Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be challenging to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be especially challenging.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a lot easier to handle, there are some difficulties related to phone-based conversations. But there are a few tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces over 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.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual hints. Your Brain lacks the information it needs to fill in the blanks. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be helped by using hearing aids. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But there are a few distinctive accessibility and communication difficulties that occur from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For instance, placing your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So, what can you do to overcome the challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that most hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the person you’re talking to: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many individuals will be just fine moving the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can prevent 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.
  • Try using speakerphone to carry out the majority of your phone calls: 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). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the individual you’re speaking with. If you limit background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Make use of video apps: You may 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 will have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being talked about.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better when you’re having a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use the phone for, how frequently you’re on the phone, and what your general communication requirements are like. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

If you need more guidance on how to utilize 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.