Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become a lot clearer and more reliable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids do 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 little more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss typically advances slowly. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. This can make it hard to even detect when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual clues. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids will help with this. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can introduce some accessibility issues.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to begin getting rid of feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the individual you’re speaking with: It’s all right to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many individuals will be just fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Consider utilizing speakerphone to conduct the majority of your phone calls: This will prevent the most severe feedback. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by using speakerphone.
  • Find a quiet location to carry out your phone calls. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. If you limit background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing someone or hopping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. It isn’t that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that fantastic visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.

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

If you need more advice on how to utilize hearing aids with your phone, call us, we can help.

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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.