimed to be bidirectional so should have an ADC as well. Got one on order, waiting to see if it works.
    – KeithB
    Jun 6 '20 at 22:09

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