Hearing aids and telephones

Published 09/27 2010 02:31PM

Updated 01/17 2014 03:42PM

Yes! For some people, select hearing aid models like CIC or open fit BTE instruments require no special features or adaptations for using the telephone. With other models, a telecoil or automatic telecoil feature in the hearing aid can be used to pick up the signal from the telephone directly, without using the hearing aid's microphone. This enables wearers to hold the telephone against the ear or hearing aid without being bothered by feedback or whistling that can occur. Use of telecoil or automatic telecoil requires a hearing aid compatible telephone, or in some cases use of a small magnet accessory that attaches to the telephone handset.

Some cell phones may cause radio frequency interference with hearing aids, causing static, buzzing or crackling sounds. However, each cell phone manufacturer is required by law to make several models that are hearing aid compatible. When buying a new cell phone, be sure to ask the salesperson to show you hearing aid compatible models. In addition, the FDA recommends trying different cell phone brands and models before you buy in order to determine which may work best for you with your hearing aids.

New technology is available with some premium hearing aids that enables wearers to connect their hearing aids to Bluetooth enabled cell phones wirelessly through a small remote-sized accessory. Not only does this enable convenient hands-free cell phone conversations, it also routes the cell phone signal to both hearing aids simultaneously so wearers can listen on the phone using both ears for optimum hearing.

There are also a variety of amplified telephone solutions for people who have difficulty hearing on the telephone. If you have difficulties hearing on the telephone, however, chances are you're having difficulty in other areas as well and an amplified telephone may not serve all your hearing needs.

Speak with your hearing care professional to determine which solutions would be best for your hearing needs.

Paul Dybala Ph.D. President & Editor-in-chief, Healthy Hearing

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