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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.

Other ways to communicate

Phoning is not for everyone. If it's just not an option, there are lots of other ways you can enjoy chatting to people nowadays.

Using some of the newer technology like textphones, e-mail and instant messaging, it's easier than ever to have different sorts of conversations both at work and at home.

  • Using a Textphone

    If you find it difficult to hear people over the phone, you could try using a textphone. Textphones are great because they let you have typed telephone conversations. Your caller's voice is translated into text which appears on your phone's screen. It's all done by a simple service called Text Relay. There's no extra charge for using Text Relay and it's easy to use.

    Find out about Text Relay

    Read more about using a Textphone
    • More about

      Text messages

      You can send and receive text messages (SMS) over a landline as well as on your mobile phone. All that you need to be able to use the BT Text service is a compatible phone and a BT landline. If you want to receive messages as text rather than as voice messages you will also need to subscribe to our Caller Display service (you can do this via BT customer services or online).

      Find out about BT Text

      Download 'Communication Choices'

      If you want to know more about textphones, SMS messaging and Text Relay have a look at our downloadable guide called Communication Choices: For deaf or hard of hearing people.

      PDF document – opens in Adobe ReaderDownload Communication Choices

  • Using the internet

    The internet is a really good way of connecting with people and lets you have conversations in different ways. If you like using a keyboard and computer screen it is a great alternative option to using the phone. If you are just starting out or if you want to give someone a hand at getting connected to the internet, have a look at our Getting Online section.

    Find out about how to get online

    Read more about using the internet
    • More about


      Typing and sending an e-mail has become a pretty universal way of communicating with individuals or groups of people. Nowadays it's easy to send e-mails from your computer and from many mobile phones. E-mails are good for having conversations across long distances, or for sending and receiving documents and pictures.

      Instant messaging

      Instant messaging (IM) lets you have live conversations or 'chat' on screen with people over your PC. A window opens on your computer screen and you type a message into the message box. Once you hit 'send' it appears on the other persons screen so they can reply in the same way. You need to sign up for an IM address and ask your contact for theirs. You might find BT Live Chat a helpful way of contacting us with any questions you have.


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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