Smartphones can remotely control hearing aid features - such as volume - or help you find your hearing aids if they are misplaced, through apps.
If you are in the process of looking for a new phone that’s compatible with your hearing aids, here are some things to take into consideration:
Just like smartphones, hearing aid technology becomes increasingly innovative each year, so it’s important to ask your hearing aid provider about a suitable solution that will work with your smartphone. They can also help you connect the hearing aids to your smartphone.
All Smartphones are Compatible with Hearing Aids
Smartphones are currently used by the vast majority of cell phone owners. There are constantly new models and features that are readily available for the general population, and the FCC regulates them in order to make sure they are hearing aid compatible (HAC).
Smartphones used by People with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
Acoustic coupling is a hearing aid feature that allows users to speak over their phones like normal, while the microphone on the hearing aid automatically picks up the sound. Many people with mild to moderate hearing loss benefit from this feature. It is important to note there’s a chance that background noise can get picked up by the hearing aids’ microphones.
When shopping for a smartphone, look for the M rating. This signifies whether the phone is compatible with hearing aids. The M scale goes from 1 to 4 - 4 illustrates the highest compatibility level. A higher rating suggests that there will be less background and feedback noise, but some unwanted noise may still be heard. The most common rating is M3. Every iPhone that is currently on the market is rated through this category.
Smartphones used by People with Severe Hearing Loss
If you experience severe hearing loss - or if you often use your smartphone and want a clearer signal - switch on the hearing aid’s telecoil (t-coil). T-coils transfer sounds to the hearing aid’s processor without using the microphone.
The t-coil may automatically switch on, or it may need to be manually switched to telecoil or T mode. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist if you have more questions about this. When you are looking for and testing out different phones, keep this information in mind. Pay attention to the T grade for hearing aid compatibility if you plan on using the telecoil feature.
The T rating is also on a scale from one to four - one being the worst, and four being the best. T4 is used in most modern smartphones. If you want to direct sound through Bluetooth®, you need to make sure your hearing aid is compatible with your specific smartphone. Some hearing aids are only compatible with Android® phones, and others are only compatible with iPhones®.
Another important feature to consider with your smartphone is volume control. A control for the ringer volume is available so that you don’t miss a call. Choosing your own ringtone, one that you can hear better than others, is also something to consider.
You also have the option of having a vibration or flashing lights on your phone when someone calls.
If you prefer texting to communicate with others, you’ll probably want a phone package that has unlimited texting with a keyboard that’s easy to use.
If you are also looking for a new pair of hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary consultation with one of our providers. They will give advice on the smartphone that would work best for your hearing aids.