Telephones and hearing aids

Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 08:36 pm
Mo's best friends mom (who is a friend of mine) wears very powerful hearing aids in both ears. I can communicate with her in person with no problem at all but I have a terrible time talking to her on the phone. There seems to be a delay and then everything sounds garbled. I can't help but wonder what it must be like for her.

Do hearing aids create problems with telephones?

Is there any way I can make it better?

Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 09:59 pm
Boomerang I wear a hearing aid and they certainly can create problems if they are not programmed for telephone reception/conversation. My first hearing aid was useless in that regard and I had to remove it every time I answered the phone. My latest one has this special program for telephone conversations included and listening and answering the phone is now a breeze. Hope this answers your question.
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 10:47 pm
If I may inquire further, Dutchy. Is this program something that can be done for any good quality hearing aid? Is it something that must be done by the pro fitter.

One you might not know, but why wouldn't all hearing aids be programmed this way; hearing impaired folks don't use phones?
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 11:21 pm
JJT, hearing aids vary in price like motor cars, they range from the cheapest Volkswagen to a Rolls Royce. The more expensive the more they can do for you. Mine is an ordinairy pair provided FREE by the Australian Government which has 4 inbuilt programs, amongst them one for the telephone. It fulfils all my needs.
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Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:06 am
Hearing aids can create all kinds of problems with phones. Simply holding the phone against the ear with the hearing aid can create unpleasant whistling and feedback for the user.

My mother has very expensive digital hearing aids that are programmed to recognize a telephone, so that significantly decreases the problem for her.

A hearing aid user can also buy a small foam rubber circle that is attached to the earpiece of the phone. That keeps the earpiece at a small distance from the ear, and that can help.

I'm not quite sure why your friend should sound garbled to you, boomerang, since the problem is really more on her end. Other than your hearing the whistling sounds from her hearing aid, I don't think the clarity of the phone transmission should be affected. But, if she has problems speaking to you, she likely has the same problem with all her phone calls.

The simplest, and easiest, solution would be for her to use the speaker phone. Since the phone isn't held against the ear, that should eliminate the problem. If her phone has speaker phone capacity ask her to try speaking with you that way.

Someone else should also try using your friend's phone in her house, to be sure the problem isn't with the phone itself or with the phone line. Garbled transmissions can be due to those factors, and would be unrelated to the hearing aids.

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Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:19 am
Your friend could buy a phone that is amplified. Some of them go to over 50 decibels, so she would not have to use them with her hearing aid.

Yes, there are aids that have phone programs, but good ones cost big bucks. Mr. P has one, but my brother is an audiologist, so he was able to get him a set at his cost. It still was very expensive.
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Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:52 am
This is very interesting! Thank you, all, for explaining this.

I'm wondering if perhaps it's cell phones that are the problem....

Her hearing problems stem from some kind of birth defect. The hearing aids she wears are really big and I think are wired to (maybe) some kind of amplifier. Could that account for the "delay"? It seems like we talk over each other. I probably need to be more patient.

Also, I'm wondering how much I rely on non-verbal communication when talking to her in person.
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 09:12 am
All hearing aids have a built in amplifier to make sounds louder. Nothing about the hearing aid your friend wears should cause a "delay" in what you hear on your end. Your friend might be pausing her own speech if she is having problems deciphering the sounds she hears. Be patient, give her more time to reply when you say something.

I think that, in general, cell phones create less problems for hearing aid users then land lines.

Your best bet would be to ask her to put her phone on speaker phone, if she can do that. That should take care of the problem, provided the speaker phone volume is loud enough for her to hear comfortably. On speaker phone, her hearing aid would not be a factor at all. My mother switches her phones to speaker phone when her hearing aids give her a problem. I bought her a telephone system with speaker phone capacity in each handset to make it even easier for her to do that.
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