Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become a lot clearer and more reliable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be particularly difficult.

There must be an easy fix for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are some guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss typically isn’t immediate. It’s not like someone simply turns down the general volume on your ears. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces at a time. This can make it hard to even detect when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

Hearing aids will help with this. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are some unique accessibility and communication troubles that occur from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come close to a phone, for example. This can lead to some awkward gaps in conversation because you can’t hear that well.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including numerous text-to-type services).
  • Consider using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone calls: Most feedback can be avoided this way. Your phone conversations may not be very private, but even though there still may be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by using speakerphone.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your cellphone via Bluetooth! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many individuals will be just fine switching the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet spot. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re on the phone with. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by lowering background noise.
  • Make use of video apps: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It’s not 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 put context to what’s being said.

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

Contact us for some help and advice on how to best utilize 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.