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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. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those with hearing loss.

There must be a simple solution for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly like that. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more difficult. But there are a few tips for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more from your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the general volume on your ears. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces at a time. This can make it hard to even detect when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very 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 disappears. Your Brain lacks the information it requires 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 help – here’s how

This can be helped by wearing hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But there are some distinctive accessibility and communication challenges that occur from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

For example, placing your hearing aids near a phone speaker can cause some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can result in some uncomfortable gaps in conversation because you can’t hear very well.

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to address the obstacles of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Most hearing specialists will recommend several tips:

  • Find a quiet location to conduct your phone conversations. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less noise. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by decreasing background noise.
  • Use other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better when you’re having a phone conversation (including numerous text-to-type services).
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as frequently as you can: This will protect against the most severe feedback. Your phone calls may not be particularly private, but even though there still might be a little distortion, you should be able to better understand the voice on the other end. The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Utilize video apps: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a great way to help you hear better. It isn’t 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 kind of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Don’t hide your hearing problems from the person you’re talking to: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many individuals will be just fine switching the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled, phone calls can be streamed straight to your phone. This can prevent 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.

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

Contact us for some help and advice 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.