Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). 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 utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly like that. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to handle, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are some tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more from your next conversation.

Why hearing aids and phone calls don’t always play nice

Hearing loss typically isn’t immediate. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the general volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. This can make it difficult to even detect when you have hearing loss, particularly 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. Your Brain lacks the info it needs to fill in the blanks. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

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

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

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will suggest:

  • Try using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone calls: This will protect against the most severe feedback. Your phone calls might not be particularly private, but even though there still might be some distortion, you should be able to better make out 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 utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the individual you’re speaking with: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulties! You might just need to be a little more patient, or you may want to consider switching to text, email, or video chat.
  • Make use of video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It isn’t that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.
  • 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 decreasing background noise.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).

Depending on your general hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be accessible. With the correct approach, you’ll have the tools you need to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

If you need more advice on how to use 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.