Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become a lot clearer and more dependable nowadays. But sometimes, it will still be difficult to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. As a matter of 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 solution 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 that way. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a great deal easier to handle, there are some difficulties associated with phone-based conversations. But there are certainly some things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

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

Hearing loss typically advances slowly. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. You tend to lose bits and pieces over 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.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data disappears. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. 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 wearing hearing aids. Lots 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 instance, placing your hearing aids next to a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear that well.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will recommend several tips:

  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There might still be some 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 person you’re on the phone with. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by reducing background noise.
  • Utilize video apps: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or clearer, but at least you will have that visual information back. And again, this kind of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Be truthful with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! You might just need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start getting rid of feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use your phone for, how often you’re on the phone, and what your general communication requirements are like. With the correct approach, you’ll have the resources you require to begin enjoying those phone conversations again.

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.