Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those with hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Well, that isn’t… exactly… the way it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are some tips 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 normally progresses slowly. It isn’t like someone just turns down the overall volume on your ears. You tend 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 try to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual hints. Your Brain lacks the info it requires to fill in the blanks. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are some unique accessibility and communication challenges that happen from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids next to 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 manage the obstacles of using a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are a number of tips that most hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Find a quiet location to carry out your phone calls. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by reducing background noise.
  • Consider utilizing speakerphone to carry out most of your phone conversations: Most feedback can be averted this way. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.
  • Download a video call app: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you put context to what’s being talked about.
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to begin eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the person you’re talking to: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulty! You might just need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.

Depending on your overall hearing needs, how often 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.

If you need more advice on how to use hearing aids with your phone, give us a call, 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.

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