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Hearing Aid Compatible Phones: What to Know Before You Buy

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a single hearing aid held in a hand

When wearing hearing aids for the first time, you might realize that it can take some adjustment when using your smartphone. From understanding how to position the phone when using it to how to connect your hearing aids, it can feel like a lot to learn when you’re still getting used to hearing clearly again. 

To ensure you get the most out of your hearing aids and smartphone, consider the following tips to help you understand what to look for and how to connect them easily. This will also help you choose which phones to buy in the future, ensuring that they are compatible with your hearing aids.

Phones for mild hearing loss

It’s important to speak to your audiologist and book an appointment to see what level of hearing loss you have. If you have mild or moderate hearing loss, then you might be able to use regular phones without having to do anything special. While it can be a little uncomfortable to put the receiver on your ear while you’re using a hearing aid, it can work perfectly fine and as long as there’s no interference, you won’t need to purchase a new phone.

However, if you do notice that your hearing aid microphone is picking up a bit of background noise or causing a feedback loop, then you may want to consider taking off your hearing aid and placing the handset closer to your ear. It may help to increase the volume of the handset if possible. Alternatively, you can adjust the distance between your hearing aid and the handset to see if it can eliminate the interference.

If none of these suggestions work, then you may need to purchase a phone that has been given an RF interference rating. These range from M1-M4 with M3 and M4 being the most commonly-used handsets by those with hearing loss. These phones will provide much better protection against interference, meaning you can comfortably use your phone without the presence of static or feedback. While it won’t get rid of all the background noise, it will remove most of it and allow you to use your phone without any issue.

Phones for severe hearing loss

If your audiologist has diagnosed you with severe hearing loss, then you’ll want to invest in a phone that has been made specifically for those with hearing loss. Your hearing aid might be able to help if it has a “telecoil” setting. This enables your hearing aid to process sound without the use of the microphone. This can greatly improve the signal-to-noise ratio and eliminate any feedback that you hear when using the phone.

You’ll want to speak to your audiologist about this setting if it isn’t explained clearly in the manual, or if you’re having trouble locating it. There’s a small chance that your hearing aids won’t have this setting, so you may need to purchase a different phone or upgrade your hearing aids. You’ll want to discuss this with your audiologist first as it can be a long-term investment.

Mobile phones

These days, a lot of people rely on the use of smartphones and tablet devices to get work done and communicate with others. However, much like using a regular phone, it can be challenging to use the phone in certain situations. For instance, picking up a phone call might be awkward as the shape of a smartphone might be uncomfortable when wearing hearing aids, and you might also want to use headphones to listen to music or watch a video while you commute.

Thankfully, new smartphones and hearing aids have built-in wireless technologies such as Bluetooth. This allows you to answer calls, listen to music and do other audio-related things on your smartphone without having to change to a pair of headphones. Your hearing aids will essentially double as a pair of Bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones. These additional features will mean that your hearing aids are more expensive, but it’s often worth the added cost, especially if you’re heavily reliant on your smartphone device. In this case, you won’t need to worry about your level of hearing loss as the sound can be played directly into your hearing aids, eliminating the need for a handset and removing the possibility of interference.

To learn more about hearing aid compatible phones and Bluetooth hearing aids, contact Brentwood Hearing Center at 615-377-0420. One of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to speak with you about our services and how we can help you utilize the features of your hearing aids and smartphone.