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Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

These days, the cellular phone network is a lot more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But that doesn’t mean everybody can hear you all the time. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be especially difficult.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s an easy fix for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you understand phone conversations more clearly? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids do help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are definitely some things you can do to make your phone conversations more successful.

Why hearing aids and phone calls don’t always play nice

Hearing loss usually advances gradually. It isn’t like somebody just turns down the general volume on your ears. It tends to go in bits and pieces. This can make it hard to even notice when you have hearing loss, especially because your brain tries very hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

When you have phone conversations, you no longer have these visual clues. Your Brain doesn’t have the info it needs 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 be helpful – here’s how

Hearing aids will help with this. They’ll particularly help your ears fill in a lot of those missing pieces. But talking on the phone with hearing aids can present some accessibility problems.

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

Improving your ability to hear phone conversations

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

  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet spot. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to make out the voice of the person you’re speaking with. Your hearing aids will be much more efficient by decreasing background noise.
  • Stream your phone to your hearing aid via Bluetooth. Yes, modern hearing aids can stream to your cellphone using Bluetooth! This means that if your hearing aids are Bluetooth capable, phone calls can be streamed right to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a little more private, so it’s a practical place to start if you’re having trouble on your phone.
  • Download a video call app: Face-timing somebody or jumping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. It’s not that the sound quality is somehow better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that fantastic visual information again. And once more, this kind of contextual information will be considerably helpful.
  • Put your phone in speaker mode as often as possible: This will counter the most serious feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone call should be mostly understandable (if not necessarily private). Knowing how to hold the phone better with hearing aids (that is, away from your ears) is crucial, and speakerphone is how you accomplish this!
  • Be honest with the person you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s okay to admit if you’re having difficulty! You might simply need to be a little more patient, or you may want to consider using text, email, or video chat.
  • 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.

Finding the right set of solutions will depend on what you use your phone for, how frequently 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.

Contact us for some help and advice on how to best utilize your phone and hearing aids at the same time.

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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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