The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) necessitates that all cell phone companies and service providers manufacture phones that are hearing aid friendly. In order to meet regulation standards, phones must now create less static, less interference, and better telecoil connections.
Cell phones that work sufficiently with hearing aids will have a microphone (M) rating of M3 or M4. A high M number means a clearer sound. If you have a telecoil hearing aid, then look for a phone that has a telecoil (T) rating of T3 or T4.
Your hearing aid uses a similar rating system to let you know how smoothly they work in the microphone or telecoil mode. With a rating range of 1 to4, a higher number equates a more precise sound and better connection. Most hearing aids will have both a microphone and a telecoil rating. Adding the two numbers up will give you the combined rating. A combined rating of 6 is considered the best, while a rating of 5 or 4 is considered usable, it’s not acceptable for regular phone usage. If you are unsure of your devices M/T rating, please ask your audiologist.
When shopping for a cell phone, look for the hearing aid combatable label (HAC). It’s usually displayed on the phone’s packaging or in the manual. If there is no label then the phone is not HAC. Also, you may want to check out additional convenient features that cell phones offer. Such as:
Display and keypad lighting Various ringer and volume options Flashing screen to alert incoming calls Vibrating alarms Speech-to-text
Implementing an add-on device can make your cell phone and hearing aid connection better. Because these devices but a distance between the two, interference decreases dramatically. Earbuds that connect to the amplifier and microphone prove to be quite useful as well.
As with any purchase, know the policy on cancellation and returns. Do your research on cell phones and their plans to find the right one for your lifestyle.