As increasing numbers of people have come to view hearing instruments as a technology extension to the smartphone, their coolness factor has risen commensurately.  No longer regarded as simply a means of improving hearing, hearing instruments with Bluetooth connectivity have attained new status as communication and information-gathering devices.  The latest Bluetooth hearing instruments can answer a phone call with the press of a button on the hearing aid.  They have built-in microphones that feature automatic voice pickup, allowing people to have two-way conversations through their hearing instruments.