Best Practices for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more reliable nowadays. But sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be particularly challenging.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss typically isn’t sudden. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. You tend to lose bits and pieces over 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 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.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

This can be helped by using hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come close to a phone, for instance. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Find a quiet setting to conduct 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 efficient by reducing background noise.
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can get: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed directly to your phone. If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Be truthful with the individual you’re talking to on the phone: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many people will be just fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Download a video call app: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. The sound won’t be louder or clearer, but at least you will have that visual information back. And again, this kind of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as you can: This will prevent the most severe feedback. Your phone conversations may not be particularly private, but even though there still may be a little distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use the phone for, how frequently you’re on the phone, and what your general communication needs are like. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

If you need more guidance on how to utilize 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.