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 reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be difficult to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be especially difficult.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple solution for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely that way. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. 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 typically isn’t sudden. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. 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 context clues and other visual information.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual info is gone. Your Brain lacks the information it requires to fill in the blanks. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be helped by using 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 present some accessibility problems.

For example, putting your hearing aids near a phone speaker can create some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Utilize video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. 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 once more, this kind of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: 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 possible: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. 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. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Be honest with the person you’re talking to on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many people will be fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone conversations. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the person you’re on the phone with. If you limit background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how frequently 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 right approach.

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.