Finding a phone that is compatible with your hearing aid is a decision that you shouldn’t take lightly. As technology changes, there are dozens of different factors to consider to make sure you choose a handset that fits your needs. We are hearing care professionals, and we want to ensure that your device is as hassle-free as possible.
So, that’s why we’ve created this post for your information. Continue reading to find out more about the things you should consider before purchasing a hearing aid compatible phone.
Is it Hearing Aid Compatible?
Of course, the first thing you must know is whether it’s hearing aid compatible (HAC). Although the FCC introduced new rules for cochlear implants, such as less static and interference, and better telecoil connections, you should always check the label. You will find HAC in one of three places:
- On a card next to the phone in the store
- On the packaging
- In the user manual
If you can’t find the label, the phone isn’t compatible.
Microphone and Telecoil Ratings
The next thing to take into account is ratings. Both the phone and your hearing aids have ratings that make it easier to tell if they’re compatible with each other. Regarding a handset, the ones that work effectively have a score of M3 or above. This means the implant will work in the microphone position, and that the sound will be clear. As a rule, the majority of phones use this setting, such as all iPhones.
Hearing aids work off a T scale as they usually have a telecoil. Again, a high rating signifies that the connection is clear and more comfortable to hear. T4 is the highest on the scale and T1 is the lowest. A high number is for severe hearing loss, whereas a small number is for mild or moderate impairment.
Each rating should be in the handbook of your devices, so check inside the packaging for more details. Alternatively, you can ask your hearing care professional for specific advice.
You should combine the ratings to get a bigger picture of how compatible they are. The scale includes:
- Combined 6: the usage is considered to be excellent and performance to be the best around
- Combined 5: seen as normal and best used with standard, regular phones
- Combined 4: this is usable, but you wouldn’t want to deal with the quality all the time
What Are the Other Factors to Consider?
Speech to Text
Specific makes and models translate speech into text during a call. Therefore, you don’t have to rely on your hearing if you struggle with the volume. Instead, you can follow the conversation on the screen to reply.
Call and Message Alerts
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you might miss the alerts because the sound is too low. However, there is no need to rely on sound when the phone buzzes or vibrates. The feeling will catch your attention so that you never miss a call or a text message again. Almost every cell has this capability, yet some vibrate more vigorously than others. You can try before you buy to gauge the notification performance.
Your phone’s storage capacity doesn’t directly impact your ability to hear your phone. However, it will affect the apps and software you can download, and it’s better to have more space than less. That way, you can use different tech. Messaging is an excellent alternative to calling and comes integrated, but video messaging services aren’t included. Skype and WhatsApp enable you to speak as if you were face-to-face. Yes, the volume still plays a part, but seeing the person’s face lets you read their lips for contextual purposes.
Are There Any Accessories?
Yes. The main one is Bluetooth connectivity so that you can pair your hearing aid with your phone. Then, you can use both and multitask at the same time. Also, putting distance between them makes the connection more stable.
If your hearing aid has a telecoil, then a neck loop or ear hooks will come in handy. Just connect them to your implant and then to your device via the microphone jack. Other than that, these add-ons also come with comfortable earbuds.
There is a lot to think about, but the main features are microphone and telecoil strength, and integrated or downloadable software for aid conversations. You can purchase accessories, too, which sync via the headphone port or Bluetooth.
Don’t let your experience with hearing loss be problematic. Instead, call one of our convenient locations to talk with a hearing care professional about hearing aid compatibility. (888) 553-7520