Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Man wearing hearing aids happily using a cell phone.

Nowadays, the cellular phone network is a great deal more reliable (and there’s a lot less static involved). But sometimes, it will still be hard to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And for people who have hearing loss, it can be particularly difficult.

Now, you might be thinking: there’s a simple solution for that, right? Why not utilize a pair of hearing aids to make your phone conversations a little easier? Well, that’s not… exactly… how it works. Even though hearing aids can help with conversations, with phone conversations it can be a little more difficult. But there are definitely a few things you can do to make your phone calls more successful.

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

Hearing loss typically progresses gradually. It isn’t like someone just turns down the overall volume on your ears. It has a tendency to go in bits and pieces. 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 the phone, all of that contextual data disappears. There’s no added information for your brain to fill in. You only hear parts and pieces of the other person’s voice which sounds muffled and distorted.

How hearing aids can help

This can be improved by wearing hearing aids. 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 issues.

Feedback can occur when your hearing aids come near a phone, for instance. This can make things difficult to hear and uncomfortable.

Tips to enhance the phone call experience

So what steps can be taken to help make your hearing aids work better with a phone? Well, there are a number of tips that the majority of hearing specialists will suggest:

  • Download a video call app: Face-timing someone or jumping onto a video chat can be a very good way to help you hear better. It isn’t that the sound quality is magically better, it’s that your brain has use of all of that amazing visual information again. And again, this kind of contextual information will be greatly helpful.
  • Be truthful with the individual you’re speaking with on the phone: It’s ok to admit if you’re having difficulties! Many people will be fine switching the discussion to text message or email or video calls (or simply being a little extra patient).
  • Hearing aids aren’t the only assistive hearing device you can use: Devices, including numerous text-to-type services, are available to help you hear better during phone conversations.
  • Try to take your phone calls in a quiet area. The less noise around you, the easier it will be to pick out the voice of the person you’re on the phone with. If you limit background noise during phone conversations your hearing aids will work so much better.
  • You can utilize your Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to connect to your phone. 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 straight to your phone. If you’re having trouble using your phone with your hearing aid, a good place to start reducing feedback would be switching to Bluetooth.
  • Try using speakerphone to carry out most of your phone conversations: This will prevent the most serious feedback. There might still be some distortion, but your phone conversation should be mostly understandable (while maybe 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 achieve this!

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

Contact us for some help and guidance on how to best use 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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