Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. 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? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to handle, there are some difficulties related to phone-based conversations. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

Phone calls and hearing aids don’t always work effectively together – here’s why

Hearing loss generally isn’t sudden. It isn’t like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It tends to go in bits and pieces. This can make it difficult to even notice when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data disappears. Your Brain doesn’t have the information it requires to fill in the blanks. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can introduce some accessibility problems.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come near a phone, for instance. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So, what can you do to address the obstacles of using a phone with hearing aids? the majority of hearing specialists will recommend a few tips:

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re on the phone with. If you lessen background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Download a video call app: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And again, this type of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Try utilizing speakerphone to conduct the majority of your phone conversations: Most feedback can be averted this way. There might still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). 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!
  • Be honest with the individual you’re speaking with on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many people will be just fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • 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 when you’re having a phone conversation (and this includes many text-to-type services).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Hold on, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.

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 correct approach.

If you need more guidance on how to use hearing aids with your phone, call us, we can help.

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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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