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 reliable nowadays. But sometimes, it will still be challenging to hear what the person on the other end is saying. As a matter of fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly like that. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. 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 normally develops gradually. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. It’s likely that you won’t even notice you have hearing loss and your brain will try to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual info is gone. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

Hearing aids will help with this. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can introduce some accessibility problems.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can result in some awkward gaps in conversation because you can’t hear very well.

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So, what can you do to address the difficulties of using a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are a number of tips that the majority of hearing specialists will endorse:

  • Find a quiet setting to conduct your phone conversations. 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 effective by reducing background noise.
  • 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 capable, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. This can get rid of feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Try using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone calls: This will counter the most serious feedback. There may still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by using speakerphone.
  • Be truthful with the individual you’re talking to on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many people will be fine switching the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • 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).
  • 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 again, this type of contextual information will be greatly helpful.

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 right approach, you’ll have the resources you require to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best use your phone and hearing aids together.

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.