Hearing aids have not previously always worked well with mobile phones, because of electronic interference between the 2 devices that caused static, whizzing or screeching noises, or dropped words. New government regulations, together with considerable advances in both cell phone and hearing aid technology, have made this incompatibility rare. To help consumers shop for the right hearing aid compatible mobile phone, the new regulations include a standard rating system and labeling requirement.

To understand how this rating system works, you should first understand the two modes that hearing aids work in – M mode (for microphone) and T mode (for telecoil). In M mode, your hearing aid uses its built-in microphone to pick up audible sounds from the environment and amplify them so that you can hear them. When the hearing aid is in T mode, instead of the microphone it uses its built-in telecoil to directly pick up conversations from inside the phone, in the form of electromagnetic signals. Roughly 60 percent of all cell phones sold in the US have a telecoil (T) mode.

Under the new regulations, these two modes of operation have ratings that range from 1 (the lowest sensitivity) to 4 (the highest sensitivity). To be labeled as hearing aid compatible (HAC) a cell phone must carry a minimum rating of M3 or T3.

Hearing aids themselves also carry M and T ratings to indicate their sensitivity and ability to block interference in each mode. When shopping for a phone, to determine its compatibility with your hearing aid, simply add its M and T ratings together with those of the phone to create a combined rating. A combined rating of 6 or more is considered excellent, a hearing aid/phone combination that would provide highly usable, interference-free performance. A sum of 5 is considered normal and should work fine for typical mobile phone users. If the combined rating is 4, this is thought of as acceptable but not very usable if you make a lot of extended phone calls.

If you are shopping for a mobile phone online, you can usually use this combined rating to determine how compatible the phone you are interested in buying will be with your hearing aid. A better approach, of course, would be to go to a store that allows you to “try before you buy,” and actually use the phone you want while wearing your hearing aid, in both M and T modes.

We accept all major insurance, VA Vouchers, and workers compensation cases.
We also accept all Avesis products for hearing services which include Molina Medicare Advantage - Health 2017 and Care N' Care Hearing 2017. We also accept all donations of used hearing aids!
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