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 a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be especially challenging.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? 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 difficulties associated with phone-based conversations. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

Why phone calls and hearing aids don’t always play nice

Hearing loss normally develops slowly. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. This can make it hard to even notice when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data is gone. Your Brain lacks the information it needs to fill in the blanks. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

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

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

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So, what can you do to address the obstacles of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will recommend several tips:

  • Be truthful with the individual you’re speaking with on the phone: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as you can: This will prevent the most serious feedback. Your phone conversations might not be particularly private, but even though there still may be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand 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.
  • 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’s not that the sound quality is somehow 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 said.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can get: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better when you’re having a phone conversation (and this includes many text-to-type services).
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! 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 little more private, so it’s a practical place to begin if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone conversations. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.

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 accessible. With the right approach, you’ll have the resources you need to start enjoying those phone conversations again.

Contact us for some help and advice 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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