Top Tips for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. As a matter of fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be an easy solution for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations better? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. In reality, while hearing aids can make in person conversations much easier to handle, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are certainly some things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss typically progresses slowly. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces over time. This can make it difficult to even detect when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

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 very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

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

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to overcome the challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will endorse several tips:

  • Try using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone calls: This will counter the most severe feedback. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Download a video call app: You might have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you’ll have that visual information back. And again, this kind of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a practical place to begin if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Be sincere with the person you’re talking to on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having trouble! Many people will be fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can get: 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).
  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone calls. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the individual you’re speaking with. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.

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

If you need more advice 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.

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