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 lot more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly challenging.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations a great deal easier to manage, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

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

Hearing loss usually isn’t sudden. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. This can make it hard to even detect when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual clues. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

This can be helped by using hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But there are a few distinctive accessibility and communication difficulties that happen from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So, what can you do to manage the challenges of using a phone with hearing aids? the majority of hearing specialists will suggest a few tips:

  • Find a quiet setting to carry out your phone calls. It will be a lot 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.
  • 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 (and this includes many text-to-type services).
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as you can: This will protect against the most serious feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the person you’re talking to: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! You might just need to be a little more patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • Download a video call app: 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 amazing visual information again. And again, this type of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect 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 enabled). This can prevent feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.

Finding the best 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 more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

If you need more advice on how to utilize 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.