Many of today’s digital hearing aids are Bluetooth or wireless compatible, meaning they are able to connect wirelessly to Bluetooth enabled devices and other audio devices such as cell phones and you home landline. Most wireless solutions require the hearing aid wearer to use a streaming device to send the signal from the cell phone directly to your hearing aids. This allows you to use your hearing aids as a hands free headset and the signal goes to both ears which will significantly increases clarity.
New rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) require cell phone makers and service providers to make phones work better for people using hearing aids. To find out if a cell phone is hearing aid compatible look for a HAC label on the phone packaging or in user manual. Cell phones that work well with hearing aids have a microphone (M) rating of M3 or M4. If you have a hearing aid with a telecoil, look for a phone with a telecoil (T) rating of T3 or T4. If you are purchasing a new cell phone, try it in the store to make sure it works with your hearing aids.
Other features that make cell phones easier to use are:
- Volume control
- Vibrating alerts or vibrating accessory
- Flashing screen
- Different ringer volume and tones
- Text messaging services
- Speaker phone
- Teletypewriter (TTY) or other assistive device connections