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Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those with hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit clearer? Well, that’s not… exactly… the way it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are a few tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more out of your next conversation.

Phone calls and hearing aids don’t always work effectively together – here’s why

Hearing loss typically 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 notice you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual info is gone. Your Brain lacks the information it requires to fill in the blanks. There’s only a really distorted voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

Hearing aids can help with this. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are a few distinctive accessibility and communication troubles that occur from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids near a phone speaker can create 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 address the challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will recommend several tips:

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as you can: This will counter the most severe feedback. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! You may just need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to think about using text, email, or video chat.
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed directly to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being talked about.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be available. With the correct approach, you’ll have the tools you need to begin enjoying those phone conversations again.

If you need more guidance on how to use hearing aids with your phone, call us, we can help.

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.