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Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But in some cases, it will still be hard to hear what the person 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 with hearing loss.

Now, you may be thinking: there’s a simple fix for that, right? Why not use a set of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more challenging. But there are a few guidelines 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 usually progresses gradually. Your hearing usually doesn’t just go. You have a tendency to lose bits and pieces over time. It’s likely that you won’t even detect you have hearing loss and your brain will attempt to utilize contextual and visual clues to compensate.

So when you get on a phone, all of that contextual data is gone. There’s no extra information for your brain to work with. There’s only a really muffled voice and you only make out 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. Lots of those missing pieces can be filled in by using hearing aids. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

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

Bettering your ability to hear phone conversations

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids function better with a phone? the majority of hearing specialists will endorse a few tips:

  • 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 individual you’re on the phone with. If you control background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will perform so much better.
  • Don’t conceal your hearing problems from the individual you’re talking to: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulty! You might simply need to be a little extra patient, or you may want to think about using text, email, or video chat.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as you can: Most feedback can be averted this way. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by using speakerphone.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Hold on, can hearing aids stream to smartphones? Yes, they can! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a great place to begin getting rid of feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: There are other assistive devices and services that can help you hear better during a phone conversation (including numerous text-to-type services).
  • Utilize video apps: You may have an easier time distinguishing phone conversations on a video call. It isn’t 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.

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. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

If you need more advice on how to use 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.
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