Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is a lot more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be challenging to hear what the person on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are some tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more from your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss normally develops gradually. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will try to use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual info disappears. Your Brain lacks the information it requires to fill in the blanks. 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 improved by wearing hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using 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 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? the majority of hearing specialists will suggest a few tips:

  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: This will counter the most severe feedback. Your phone calls might not be very private, but even though there still might be a little 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 apart is by using speakerphone.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the individual you’re speaking with: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulties! You may just need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to think about using text, email, or video chat.
  • 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 during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).
  • Use video apps: You might 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 fantastic visual information again. And once more, this type of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your cellphone via Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. This can prevent feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.

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

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