Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the mobile phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be especially difficult.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple remedy for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a great deal easier to handle, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

Why phone calls and hearing aids don’t always play nice

Hearing loss usually isn’t immediate. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces at a time. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual hints. Your Brain lacks the information it needs to fill in the blanks. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

This can be helped by using hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

For example, putting your hearing aids near a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to manage the difficulties of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? the majority of hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as you can: This will prevent the most serious feedback. Your phone calls might not be particularly private, but even though there still may be some distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Use video apps: Face-timing somebody or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that fantastic visual information again. And again, this type of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Wait, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! You may just need to be a little more patient, or you might want to consider switching to text, email, or video chat.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet spot. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the individual you’re on the phone with. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can get: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.

Depending on your overall hearing needs, how frequently you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be available. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

Call us for some help and guidance on how to best utilize your phone and hearing aids at the same time.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.


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