Good phone suggestions

A common issue for those wearing hearing aids is being able to hear well on the telephone. My clients over the years have typically done any of the following:

• Leave their hearing aids on and are able to hear well on the phone
• Remove their hearing aids to hear their best on the phone
• Use the speakerphone so that they can benefit from binaural hearing while on the phone
• Hear their best on their mobile/cellphone because the volume can be increased more than their home phone
• Connect wireless hearing aids to their phone for binaural streaming of calls

But they don’t work for everyone

For some individuals, the tactics above don’t offer a solution, and they continue to ask for something to help them better hear and understand friends, family, healthcare professionals, and unfamiliar callers.

This is often due to the fact that, with their particular hearing loss, they detect speech at more normal levels with their hearing aids but have poor word comprehension as a symptom of their loss, and they require visual clues to the conversational topic.

Historically, we have only been able to offer a TTY (tele-typewriter), which works through a special telephone company operator who types what is being said for the person with the hearing loss. Although a wonderful solution, it has its limitations — particularly for those who do not speak English or who have difficulty reading the typed message.

New video phone technology can help

We now live in a wonderful era of technology that allows us to have both auditory and visual cues when talking on the phone, with things like FaceTime® and Skype®. These can be used on mobile phones, tablets, and computers (desktop or laptop). The sound can be transmitted to hearing aids with wireless capability (if not wireless, hearing aids can still function like a speakerphone), and you can see the person who is talking. We strongly urge even those who are not tech savvy to consider this option — family or friends can help set this up so that it is simple and easy to use.

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