Top Tips for Using a Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is a lot more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be especially difficult.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple remedy for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit clearer? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. In reality, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to manage, there are some difficulties associated with phone-based conversations. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t sudden. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. You tend 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 really hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. Your Brain doesn’t have the info it needs to fill in the blanks. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

This can be improved by using hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can introduce some accessibility problems.

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

Tips to augment 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 few tips that most hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Find a quiet place to carry out your phone calls. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by lowering background noise.
  • Make use of video apps: 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 again, this kind of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Hold on, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many people will be fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: 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).
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. There may still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.

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 overall communication requirements are like. With the right approach, you’ll have the tools you need to begin enjoying those phone conversations again.

Call us for some help and guidance on how to best use your phone and hearing aids at the same time.

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.