Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple solution for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations better? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are some guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss normally progresses gradually. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. You tend to lose bits and pieces over time. It’s likely that you won’t even notice you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual hints. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a very muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by using hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in a lot of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can introduce some accessibility issues.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to manage the obstacles of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that most hearing specialists will endorse:

  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing someone or jumping 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 use of all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you put context to what’s being talked about.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: Most feedback can be prevented this way. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a good place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Find a quiet setting to carry out your phone conversations. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by decreasing background noise.

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 again 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, call us, we can help.

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