Hearing aids, phones and handy products

Making some small changes to the way you use the phone can have a big impact. And there are lots of other ways you can communicate, too.

If you have hearing loss there are some very good phones and devices that can help you hear better. You might also find that using a headset or a hands-free phone with a loudspeaker can make a big improvement when you're listening to someone.

Inductive couplers and the ‘T’ setting

It's important to know whether your hearing aid has a ‘Telecoil’ setting (often called the ‘T position’ or ‘T setting’). This works with some phones and other devices to cut out background noise, producing a really clear sound. Your phone will need to have an inductive coupler for this to work. Your GP or audiologist will be able to give your more advice, or you can find more information on the Hearing Links website

Using your hearing aid

There are two sorts of hearing aids. How to use a hearing aid with your phone depends on whether you use a 'behind the ear' or 'in the ear' model.

'In the ear' hearing aids

1. If your hearing aid has a ‘T’ setting, switch it to this. If it doesn't, then use it in the standard setting.
2. Hold the phone with the earpiece next to your ear and move it around until you get the best volume. The ear piece will then be over the hearing aid’s microphone.
3. Try not to hold the phone flat against your ear (this may cause whistling). If you do hear whistling, just move the earpiece slightly away from your ear.
4. Use your phone's volume control or speech amplifier as normal.

'Behind the ear' hearing aids

1. If your hearing aid has a ‘T’ setting, switch it to this. If it doesn't, then use it in the standard setting.
2. Hold the earpiece of the phone against the back of your ear, near your hearing aid.
3. Move the earpiece around the back of your ear until you get the best volume.
4. If you hear whistling, move the earpiece away from the centre of your ear.
5. Use your phone's volume control or speech amplifier as normal.

Using your hearing aid with an inductive coupler

Some hearing aids can be used with induction loops or inductive couplers to help you hear better on the phone. How you use this feature depends on whether you have an 'in the ear' or 'behind the ear' hearing aid.

'In the ear' hearing aids

1. Make sure your phone has an inductive coupler (all BT payphones have one).
2. Set your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting if it has one. If not, follow your hearing aid's instructions for using it with an inductive coupler.
3. Hold the earpiece of the phone just in front of or just behind your ear, and move it around until you get the best sound.
4. If you hear whistling, try moving the earpiece away from the centre of your ear. 
5. Use your phone's volume control or speech amplifier as normal.

'Behind the ear' hearing aids

1. Make sure your phone has an inductive coupler (all BT phones have one).
2. Set your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting if it has one. If not, follow your hearing aid’s instructions for using it with an inductive coupler.
3. Hold the phone earpiece against the back of your hearing aid and move it around until the sound becomes clearer.
4. You may need to adjust your hearing aid volume.
5. You can then use your phone's volume control or speech amplifier as normal.

Finding the right phone

You really do need to use the right kind of phone for your hearing aid. Look for one that says it’s hearing aid compatible or has the inductive loop icon.

BT has a wide range of phones that are ideal for people with hearing loss. Handy features include adjustable ringtones, speech volume controls, inductive couplers, SMS text messaging, headset sockets and loudspeakers.

Browse BT phones for better hearing.

Using other devices to hear better

Using mobile phones

A lot of mobile phones can now be used quite successfully with digital hearing aids, but you should still try them together to make sure that they’re compatible.

If your hearing aid picks up interference, you can try using a neck loop. This means you can keep your mobile phone away from the hearing aid to reduce interference. When you’re using a neck loop, you should switch your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting.

Get the sound in both ears with a hands-free phone

Hands free or loudspeaker phones are really good if you want to hear your caller better, because they produce a balanced sound (so you don’t hear the sound just in one ear). They’re great if you wear two hearing aids, or have severe hearing loss. Hands-free phones that use extra batteries usually give out a louder sound.


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