Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But sometimes, 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 with hearing loss.

There must be a simple solution for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Well, that’s not… exactly… the way it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more challenging. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

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

Hearing loss normally progresses slowly. It isn’t like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will try to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

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 really muffled voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by using hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But there are some unique accessibility and communication difficulties that arise from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can lead to some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear very well.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

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

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the individual you’re on the phone with. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by lowering background noise.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s fine to admit that! You may just need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to think about using text, email, or video chat.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: Most feedback can be avoided this way. Your phone calls may not be particularly private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). This can prevent feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Make use of video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that amazing visual information again. And this can help you put context to what’s being said.

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. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

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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