Florida Hearing Matters - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Contemporary cell phones have become a lot clearer and more dependable nowadays. But that doesn’t mean everyone can hear you all the time. In fact, there’s one group for whom using a phone isn’t always a reliable experience: those with hearing loss.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple fix for that, right? Can’t you use some hearing aids to help you hear phone conversations better? Actually, it doesn’t work precisely like that. It turns out that, while hearing aids can make in person conversations much easier to handle, there are some challenges associated with phone-based conversations. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone calls more effective.

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

Hearing loss generally isn’t immediate. It’s not like somebody simply turns down the overall volume on your ears. It tends to go a little at a time. This can make it hard to even notice when you have hearing loss, particularly because your brain tries really hard to fill in the gaps with contextual clues and other visual information.

So when you get on the phone, all of that contextual info is gone. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. There’s only a very distorted voice and you only make out bits and pieces of the spectrum of the other individual’s voice.

Hearing aids can help – here’s how

This can be helped by wearing hearing aids. Many of those missing pieces can be filled in with hearing aids. But there are some unique accessibility and communication troubles that arise from using hearing aids while talking on the phone.

Feedback can happen when your hearing aids come near a phone, for example. This can lead to some awkward 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 challenges of utilizing a phone with hearing aids? Well, there are several tips that the majority of hearing specialists will recommend:

  • Make use of other assistive hearing devices: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better when you’re having phone conversations.
  • Switch your phone to speaker mode as frequently as you can: Most feedback can be avoided this way. Your phone conversations may not be very private, but even though there still might be some 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 switching to speakerphone.
  • Don’t hide your hearing trouble from the person you’re talking to: If phone calls are hard for you, it’s fine to admit that! Many individuals will be just fine transferring the conversation to text message or email or video calls (or just being a little extra patient).
  • Connect 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 enabled, phone calls can be streamed directly to your phone. This can eliminate feedback and make your phone calls a bit more private, so it’s a good place to start if you’re having difficulty on your phone.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet spot. It will be much easier to hear the voice on the other end if there’s less background sound. Your hearing aids will be much more effective by reducing background noise.
  • 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. The sound won’t be louder or clearer, but at least you’ll have that visual information back. And this can help you add context to what’s being said.

Depending on your general hearing needs, how frequently you use the phone, and what you use your phone for, the appropriate set of solutions will be available. Your ability to once again enjoy phone conversations will be made possible with the right approach.

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best use your phone and hearing aids together.

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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.