Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Modern cell phones have become much clearer and more reliable nowadays. But in some cases, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for individuals who have hearing loss, it can be particularly challenging.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple fix for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a bit easier? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids can 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 bit more from your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss usually isn’t sudden. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go a little at a time. This can make it hard to even detect 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. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can be helpful

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility issues.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

So, what can you do to overcome the obstacles of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are a few tips that the majority of hearing specialists will advocate:

  • 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 during a phone conversation (including many text-to-type services).
  • Use video apps: You might have an easier time making out phone conversations on a video call. 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 type of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Find a quiet place to carry out your phone conversations. The less noise near you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. If you minimize background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to stream to your phone. Yes, contemporary hearing aids can stream to your smartphone using 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 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.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as possible: Most feedback can be averted this way. Your phone conversations may not be very private, but even though there still may 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 using speakerphone.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are difficult for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine transferring the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).

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

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

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