Top Tips for Using a 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. As a matter of fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple remedy for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely that way. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to handle, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are some tips 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 immediate. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. 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 use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual data is gone. Your Brain lacks the info it needs to fill in the blanks. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

Hearing aids can help with this. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are some unique accessibility and communication difficulties that occur from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For instance, placing your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can cause some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can lead to some awkward gaps in conversation because you can’t hear very well.

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Well, there are a number of tips that the majority of hearing specialists will suggest:

  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as possible: Most feedback can be prevented this way. Your phone conversations may not be particularly private, but even though there still may be some distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is critical, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • 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 during a phone conversation (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).
  • Be truthful with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many people will be fine switching the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by lowering background noise.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). This can get rid of 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.
  • Make use of video apps: Face-timing someone or hopping 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 once more, this type of contextual information will be considerably helpful.

Depending on your overall hearing needs, how frequently 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 correct approach.

Call us for some help and advice on how to best utilize 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.