The Perfect Smartphone for Hearing Aid Users

hand holding a hearing aid

Are you looking for a phone that works with hearing aids? Several factors play a role in determining the right phone for you: Do you use your phone frequently or infrequently? Do you have slight, moderate or severe hearing loss?

Because technology is constantly evolving, we encourage consulting with your audiologist, who may likely propose solutions and even support you with connecting your cell phone to your hearing aid. When buying, make a point of trying out different phones and models to find which one works best for you.

Smartphones Are All Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC)

Cell phones, often known as smartphones, wireless phones or mobile phones, are currently by far the most popular type of phone purchased. New models and features are continually being developed, and thankfully, the FCC requires that all of them be compatible with hearing aids.

Smartphones for Mild or Moderate Hearing Loss

If you have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, you're in luck: Thanks to a mechanism known as acoustic coupling, you probably won't need to do anything unusual to use your hearing aids with a phone. Simply put, this phrase means that you can talk on the phone normally, and your hearing aid microphone will automatically pick up the sound. What's the catch? It's also possible that it'll pick up some background noise.

When looking for a phone, search for the M rating, which indicates whether or not the phone is compatible with hearing aids. The M scale runs from 1 to 4, with 4 indicating the highest level of compatibility. Although a higher rating means less annoying noise and feedback, some unwanted noise may still be present. M3 is the most prevalent rating – for example, all iPhones currently on the market are rated in this category.

Smartphones for Severe Hearing Loss

If you have a more severe hearing loss – or if you frequently use the phone and want a crystal-clear signal – make sure your hearing aid's telecoil is turned on. Without using the microphone, telecoils direct sound to the hearing aid's processor. It can increase the signal-to-noise ratio while removing the possibility of feedback.

Your telecoil may turn on automatically or you may have to actively switch into telecoil or T mode. For further information, contact your audiologist. When you're testing out different phones, this is something you'll want to check out. Look for the T grade for hearing aid compatibility if you intend to use the telecoil feature.

The T rating is likewise a scale of one to four, with four being the best. T4 is used in a lot of today's smartphones. If you choose to route sound using a particular technology such as Bluetooth, be sure your hearing aid is compatible with it. Again, your audiologist will be able to help you with this.

Other Features to Look For

Volume control is a vital feature in a hearing aid compatible phone, and it is found on the majority of smartphones on the market. You might also want a ringer volume control so you don't miss a call. You might also benefit from having a wide selection of ringtones. Some may be easier to hear than others, depending on the severity of your hearing loss. When shopping, this is a fantastic feature to try out.

When someone calls, most smartphones flash or vibrate, so you don't have to rely solely on an auditory signal. When you're watching TV or listening to music, this is extremely useful. This feature is available on nearly all smartphones.

Get a mobile phone package that includes unlimited texting and a device with an easy-to-use keyboard if you have hearing loss and want to communicate with others via text messaging.

Many different providers sell hearing aid compatible smartphones, and the best phones can be found on the website of your mobile phone carrier. Companies that sell mobile phones will have a list of phones that are best for those who use hearing aids. Before you buy a smartphone, make sure you try it out first because interference varies depending on where you are. It's possible that you'll have to try a few before settling on one. Don’t forget that M4 or T4 is the highest possible rating.

If you’re on the market for a new smartphone and want to speak to an audiologist about your choices, call us here at Desert Hearing Care at 480-985-2544.