Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, FL

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become much clearer and more reliable nowadays. 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 phone conversations aren’t always a positive experience: those who have hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy fix for that, right? Can’t you make use of some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations better? Actually, it doesn’t work exactly like that. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations a lot easier to manage, there are some difficulties associated with phone-based conversations. But there are some guidelines for phone calls with hearing aids that can help you get a little more out of your next conversation.

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

Hearing loss typically isn’t immediate. It isn’t like someone simply 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 detect when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with contextual 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 fill in. You only hear parts and pieces of the other individual’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

This can be improved by using hearing aids. Many 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 very well.

Tips to augment the phone call experience

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

  • Utilize other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Consider using speakerphone to conduct most of your phone conversations: This will counter the most serious feedback. There may still be a little distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). The best way to keep your phone and your hearing aid apart is by switching to speakerphone.
  • Find a quiet place to carry out your phone conversations. It will be a lot easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by reducing background noise.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid using Bluetooth. Wait, 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 good place to begin reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Be honest with the individual you’re talking to on the phone: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s okay to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Make use of video apps: Face-timing someone or hopping 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 this can help you add context to what’s being talked about.

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

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