Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But in some cases, it will still be difficult to hear what the person on the other end is saying. As a matter of fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those with hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Well, that isn’t… exactly… the way it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more challenging. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

Why phone calls and hearing aids don’t always get along

Hearing loss typically develops gradually. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. You tend to lose bits and pieces at a time. This can make it difficult to even notice when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual clues. Your Brain doesn’t have the info 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 be helpful – here’s how

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

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

Tips to improve the phone call experience

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

  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as you can: Most feedback can be averted this way. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). 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: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you’ll have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being talked about.
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the person you’re speaking with: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulty! You may simply need to be a little more patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you limit background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be accessible. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

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