Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is much more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a reliable experience: those with hearing loss.

There must be an easy fix for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are certainly a few things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t sudden. It’s not like someone simply turns down the general volume on your ears. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces over time. This can make it hard to even notice when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be helped by wearing hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are some distinctive accessibility and communication troubles that happen from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids near a phone speaker can create some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to enhance 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 few tips that most hearing specialists will suggest:

  • 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 (including many text-to-type services).
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to begin eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Consider using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone conversations: Most feedback can be averted this way. There may still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Find a quiet place to carry out your phone calls. It will be much 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 perform so much better.
  • Be truthful with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulties! You may just need to be a little more patient, or you may want to think about switching to text, email, or video chat.
  • Utilize video apps: Face-timing someone or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or clearer, but at least you will have that visual information back. And again, this type of contextual information will be greatly helpful.

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 available. With the right approach, you’ll have the tools you need to begin enjoying those phone conversations again.

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

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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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