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. In fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss usually progresses slowly. It isn’t like someone simply 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 try to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. Your Brain doesn’t have the information it needs to fill in the blanks. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

Hearing aids will 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 introduce some accessibility issues.

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

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? Well, there are a number of tips that the majority of hearing specialists will advocate:

  • Make use of video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. 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 again, this kind of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as you can: This will prevent the most severe feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by using speakerphone.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine switching the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by lowering background noise.
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your smartphone via Bluetooth! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).

Depending on your overall 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 right approach, you’ll have the resources you need to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best use 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.