Top Tips for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is much more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly difficult.

There must be an easy solution for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. In reality, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations a lot easier to manage, there are some difficulties related to phone-based conversations. 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 play nice

Hearing loss usually advances gradually. It isn’t like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go a little 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 info disappears. Your Brain lacks the info it needs to fill in the blanks. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by using hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But there are some unique accessibility and communication challenges that arise 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 hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So what steps 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 advocate:

  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. Your phone calls may not be particularly private, but even though there still might be some distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is critical, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.
  • Make use of video apps: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It isn’t that the sound quality is magically 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.
  • 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. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by reducing background noise.
  • Be truthful with the person you’re talking to on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many people will be just fine transferring the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).

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. With the correct approach, you’ll have the tools you need to start enjoying those phone conversations again.

If you need more advice 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.

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