Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is a great deal more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be difficult to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. As a matter of 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 solution for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. In reality, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations a great deal easier to manage, there are some difficulties related to phone-based conversations. But there are a few guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more from your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. Your hearing typically doesn’t just go. It tends to go in bits and pieces. 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 fill in. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

This can be helped by using hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can introduce some accessibility issues.

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

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will suggest several tips:

  • 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 clearer, but at least you’ll have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.
  • You can use your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. 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 directly to your phone. This can get rid of feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a good place to start if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many individuals will be fine transferring the discussion 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 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 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!
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better when you’re having a phone conversation (and this includes many text-to-type services).
  • Find a quiet spot to conduct your phone conversations. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you limit background noise during phone calls your hearing aids will work so much better.

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

If you need more guidance on how to utilize hearing aids with your phone, give us a call, 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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