Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become much 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 with hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple remedy for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

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

Hearing loss usually isn’t sudden. Your hearing normally doesn’t just go. You tend to lose bits and pieces over time. 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 contextual clues and other visual information.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual info is gone. Your Brain doesn’t have the info it requires 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 individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids will help with this. They’ll especially help your ears fill in a lot of those missing pieces. But there are a few distinctive accessibility and communication troubles that arise from wearing hearing aids while talking on the phone.

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

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

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

  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And again, this kind of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • 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 when you’re having a phone conversation (and this includes numerous text-to-type services).
  • Connect your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your cellphone via Bluetooth! 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 difficulty on your phone.
  • Find a quiet place to carry out your phone calls. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re on the phone with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by decreasing background noise.
  • Consider utilizing speakerphone to carry out most of your phone calls: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! You may just need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to think about using text, email, or video chat.

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

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

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