If you have or are planning to get hearing aids, you may be worried about how they will impact your cell phone usage. In the past, finding a cell phone that worked with hearing aids was often difficult.
Recently however, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules for cell phone makers that make it easier to find cell phones that work with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Some of these new rules force the companies to manufacture devices with less static, less interference, and better telecoil connections to provide clear sound.
Even with these rules, not all cell phones are created for individuals that use hearing aids. To find out if a cell phone is compatible with hearing aids or cochlea implants, look for the label in the following places (some phones may not have a label, which indicates that the phone is not compatible):
- In the cell phone user’s manual
- On the cell phone’s package
- On a display card at the store
On the label, check the microphone (M) rating. M3 or M4 ratings work best with hearing aids; higher M numbers indicate better clarity of sound. To find out if a cell phone is compatible with hearing aids or cochlea implants with a telecoil, check the telecoil (T) rating. Telecoil ratings of T3 or T4 will make your conversations clearer; a higher T rating means you will be able to hear better in the telecoil mode.
Some hearing aids provide recommendations for cell phones. Talk to your audiologist for advice.
Here are some other features that you should consider when buying a cellphone:
- Simple volume control
- Display and keypad lighting control (important because lighting is a source of noise for telecoil users)
- Ringer volume control
- Ease of use
- Speaker phone clarity (increased distance from the phone may reduce interference)
Source: American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association