Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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 sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. As a matter of fact, there’s one population for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

There must be an easy solution for that, right? Why not utilize a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely that way. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make face-to-face conversations much easier to handle, there are some difficulties related to phone-based conversations. But there are certainly a few things you can do to make your phone conversations more effective.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t sudden. It’s not like someone simply turns down the general volume on your ears. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces over time. This can make it hard 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.

When you talk on the phone, you no longer have these visual hints. Your Brain lacks the info it needs to fill in the blanks. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

Hearing aids can be helpful – here’s how

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

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

Tips to augment the phone call experience

So, what can you do to overcome the challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? the majority of hearing specialists will suggest a few tips:

  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone conversations. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the individual you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by reducing 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 right to your hearing aids (if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled). If you’re having difficulty using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin getting rid of feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Don’t conceal 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 simply need to be a little extra patient, or you might want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: This will prevent the most severe feedback. There might still be a little distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid away from each other is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Download a video call app: You may have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. It’s not that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has access to all of that amazing visual information again. And again, this type of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • 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 (including many text-to-type services).

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

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best utilize 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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