Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become a lot clearer and more reliable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a reliable experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be an easy solution for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more challenging. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more from your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. It’s not like someone just turns down the overall volume on your ears. You tend to lose bits and pieces over time. It’s likely that you won’t even notice you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual data is gone. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

Hearing aids can help with this. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are some unique accessibility and communication difficulties that happen from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear really well.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will endorse:

  • 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 background sound. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by decreasing background noise.
  • Utilize video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or clearer, but at least you will have that visual information back. And once more, this type of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as possible: This will protect against the most severe feedback. Your phone conversations may not be particularly private, but even though there still may be some distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Be sincere with the person you’re talking to on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! You might simply need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to think about using text, email, or video chat.

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use your phone for, how frequently you’re on the phone, and what your general communication needs are like. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

Contact us for some help and advice on how to best utilize your phone and hearing aids together.

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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.
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