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Hearing Aid Compatible Phones: What To Know Before You Buy

blue bte hearing aid held in hand

According to Healthy Hearing, although about 28.8 million Americans could benefit from wearing hearing aids, less than 16% have ever used them. As such, you are certainly not alone if you experience hearing loss that impacts your quality of life to varying degrees. Luckily, hearing aid technology has improved significantly over the past few years with the growth of digital technology. Today, there are hearing aid compatible phones that you can invest in to make the performance of your aids even better. Here are some things worth knowing about hearing aid compatible phones so you can select the best option for your unique needs.

Hearing aid compatible phones

Nowadays, cellphones are carried by individuals of all ages. These devices have revolutionized how you contact friends and family and stay abreast of what is going on worldwide. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all mobile phones to be hearing aid compatible (HAC), allowing you to take advantage of the latest innovations and select the best phones on the market despite having hearing loss.

Hearing aid compatibility ratings

All phones have a HAC rating, but finding one with the right level of hearing aid compatibility is crucial. Phones are graded in two distinct areas, namely:

The M rating

This rating defines the device's microphone capability and whether it is ideal for use with a hearing aid. The M rating ranges from 1-4. A high M rating means you can easily use your mobile phone with your hearing aid on the microphone settings.

The T rating

This rating defines whether a cellphone is designed to be used with a hearing that has a telecoil. The T rating also ranges from 1-4. Generally, a rating of at least three in both categories will suffice for you and your needs.

Hearing aid compatible phones for mild or moderate hearing loss

It is vital to see an audiologist to determine what level of hearing loss you have before purchasing a smartphone, so keep this in mind. If your audiologist diagnoses you with mild to moderate hearing loss, you will likely be able to use regular phones without much trouble. If you would rather not put the phone receiver by your ear while your hearing aid is on, you can take it off and use the phone normally.

However, your microphone might pick up some background noise, creating some distortion or causing a feedback loop. Thankfully, you can take off your hearing aid for a clearer phone call or put the phone receiver further away if you experience this.

If these suggestions fail, you may need to buy a phone with an RF interference rating. These ratings range from M1 to M4, with M3 and M4 being the most popular handset by those experiencing hearing loss. These phones offer better protection against interference, so you will enjoy clear calls with less background noise.

Hearing aid compatible phones for severe hearing loss

Your audiologist may recommend a phone made explicitly for hearing loss if you experience severe hearing loss. Your hearing aid can assist you better if it has a "telecoil" setting. This setting allows your hearing aid to process sound without using a microphone, improving the signal-to-noise ratio and eliminating any feedback you may experience. The telecoil feature may automatically turn on or require you to switch into telecoil or "T mode," so ask your audiologist for more details if you are unclear on how to navigate this setting.

Selecting landlines

Although landlines are less popular these days, the FCC still requires them to be hearing aid compatible. Therefore, consider the same M and T rating system when selecting a home phone. Also, certain landlines come with great features like flashing lights for incoming calls and particularly loud ringers that are beneficial if you have any type of hearing loss.

Bluetooth

Many modern hearing aids come with several in-built technologies for connectivity like Bluetooth. As such, you may want to consider purchasing a pair of hearing aids that support Bluetooth so you can use these hearing aids as headphones for playing music, answering calls, and other audio-related things.

About Rametta Audiology & Hearing Aid Center

We are a Pennsylvania-based hearing aid center offering a broad range of services, including hearing aid repair and hearing tests. Also, our diverse lineup of hearing aids ensures that you can find a suitable device for you and have it fit and programmed to your unique needs.

Reach out to us today at (724) 224-6811 or (724) 567-7381 to learn more about us.