Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is much more dependable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. As a matter of fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations better? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. 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 conversations more effective.

Why hearing aids and phone calls don’t always get along

Hearing loss usually advances gradually. It isn’t like someone simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It tends to go in bits and pieces. This can make it difficult to even notice when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual hints. Your Brain doesn’t have the information it needs to fill in the blanks. There’s only a really distorted voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other person’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids will help with this. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are a few unique accessibility and communication challenges that arise from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For instance, placing your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Use video apps: You may have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It isn’t that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And again, this type of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: 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).
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. If you lessen background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as you can: Most feedback can be prevented this way. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is essential, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Be sincere with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many people will be just fine moving the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can get rid of 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.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how frequently you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be accessible. Your ability to once more enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the correct approach.

Call us for some help and advice on how to best use your phone and hearing aids at the same time.

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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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