Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is much more dependable (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 challenging.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. In reality, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a lot easier to manage, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

Why hearing aids and phone calls don’t always get along

Hearing loss normally progresses gradually. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. 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 contextual clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. 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.

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 there are some distinctive accessibility and communication difficulties that arise from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For instance, putting your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can create some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will recommend several tips:

  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. Your phone conversations may 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. Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone calls. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the individual you’re on the phone with. If you minimize background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Be honest with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! You may just need to be a little more patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • Utilize video apps: You might have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It’s not 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 kind of contextual information will be substantially helpful.

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 available. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

If you need more guidance 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.