One of the biggest problems experienced by people with hearing loss is the ability to communicate effectively on the telephone. Thankfully, hearing aid technology has advanced to the point that this has become less of a problem, as with features such as advanced noise cancellation and t-coil technology and the ability to hear clearly has been improved.

Of course, not all cell phones are equipped with those features that are compatible with today's hearing aid technologies, so it's worth having an understanding of what you should be looking for when shopping for your next phone. 

Look for a phone that incorporates telecoil technology

A telecoil is a copper wire component that expands the function of your hearing device. By linking it up to your cell phone, you will be able to hear the calls and texts coming through to your phone, despite the other noises present in the background. 

When looking for a new phone then, you want to check the t-coil rating on each mobile device. If there is no rating, then the phone won't be compatible. The higher the rating, the stronger the signal will be to your hearing aid, so these are the phones you want to go for. Your cell phone provider will be able to give you specific information, so talk to them about the models that are available. And when you're in-store, be sure to look out for the small black sign that reads Compatible with Hearing Aid T-Coil when browsing the phones on display. If you're at all unsure, ask the store manager for advice, and ask for the opportunity to test the phone before purchase.

Now, there are plenty of phones that incorporate telecoil technology, but if you're looking for specifics, it could be worth considering a specific model that offers a T4 rating, such as Apple devices. However, any phone with a rating of T3 or above is worth considering, as these offer the strongest signals. 

Look for the M rating

Hearing aids incorporate microphone technology to capture the sound waves sent from your phone. Not all phones will be compatible, but to help you in your search, be on the lookout for the M rating when browsing phones in your local electronics store. This is the microphone compatibility standard set up by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the higher the rating, the higher the signal quality you can expect. As a general rule, you should be on the lookout for those phones that have an M3 or an M4 rating. Anything lower than that then you need to reconsider your choices. 

This hearing aid compatibility chart acts as a handy guideline. Not only does it include the telecoil ratings mentioned in our last point, but it also lists those cell phones that are either M3 or M4 rated. Of course, you should also test the phones in the store when possible to ensure your hearing aid is fully compatible. 

Look for phones with hearing aid apps

If your hearing aid is equipped with Bluetooth technology, you should be able to connect it to most smartphones. As a consequence, you will then have the opportunity to download a hearing aid app that can connect to your hearing aid and you will then have the ability to do such things as turn up or turn down your hearing device, create a profile that sets the phone to the level of hearing required, adjust the noise reduction levels, track the battery life on your hearing aid and even find your misplaced hearing aid with a GPS tracker. 

It's rare to find a smartphone that doesn't have a downloadable hearing app, so you shouldn't have any difficulty in looking for one when browsing your electronic store. However, you might want to consult with your audiologist on the best hearing aid for you, as older hearing devices might not be compatible with the advances in smart phone technology.

We hope we have provided you with plenty of advice here on what to look for when on the lookout for a new cell phone. However, talk to your cell phone provider as well as to an audiologist for more advice on the matter. 

Here at Baker Audiology & Hearing Aids, we can assist you in all matters hearing aid-related, so give us a call at (605) 610-3466 and book an appointment to speak to one of our team.