Top Tips for Using a Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the mobile phone network is a lot more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be challenging to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be especially challenging.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple remedy 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. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to handle, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

Why phone calls and hearing aids don’t always play nice

Hearing loss usually progresses slowly. It’s not like somebody just turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. It’s likely that you won’t even detect 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 info disappears. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are some unique accessibility and communication difficulties that occur from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can cause some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can lead to some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear really well.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Try utilizing speakerphone to conduct most of your phone calls: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There may still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many people will be fine transferring the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Hold on, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can prevent feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Use video apps: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And once more, this kind of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including numerous text-to-type services).

Depending on your general hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be accessible. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

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

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.