Telephone Options for Hearing Aid Users
Many hearing aid users struggle to hear on the telephone, even with hearing aids. Visual cues help us differentiate between similar speech sounds, and unless you are using Facetime, visual cues are not available while speaking on the phone. Especially if you have hearing loss, the lack of visual cues can make it more difficult to hear over the phone than face-to-face. Here are some helpful tips regarding cell phone and landline phone compatibility with hearing aids:
1. When purchasing a cell phone, look for the MT ratings in the product specifications.
Microphone is for the acoustic mode, and Telephone is for magnetic mode that will work with your hearing aid’s telecoil, if applicable. Using your hearing aid telecoils may also help you hear the phone conversation without picking up ambient room noise.
You want a cell phone with the highest rating of M4T4 for best hearing through your hearing aids. Here is a list of cell phones available through Sprint, along with their M/T ratings: https://www.sprint.com/landings/accessibility/docs/HAC_PDF_List.pdf
I recommend that you try out the phone in the phone store before purchasing. Here is a web link with more information: http://www.harriscomm.com/how-to-buy-a-cell-phone
2. Landline phones
a. Amplified corded or cordless phones are available with varying degrees of amplification. The Texas Department of State Health Services STAP program will cover the cost of one amplified phone every 5 years to any Texas resident with a documented hearing loss. Applications are available in our office.
b. Captioned phones: Captioning allows the other party’s speech to be displayed in writing on the telephone screen. You can read along as you listen, which helps you catch words you may not have heard clearly. A professional installer will come to your home to install the phone and instruct you on usage. Captioning is also available on your iPad via an app, for conversations on the go. To qualify for CaptionCall, a hearing-care professional must certify the individual has a hearing loss that requires captions to use the phone effectively. Again, applications for this free service are available in our office.
3. Bluetooth streaming gives the advantage of stereo hearing as well as hands-free listening from any Bluetooth-enabled phone. Some hearing aids such as the Resound Linx or Oticon Opn hearing aids have direct Bluetooth connectivity, meaning the hearing aids stream from the phone directly into the hearing aids. Other hearing aids require a Bluetooth interface that is worn around the neck, or clipped onto the user’s shirt, in order to connect to a Bluetooth-enabled phone.
At The Center for Audiology, we will work with you to find the best telephone solution that will work well with or without your hearing aids if you have hearing loss! Give us a call today at 713-255-0035 to get started on your better hearing journey.