Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more reliable nowadays. But sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. 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 clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly like that. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

Phone calls and hearing aids don’t always work effectively together – here’s why

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. It tends 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 use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual info is gone. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids will help with this. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are a few unique accessibility and communication difficulties that happen from wearing 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 enhance the phone call experience

So, what can you do to address the difficulties of using a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many people will be just fine transferring the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply 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 noise. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by reducing background noise.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as possible: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There may still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And this can help you put context to what’s being said.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can get rid of feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to begin if you’re having trouble on your phone.

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 available. 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, give us a call, 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.