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How To Choose a Cell Phone When You Have Hearing Aids

With all the different options out there today, it can be overwhelming to decide what cell phone to get. If you have hearing loss, you want to make sure that whatever one you pick works well with your hearing aids.

Hearing Aids and Smartphones

Senior man talking on his smartphone while working on his laptop.

The good news is that all smartphones are required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be hearing aid compatible (HAC). Since the vast majority of cell phones on the market today are smartphones, this makes it easier for hearing aid users to find a phone that works for them.

Check Your Phone’s M Rating To Experience Your Best Hearing

While all smartphones are hearing aid compatible, some are better choices than others. Using some cell phones with hearing aids may cause a constant buzzing noise in the background, which can distract you from your conversations. To avoid this, make sure to check a phone’s M rating before your purchase.

The M rating is a scale of 1-4 that refers to hearing capability. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), “Cell phones that are rated good or excellent for use with hearing aids set in microphone (M) mode will have a rating of M3 or M4. The higher the M rating, the less likely you will experience interference when the hearing aid is set in the microphone mode while using the cellphone.”

Smartphones For Severe Hearing Loss

If your hearing loss is more severe, you may want to consider a smartphone as well as hearing aids that are equipped with telecoils. Telecoils can direct sound to the hearing aid’s processor without needing the microphone. This can improve the sound quality of your call and eliminate your risk of feedback. You may need to switch your telecoil on before you take calls, or your hearing aid might adjust automatically, depending on the model.

Similar to the M scale, cell phones have a T scale, which is also rated 1-4, with four being the best.

Stream Calls to Your Hearing Aids with Bluetooth®

A good number of hearing aids are equipped with Bluetooth technology. This lets you pair your hearing aids with your smartphone and stream calls directly into your hearing aids. Many people prefer this as it provides clearer audio and minimal feedback in any environment, whether at the office or taking a stroll through Dornwood Park.

To learn more about hearing aids and cell phones or to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call Topeka Ear Nose & Throat today.


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