Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

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

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations a lot easier to handle, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. But there are certainly a few things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

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

Hearing loss typically develops slowly. Your hearing typically 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 utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual data disappears. There’s no extra information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

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 talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can present some accessibility issues.

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

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? the majority of hearing specialists will endorse several tips:

  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including numerous text-to-type services).
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by reducing background noise.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re speaking with: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulty! You might simply need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to think about using text, email, or video chat.
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Download a video call app: You may have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It isn’t that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.

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

Call us for some help and advice on how to best utilize your phone and hearing aids together.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.

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