Hearing Aid Compatible Phones: What to Know Before You Buy

a hearing aid in a hand

One of the biggest concerns from people wearing hearing aids for the first time is how they can use their devices with their smartphone. Depending on the style of your device, wearing a hearing aid and talking on the phone may require some positioning to ensure you are comfortable and can hear everything clearly.

That’s why it’s important to find out as much as you can about smartphones and hearing aid compatibility before making a purchase. Whether you’re in the market for a new cellphone or are getting hearing aids for the first time, consider using the following helpful tips to ensure you get the listening experience you need.

Hearing aid compatible phones for mild hearing loss

If your audiologist has diagnosed you with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, then you’re in luck; you won’t need to have a special hearing aid compatible phone. If it’s uncomfortable to put the phone receiver by your ear when you take a phone call, then you can simply take off your hearing aid and use the phone as usual. This will work perfectly fine, and you’ll be able to hear what the other person is saying over the phone.

One small caveat that you might encounter is that your microphone might pick up some background noise coming from the phone. This can cause a bit of distortion or cause a feedback loop, which can be uncomfortable to your ears. We suggest putting the phone receiver further away if you encounter this, or consider just taking off your hearing aid for a phone call.

When shopping for a phone, you’ll want to look at the rating it has received with respect to RF interference between the hearing aid and handset. These are ratings between M1-M4, with M3 and M4 providing the most reduced RF interference for hearing aids. If you find that it’s uncomfortable to use your handset with your hearing aids, then shopping for a phone with an M3 or M4 rating will ensure that there’s no interference, and you can comfortably use your hearing aid with your phone. While it won’t get rid of all of the interference, it will deal with most of the background noise and provide you with a very clear signal.

Hearing aid compatible phones for severe hearing loss

If you have severe hearing loss then you may want to consider investing in a phone that is made specifically to suit those with hearing loss. Your hearing aid itself might also be able to help in this case. For instance, you might have a “telecoil” setting on your hearing aid that directs sound to the hearing aid’s processor without the use of the microphone. This can improve the signal-to-noise ratio and effectively eliminate any feedback that you encounter.

This may be a setting that you have to enable manually. If you’re experiencing issues with your hearing aids when using your phone, then we suggest speaking to your audiologist for more advice. They’ll be able to tell you how to switch on the telecoil or if your hearing aids aren’t designed to be used with a handset. If you plan to purchase a new phone, then you’ll want to test it out first before you invest in it and ensure that it works correctly with your hearing aid.

Mobile phones

With more people using smartphones and other wireless devices these days, it’s become important to have a pair of hearing aids that are compatible with your smartphone. In most cases, the hearing aid itself will have a lot of built-in technology that can help with connectivity concerns, such as being compatible with Bluetooth and other wireless standards. Most smartphones these days will have some form of Bluetooth connectivity, meaning it can be used with these modern hearing aids that are packed with unique modern features to assist your lifestyle and make certain tasks easier.

If you primarily use a smartphone, then you’ll want to consider a pair of hearing aids that supports wireless connectivity like as Bluetooth. This way, your hearing aids can double as a wireless pair of headphones for taking calls, playing music and other audio-related things. You’ll need to speak with your audiologist to see what options they have for wireless-enabled hearing aids.

If you’d like to learn more about hearing aid compatible phones and Bluetooth hearing aids, don’t hesitate to contact Affordable Audiology & Hearing Service at 920-232-4752. One of our friendly representatives will be ready to assist you and book an appointment with one of our audiologists if needed.