Up until recently, the intricate electronics of mobile phones often interacted badly with the electronics of hearing aids, causing interference between the two devices that was perceived as static, screeching or whistling noises, or missing words. New government regulations, along with considerable improvements in both phone and hearing aid technology, have made this incompatibility uncommon. The regulations mandated new labeling requirements and ratings that help you to find a mobile phone that works well with your hearing aid.

Understanding the rating system requires a bit of knowledge about the modes that hearing aids can operate in. There is an M mode (which stands for microphone) and a T mode (which stands for telecoil). In M mode, the hearing aid uses the internal microphone to detect sounds and amplify them. In T mode, the hearing aid uses telecoil technology instead. The hearing aid is able to pick up the electromagnetic signals from inside the phone directly. The T mode is important when shopping for a phone, because at least 60% of hearing aids sold in the US have one.

Under the new regulations, these two modes of operation have ratings that range from 1 (the lowest sensitivity) to 4 (the highest sensitivity). No mobile phone or cordless handset sold in the United States can be sold as hearing aid compatible (HAC) unless it has a rating of at least M3 or T3.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants have a similar M and T rating system to certify how sensitive they are in each mode, and how resistant they are to radio frequency interference. If you know the M and T ratings for your hearing aid, to determine its compatibility with any mobile phone, just add the two sets of ratings together. A combined rating of 6 or more is considered excellent, a hearing aid/phone combination that would provide highly usable, interference-free performance. A combined rating of 5 is thought of as normal, and suitable for most people. A combined rating of 4 is considered usable for brief calls, but may not be suitable for extended phone use.

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. In the end, nothing beats a real world test so you may want to wear your hearing aid to the cell phone shop and test out a few different phone in real conditions.

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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