Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Best Tips for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Aid News

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the mobile 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. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly challenging.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple solution for that, right? Why not use a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely that way. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a lot easier to manage, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. 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 well together – here’s why

Hearing loss usually isn’t sudden. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. It tends to go in bits and pieces. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will try to use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data is gone. There’s no extra information for your brain to fill in. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in a lot of those missing pieces. But there are a few unique accessibility and communication challenges that happen from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to overcome the challenges of using a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will suggest a few tips:

  • Find a quiet setting to carry out your phone conversations. The less noise around 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 effective by reducing background noise.
  • Be honest with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: 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 just being a little extra patient).
  • 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 isn’t 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 add context to what’s being said.
  • 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 (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).
  • Consider using speakerphone to conduct most of your phone calls: Most feedback can be prevented this way. Your phone calls may not be particularly private, but even though there still might be some distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by using speakerphone.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin eliminating feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.

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 right approach, you’ll have the tools you need to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

Call us for some help and guidance 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.

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