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Communicating on the telephone with hearing loss

Overcoming the stresses of talking on the phone

Individuals with hearing loss will often find that it is quite difficult and can be frustrating to hear on the phone. Often times the sound quality on the phone will be poor and degraded and sometime people do not speak as clearly while talking on the phone. There are also no visual cues to help out. Even with properly fit hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other amplification devices, hearing on the telephone can still become a difficult task. Below you will find some tips and tricks to help hear on the phone.

  1.  Try using speaker phone. If you utilize two devices (one in each ear) the speaker phone may be the best option for you. This allows you to hear the person speaking with both ears rather than just one. Listening with two ears is always an advantage.
  2. Try an amplified or captioned phone. If a speaker phone is still hard to hear your loved ones with, an amplified or caption phone may be helpful. An amplified phone makes the signal louder and a caption phone has captions just like TV. Both of these phones may be independently purchased or obtained from state programs
  3. An important point to remember is to make sure where you are holding your phone is in the correct place for your device. Some types of amplification have microphones that are located behind the ear. It is important to hold the phone near the microphones rather than at ear level if you are wearing a behind-the-ear device. If the devices that you use are in-the-ear devices, you can continue to use the phone at ear level
  4. If your device has telecoil enabled, try using it. The telecoil picks up the electromagnetic field from the phone and may provide a clearer signal. If you are interested in trying the telecoil, ask your audiologist to activate the telecoil options.
  5. Try accessories. Many devices now have the option to use additional accessories to help people hear better on the phone. These accessories have the ability to stream a phone call directly to your hearing aids just like a Bluetooth headset. Using a streaming device will let you hear the phone in both devices, which takes advantage of binaural listening.