Smartphones – many of us have them, and everyone is familiar with them. While they have been part of our communication world for a number of years, they are rapidly becoming part of the new wave of consumer-driven healthcare. Smartphones as personal diagnostic tools have been identified as one of the many trends in the healthcare landscape.

It wasn’t too long ago that Smartphones were first introduced. Not everyone immediately adopted the idea of Smartphones because they were expensive and, some people felt, complicated. But now, Smartphones are common. When most people think about Smartphones, they think about texting, listening to music, checking out fun new apps, playing games, surfing the net, and of course, making phone calls. But these little wonders can do much more, especially when it comes to a person’s health. There are apps to track exercise and food intake, find doctors and dentists and many other obvious applications for healthcare consumerism on the go.

While people are getting used to the idea of using their Smartphones to set up doctors appointments or review laboratory results, most people don’t think about Smartphones as an integral part of managing their hearing health. This misconception is changing. In 2013, Sound World Solutions introduced a personal sound amplifier (PSAP) that functions as a Bluetooth device when paired with the user’s Smartphone. This in itself was an exciting advance, but what was even more revolutionary was the ability for users to download the free Customizer app to program and adjust their personal sound amplifier themselves – without having to schedule a visit with an audiologist. In 2015, Sound World Solutions expanded the offering by introducing an affordable hearing aid with the same feature set.

As soon as the phone is connected to a Sound World Solutions device, such as the companion hearing aid, and the Customizer app is launched, the user has the option to choose one of three preset programs or to personalize the unit to fit their specific hearing loss needs. Once the initial program has been set, the user can make additional changes on the fly to improve the effectiveness of the hearing aid based on his or her current location. Real-time changes are made to reflect the surrounding environment and improve the user’s understanding and enjoyment.

Along with consumers, healthcare companies are also becoming more technologically savvy. Sound World Solutions originally introduced the Customizer app for Android phones, but today, the app is also available for iPhones. Of course, if a patient is still not comfortable with a Smartphone, the Customizer app is available from the Sound World Solutions website for use with a desktop computer, as long as the computer has Bluetooth capability. If not, a Bluetooth USB adapter can be purchased at any office supply store for around $20.

Smartphones and Smartphone apps allow patients to take control of their own healthcare and are important tools to enable patients to proactively manage their wellness instead of just reacting when illness occurs.

Shawn Stahmer has been the VP of Business Development at Sound World Solutions since 2012. He is responsible for marketing and business development and he has a passion for sharing Sound World Solutions’ mission to create and deliver high quality, affordable hearing devices that allow people to rediscover the power of connection, no matter what their geographic location or economic circumstance happens to be.