Top Tips for Using a Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become a lot clearer and more dependable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Well, that’s not… exactly… the way it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are certainly a few 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 normally progresses gradually. It isn’t like someone simply turns down the general volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. This can make it difficult 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 talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual hints. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

This can be helped by wearing hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can introduce some accessibility issues.

For instance, putting your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can cause some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can result in some awkward gaps in conversation because you can’t hear that well.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So, what can you do to control the obstacles of using a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that most hearing specialists will suggest:

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by decreasing background noise.
  • Try using speakerphone to conduct most of your phone calls: Most feedback can be prevented 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 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!
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re speaking with: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many individuals will be fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means you’ll be capable of streaming 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 good place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Use video apps: Face-timing someone or hopping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It isn’t that the sound quality is somehow 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.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use the phone for, how often you’re on the phone, and what your overall communication needs are like. With the correct approach, you’ll have the resources you need to begin 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.