Audiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating hearing-related issues
Mobile Phones and Hearing Loss
Mobile phones are a part of everyday life: From you partner phoning for a lift, to your children staying in touch. But, the person with hearing loss may feel disadvantaged because of difficulty hearing the caller. However, this doesn’t have to be the case and a quick chat with your audiologist could unlock features on your hearing device which make the cell-phone listening experience so much better.
When taking a call on a cell phone you have different options.
Turning up the volume on the handset is the simplest and least sophisticated method open to you. It involves simply turning up the volume setting on your cell phone so the speaker’s voice is amplified.
Many phones have a volume control button on the side of the phone casing, so it may even be possible to adjust the volume to a comfortable level whilst taking a call. Alternatively, you may have to adjust the volume via the settings on the phone, which makes it less adaptable if you have to take a call in a place with lots of background noise.
Turning up the volume can work if you have mild hearing loss. However, if you wear a hearing device you may experience noise interference or feedback, when you hold the cell phone up to your ear.
One way round this is to put the phone on the speaker setting, which enables you to keep the phone away from your ear and reduce feedback howl. However, if you do this be aware anyone can hear your conversation and it is not private.
If you are about to purchase a new phone then a useful resource is your hearing healthcare professional. They will be aware of the latest models that have good compatibility with your hearing device. Some cell phones are better designed than others when it comes to having a loop or “T” setting that works effectively with a hearing aid.
Bluetooth technology can also be of benefit, since it allows Bluetooth enabled devices to speak to one another. Again, your audiologist can advise you if your hearing device is Bluetooth enabled. If it is, this could allow your cell phone to connect wirelessly with your hearing aid, thus cutting out the need to hold the phone to your ear which can cause feedback.
An alternative to Bluetooth is to use a hands-free kit of the sort designed for use when driving. These send the phone signal to a neckloop or ear hook, which has the advantage of keeping the phone more distant to your hearing aid (and reduces the likelihood of feedback howl.)
A neckloop works in a similar way to a loop system in a public arena and taking a call can be as easy as using a hands-free kit and switching your hearing device to the “T” setting.
Remember, if you are uncertain about compatibility between your phone and hearing aid, then your hearing care provider will be happy to advise.