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 much more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are some guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t sudden. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. It tends to go a little at a time. This can make it difficult to even notice when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual hints. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

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

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

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

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It isn’t that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that fantastic visual information again. And this can help you put context to what’s being talked about.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone via Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Consider using speakerphone to carry out the majority of your phone calls: This will prevent the most serious feedback. Your phone conversations may not be very private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by switching to speakerphone.
  • 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 when you’re having a phone conversation (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).
  • Be sincere with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s fine to admit that! You might simply need to be a little more patient, or you may want to consider using text, email, or video chat.

Finding the right set of solutions will depend on what you use your phone for, how often you’re on the phone, and what your overall communication requirements are like. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best use your phone and hearing aids together.

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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