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 reliable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly challenging.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Well, that isn’t… exactly… the way it works. In reality, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to manage, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are certainly a few things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

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

Hearing loss typically isn’t sudden. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. You tend to lose bits and pieces at a time. This can make it hard 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.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual hints. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

Hearing aids can help with this. 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 issues.

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come close to a phone, for instance. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear very well.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So what steps 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:

  • Use video apps: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And this can help you put context to what’s being talked about.
  • Find a quiet spot to conduct your phone calls. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better when you’re having a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed directly to your phone. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Try utilizing speakerphone to carry out most of your phone conversations: This will protect against the most serious feedback. Your phone conversations might not be particularly private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the individual you’re speaking with: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many people will be fine transferring the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).

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. With the correct approach, you’ll have the tools you require to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

Contact us for some help and guidance 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.