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 sometimes, it will still be challenging to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one population for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be a simple solution for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. In reality, 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 some guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss normally progresses gradually. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It tends to go a little at a time. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual info disappears. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be helped by using hearing aids. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are a few distinctive accessibility and communication challenges that occur from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

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 really well.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So what measures 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 suggest:

  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s okay to admit that! You might simply need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.
  • Try utilizing speakerphone to conduct most of your phone calls: This will counter 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. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. It will be much 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 work so much better.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Hold on, 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 trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Download a video call app: You may have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that fantastic visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.

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. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

Call us for some help and guidance on how to best utilize your phone and hearing aids together.

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.