Top Tips for Using the Phone with Hearing Aids

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. As a matter of fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s an easy solution for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. In reality, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to manage, there are some challenges related to phone-based conversations. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss typically isn’t immediate. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. This can make it difficult to even notice when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with context clues and other visual information.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual info is gone. There’s no added information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by using hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

For instance, placing your hearing aids next to a phone speaker can create some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear really well.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the individual you’re on the phone with. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as often as you can: This will protect against the most serious feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (while maybe not necessarily private). 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!
  • Download a video call app: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that fantastic visual information again. And once more, this type of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to begin if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • 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 (including numerous text-to-type services).
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many individuals will be fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).

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

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

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.