Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly difficult.

There must be an easy fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are certainly some things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

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

Hearing loss typically develops gradually. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. It’s likely that you won’t even notice 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 info disappears. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

This can be helped by using hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in a lot of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

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

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So, what can you do to manage the challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: 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).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start getting rid of feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Consider using speakerphone to conduct the majority of your phone conversations: This will prevent the most severe feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • Utilize video apps: Face-timing someone or hopping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It isn’t 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 said.
  • Find a quiet setting to carry out your phone calls. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by decreasing background noise.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the person you’re speaking with: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! You may just need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to consider 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 overall communication requirements are like. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

Call us for some help and advice 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. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.