Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

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

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy remedy for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely that way. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more challenging. But there are certainly some things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

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

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

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data is gone. 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 help – here’s how

This can be improved by using 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 occur from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For instance, 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.

Tips to improve the phone call experience

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

  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many people will be fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or hopping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.
  • Consider utilizing speakerphone to conduct most of your phone conversations: This will counter the most serious feedback. Your phone conversations might not be very private, but even though there still might be some distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be able to stream phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable). This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a good place to begin if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • 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 speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by lowering background noise.

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use the phone for, how often you’re on the phone, and what your general communication needs are like. With the right approach, you’ll have the tools you require to start enjoying those phone conversations once again.

If you need more guidance 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.
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