Phones are ever-present these days, playing an important part of our lives by allowing us to stay connected with family and friends, and even allowing for the continued independence of some individuals. Hearing losses can impact our ability to maintain conversations over the phone but there are increasing numbers of hearing devices which are compatible with today's phones with an aim of reducing background noise and improving signal clarity.
If you already have a hearing device, there are some things you can do to get the best performance out of your devices.
1. Positioning of the handset: by placing the phone directly up to the hearing device's microphone, you allow the signal to be processed through the hearing aid, improving the sound signal. If you experience "whistling" (feedback) when on the phone, angling the handset upwards and moving it slightly away from the device may reduce this.
2. Activating additional features: most phones today come with vibration alerts and sometimes even flashing lights to inform you of a call/notification if you don't hear your phone ring. Sometimes these can be customized and adjusted depending on the mobile phone brand. Many hearing devices also have inbuilt telecoils which allow devices to directly connect with the phones and hear the conversations better (sometimes an additional induction neck-loop is required for this feature to be activated).
3. Smartphone compatible devices: new advances in technology mean some hearing devices are designed to wirelessly connect to smart phones via Bluetooth, allowing for direct streaming of music and phone calls. Some hearing device manufacturers also produce apps which can allow for the smartphone to act as a remote control for your hearing aids. When considering to invest in a new smartphone, consider what their Hearing Aid Compatibility rating (HAC) is. NB - The higher the numerical number (min -max:1- 4), the better (Eg: A device with a M3T3 HAC rating is quite good)
“M” – the microphone mode (how well the internal microphone can pick up sounds and amplify them)
“T” – the telecoil mode (whether telecoil technology is available)
Still struggling to hear? It may be time to review your hearing and/or your hearing devices. Feel free to contact our clinicians for a hearing assessment today.