Using the telephone with your hearing aids

By Lisa Tseng, MD

There are a few ways you might use the telephone when wearing your hi HealthInnovations hearing aids:

» Some people can hold the phone to their ear and not having any whistling (feedback), and they hear well.

» Other people turn the volume up on their telephone, and hear quite well.

» Another option is to use a “speaker” setting on your phone, which allows you to hear the sound in both ears.

» Captioned phones, which let you read on a screen what the person on the phone is saying, and amplified phones are also options.

» In addition, there is something called a telecoil, or “t-coil” on some hearing aids. Keep reading to learn more about this!

Using the telecoil

» What is a telecoil? A telecoil, or “t-coil” is a program on the hearing aid that picks up a signal from a telephone.

» How does it work? The t-coil works by turning off the regular microphone on your hearing aid and only picking up the sounds from the phone. You can put the hearing aid on the t-coil program by pressing in the button on the back of your hearing aid until you hear 3 beeps.

When you are first using the t-coil, you will want to practice listening to someone familiar to you. You should ask that person to talk normally into the telephone, and then you will need to move the phone around a bit until you find the best sound.

Please remember when your hearing aid is on the t-coil setting, the microphone is not on, so you will not hear anything until you have a working telephone next to your ear and there is sound coming from the phone.

» Other uses of a t-coil: Some people use a t-coil with assistive listening devices called FM or audio loops. If you go to any events or religious services and the room is “looped” that means you can use your t-coil. Set your hearing aids to the telecoil program and when the speaker talks into the microphone the sound will be picked up by the “loop” and then it is goes right into your hearing aid(s). It will turn off the background noise and allow you to hear the speaker.

» Are there problems with a t-coil? You may hear interference while in the t-coil setting. There may be a “buzzing sound” from the devices. Fluorescent lighting, televisions, and computer screens may make this buzzing louder. Try to move away from these devices when using the t-coil.

Another problem that can occur is that the telephone is not “hearing aid compatible”. For example, some cordless phones do not work well with the t-coils, as there can be too much interference. You will have to use a hearing aid compatible phone.

T-coils can be a tremendous help, but you will need to get accustomed to them in the beginning. We strongly encourage you to visit your local “Hearing Loss Association of America” chapter, as many of the members of this organization have great ideas and resources available for help.

One more very important thing to remember: After you use your hearing aid compatible phone, you have to press the button on the back of your hearing aid to return it to the regular microphone setting. You should hear one “beep” to let you know the hearing aid is back to normal.