Modern hearing aid technology has developed considerably over the last few years. Go back a decade, and it was difficult to find high-quality assistive devices that would fit entirely inside the ear canal, let alone communicate with your mobile phone.
Today, however, that has all changed. There is now a range of phones on the market that provide specific assistance for people with hearing loss. Many of these devices come with extra features designed to help you if you wear a hearing aid. For instance, many automatically connect to your hearing aids, piping sound directly from the device to the speaker in your assistive hearing device, without relying on the external microphone.
There are two designations to consider when selecting a phone, the “T” and “M” ratings. The T rating means that it is intended to be used for inductive coupling with hearing aids through telecoil mode, while the M rating is designed for reduced radio-frequency interference that enables pairing with hearing aids that don’t utilize telecoil.
These ratings can be from one to four, with four being the most compatible with hearing aids, and one being the least. It is recommended that you find a phone with an M3, M4, T3 or T4 rating if you wear hearing aids and want to pair them with your cell. When in doubt, always try out a phone with your hearing aids before making a purchase, or read online reviews of user experiences to ensure you are selecting the right device. Your hearing instrument specialist or audiologist is an expert when it comes to hearing aids and compatible technologies, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you need professional advice.
What is important when considering a phone?
There are a number of different things you want to consider when purchasing a phone if you desire hearing aid compatibility (HAC).
Mobile phones for people with hearing loss usually communicate with your hearing aid via Bluetooth technology – a kind of wireless communication protocol. Today’s modern hearing aids often feature Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to hook them up to a range of devices in your environment, providing you with crisp, clear calls that you can hear in accordance with settings on your hearing aid.
Whether you prefer Apple or Android, there are several ways you can ensure a smooth user experience when connecting your hearing aids to your mobile. With iPhones, most hearing aids couple the best in the “M,” or acoustic coupling mode. Once paired, you can hold the iPhone up to your ear like you normally would, and the device will be able to receive audio from the mobile through the microphones. For best results, change the position of the phone by angles to see which is ideal for your hearing aids or hearing loss.
If the “M” setting doesn’t seem to work, you can try using the hearing aid in the “T” setting, or the telecoil coupling mode. To pair your hearing aid and phone in this mode, make sure your hearing aid is switched to the “T” setting and then look under your phone’s general settings to activate hearing aid mode on the mobile device. Pairing should complete, and you should be able to use your hearing aids with your smartphone seamlessly.
How else can you improve your hearing aid and phone experience?
There are several different apps available on the market today to help you have even greater control over your devices. Most manufacturers offer an app-specific to your hearing aid model that enables you to control your device settings with your phone. This makes it easy to adjust your sound settings, saved profiles for different listening environments and connecting with other compatible technologies. You can also monitor things like your battery usage and receive alerts when your battery is getting low and will need to be replaced. Additionally, look for other apps that can provide captioning services or a more swift way to connect to other technologies in your home that will be paired with your hearing aids. This makes it easier for you to connect when you need to, in addition to adjusting the sound settings on those devices for your personal requirements.
If you are investigating mobile phones that are compatible with hearing aids, then get in touch with one of our hearing care professionals today. There is a range of phones and hearing aids on the market, all with different features. We can help you find assistive hearing devices that are compatible with mobile phones. Please call 1-888-553-7520 today to talk with one of our professionals.