Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more dependable nowadays. But in some cases, it will still be difficult to hear what the individual on the other end is saying. As a matter of fact, there’s one group for whom phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those with hearing loss.

There must be a simple fix for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations more clearly? Well, that isn’t… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a bit more challenging. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss usually isn’t immediate. It’s not like somebody just turns down the overall volume on your ears. You tend to lose bits and pieces at a time. 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 a phone, all of that contextual data disappears. Your Brain doesn’t have 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 using hearing aids. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in many of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility issues.

For example, putting your hearing aids close to a phone speaker can produce some harsh speaker-to-speaker interference. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will suggest:

  • Use video apps: Face-timing someone or jumping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. The sound won’t be louder or more clear, but at least you will have that visual information back. And again, this kind of contextual information will be substantially helpful.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as you can: Most feedback can be avoided this way. There may 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.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the individual you’re speaking with. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulty! Many people will be fine moving the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth! This means you’ll be able to stream 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 little more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (and this includes many text-to-type services).

Finding the correct set of solutions will depend on what you use your phone for, how often you’re on the phone, and what your general communication needs are like. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

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

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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.