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Hearing better on the phone

Using the phone affects everybody's hearing. We hear things differently through a handset because the sounds are changed. Over your lifetime your hearing changes too. People's hearing starts to change naturally, so if you think your hearing has changed it's quite normal.

Hearing aids, phones and handy products

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 loudspeaker phone can make a big improvement when you're listening to someone.

  • Using a hearing aid on the phone

    There are different sorts of phones and different sorts of hearing aids, so it's important to know what sort of phone and what sort of hearing aid you have. Most new hearing aids are digital, but there are plenty of analogue models still around and you can use both with your home phone. It's a good idea to find out if your hearing aid has a special phone setting or "Telecoil" mode. Your GP or audiologist can help.

    Read more about using a hearing aid on the phone
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      Using your hearing aid

      You can use both analogue and digital hearing aids with your phone. It does make a difference whether you use a 'behind the ear' or 'in the ear' model though.

      'In the ear' hearing aids

      1. If your hearing aid has a telephone mode, switch to this setting. 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 microphone of the hearing aid
      3. Holding the phone flat against your ear may cause whistling
      4. Use your phone's volume control or speech amplifier as normal

      'Behind the ear' hearing aids

      1. If your hearing aid has a telephone mode, switch to this setting. 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 in the loop mode

      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'* built in
      2. If you have a 'T' switch, move it to the 'T' position or operate the loop according to your hearing aid's instructions
      3. Hold the earpiece of the phone just in front or just behind your ear and move it around for the best volume
      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'* built in
      2. If you have a 'T' switch, move it to the 'T' position or operate the loop according to your hearing aid instructions
      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

      *All BT payphones have this facility

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  • Phones to help hearing

    BT has a really wide range of phones that are ideal for people with a loss of hearing. They feature adjustable ringtones, speech volume controls, inductive couplers, SMS text messaging, headset sockets and loudspeakers, plus many more really handy features like cordless and hands free.

    Browse BT phones for better hearing

    Read more about phones to help hearing
    • More about

      Other advice

      If you need help with speech, vision, mobility or other disabilities take a look at our Including You homepage for more advice about making calling easier.

      Get more phone advice

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  • Using other devices to hear better

    Use the right phone

    You really do need to use the right kind of phone with your hearing aid. Using a digital cordless phone with an analogue hearing can cause interference. Some mobile phones can also cause problems with analogue hearing aids.

    Read more about using devices
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      Using mobile phones

      Early mobile phones and older hearing aids used to pick up a lot of interference, but as technology has improved this has reduced. Mobile phones can now be used quite successfully with digital hearing aids, but you should still try them together to ensure they are compatible. It is also worth noting that with a mobile phone, the hearing aid should be used without switching to the 'T' setting as this can produce interference.

      If your hearing aid is not digital or still picks up interference you can try using a neck loop. This will enable you to keep your mobile phone away from the hearing aid to reduce interference. When using a neck loop you should switch your hearing aid to the "T" position.

      Using headsets

      If you use a headset you can usually still use your hearing aid 'T' setting with your phone's handset. We also make a number of BT headsets with noise cancelling microphones to reduce background noise.

      Hands free phones

      Hands free or loudspeaker phones are really good if you want to hear your caller better because they produce a balanced sound. They are great if you wear two hearing aids or have severe hearing loss. Hands free phones that use additional batteries usually give a better boost to the phone's performance to help you hear better.

      Hearing the phone ring

      BT ToneCaller lets you know your phone is ringing with an extra sound alert and adjustable volume control.

      Read about BT ToneCaller

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Understanding hearing impairments

It's not always obvious when someone you're calling has a hearing impairment. Find out what the signs are and what you can do to make things easier.

Understand hearing impairments