Top Tips for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be challenging to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those with hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy solution for that, right? Why not utilize a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

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

Hearing loss usually progresses slowly. It isn’t like somebody just turns down the general volume on your ears. You tend to lose bits and pieces over time. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will try to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data disappears. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

Hearing aids can help with this. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Hold on, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • 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. If you minimize background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. Your phone calls might not be very private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is critical, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: It’s okay 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.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being talked about.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can get: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).

Depending on your overall hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be available. With the correct approach, you’ll have the resources you require to start 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. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.