Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone network is much more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be challenging to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. 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 utilize a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to manage, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more from your next conversation.

Why phone calls and hearing aids don’t always play nice

Hearing loss normally develops gradually. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. It tends to go in bits and pieces. This can make it difficult to even detect when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries really 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 is gone. 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 help

Hearing aids can help with this. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But there are some distinctive accessibility and communication difficulties that arise from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids next to a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things hard to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

So, what can you do to control the challenges of using a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will advocate:

  • Make use of 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 numerous text-to-type services).
  • Use video apps: Face-timing someone or jumping 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’ll have that visual information back. And this can help you put context to what’s being said.
  • 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 capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). This can get rid of feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet spot. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you limit background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Try utilizing speakerphone to carry out the majority of your phone conversations: This will prevent the most severe feedback. Your phone calls might not be very private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is critical, and speakerphone is how you achieve this!
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! You might just need to be a little more patient, or you may want to consider switching to text, email, or video chat.

Depending on your general 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 again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

If you need more advice on how to utilize hearing aids with your phone, call us, we can help.

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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.