With hearing loss, using the telephone can present a challenge. Conversations may be distorted and the lack of visual cues can cause additional difficulties. While the phone may never offer the same benefits of face-to-face conversation, phone conversations with hearing loss has been made easier.
Phones offering closed captioning are available for landlines, often at no cost to the consumer. These phones offer a screen which displays typed captioning, allowing those with hearing loss to simply read what the person on the other end of the call is saying. In order to qualify for a closed captioning telephone, you must have qualifying hearing loss, an existing phone line, and a high-speed internet connection. These phones are often offered at no cost through several programs. Your audiologist should be able to help you find the best option for you, as well as assist you in the application process. Amplified telephones are also available for purchase for those who are uninterested or do not qualify for captioned phones.
Some hearing aids include a telecoil which acts as a sort of “antenna” to help pick up phone calls, however some smaller hearing aid do not have this option available. Whenever possible, using speaking phone can improve success as you are able to listen with two ears rather that one. If it is impossible for you to use speaker phone, try to find a quiet area with little to no background noise. Individuals wearing behind-the-ear (BTE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) style hearing aids should be lift handsets or cellphones slightly above the ear so that the speaker of the phone are in line with the microphone or the hearing aids.
Many newer hearing aids allow for direct streaming of phone calls, allowing the best clarity and volume for hearing aid users. This streaming capability can be easily turned off and on, and works by pairing your hearing aids to your phone. If this feature is important to you, be sure to discuss with your audiologist at your consultation as not all hearing aid brands will be compatible with your phones operating system.
Don’t continue to struggle with phone conversations, discuss your options with your audiologist, or schedule a consult today at 1-800-277-1182