Top Tips for Using a Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is a lot 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 with hearing loss.

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

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

Hearing loss usually develops gradually. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. This can make it hard to even notice when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

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 make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids can help with this. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can introduce some accessibility problems.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? the majority of hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you control background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Utilize video apps: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And this can help you put context to what’s being said.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Be honest with the individual you’re talking to on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many people will be just fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as possible: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). 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!

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

Contact us for some help and advice on how to best use your phone and hearing aids together.

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.