Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the mobile phone network is much more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be difficult to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be especially challenging.

There must be an easy solution for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss normally advances slowly. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the general volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. This can make it hard to even notice 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 data disappears. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can be helpful

Hearing aids can help with this. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can introduce some accessibility problems.

For example, placing your hearing aids near a phone speaker can create some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear that well.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to overcome the difficulties of using a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are a few tips that most hearing specialists will endorse:

  • Find a quiet location to carry out your phone calls. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by reducing background noise.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as you can: Most feedback can be prevented this way. Your phone calls may not be particularly private, but even though there still may be some 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 achieve this!
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing someone or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. 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 once more, this type of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many people will be just fine transferring the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Hold on, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can prevent feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • 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 numerous text-to-type services).

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 accessible. With the right approach, you’ll have the resources you require to begin enjoying those phone conversations once again.

If you need more advice on how to use hearing aids with your phone, call us, 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.