Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But sometimes, it will still be difficult to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. In fact, there’s one population for whom using a phone isn’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple remedy for that, right? Why not utilize a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little clearer? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly that way. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are some tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a bit more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss usually progresses gradually. It isn’t like someone just turns down the general volume on your ears. It tends to go in bits and pieces. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will try to use contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data is gone. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only hear bits and pieces of the range of the other individual’s voice.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by using hearing aids. They’ll especially help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone while wearing hearing aids can present some accessibility issues.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come close to a phone, for example. This can result in some awkward gaps in conversation because you can’t hear that well.

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So what measures can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Most hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • Download a video call app: You might have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that fantastic visual information again. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.
  • Try using speakerphone to conduct most of your phone conversations: Most feedback can be averted this way. Your phone conversations may not be very private, but even though there still may be some distortion, you should be able to better make out the voice on the other end. Knowing how to better hold your phone with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Be sincere with the individual you’re talking to on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many people will be just fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet location. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by lowering background noise.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Wait, can hearing aids connect to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means you’ll be capable of streaming phone calls directly to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). This can get rid of feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having trouble on your phone.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how often you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be accessible. With the right approach, you’ll have the tools you need to begin enjoying those phone conversations once again.

Call us for some help and guidance on how to best use your phone and hearing aids together.

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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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