Individuals with hearing impairments face many challenges, including telephone use. Hearing aids can be of great assistance, and individuals have two general options for combining these devices with telephone technology. One may purchase a telephone that synchronizes with one's hearing aid, or some facilities make available telephone compatible hearing aid devices like headsets. In the former case, one typically needs to have the hearing aid on a certain setting for proper functioning. Placement of the phone and proper setup measures are also important for combining a telephone with a hearing aid.
Most phones made in the 21st century are hearing aid-compatible. This means that the phone has a magnetic strip that emits an electromagnetic signal which the hearing aid converts into better audio quality. Types of hearing aids that have a T-setting — with a telecoil installed inside — work with such phones. The telecoil is a combination of copper wiring and metal that turns magnetic energy into electrical audio energy. In order to use a compatible telephone with a hearing aid, the individual simply puts the phone up to his or her ear, but places the hearing aid on the T-setting.
Positioning of the phone is important in using a telephone with a hearing aid. The phone should typically be held at a position near the aid’s microphone. As such, one will usually place the telephone’s hearing portion at the ear’s top and front. The mold, bud, or foam inside the ear should be pulled slightly out of the ear canal while using the phone. Further, the aid should remain on a setting for normal noise levels and the phone should not be too close to the ear in order to avoid unwanted sound feedback.
If the hearing aid possesses a wired loop system, the process of using a telephone with a hearing aid is slightly different. In this case, the hearing aid should be put on a loop setting and placement of the telephone should be in close proximity to the loop connection at the ear’s back. Loop systems can eliminate background noise interference and amplify distant sounds. Public phones and many cellular phones frequently use this type of hearing aid system.
Individuals can also equip a telephone with a hearing aid by purchasing a specialized headset. Such devices should come with an adapter. Once a compatible headset is purchased with an earpiece that goes over the ear rather than in it, an individual should then plug the adapter into a portion of the phone called the handset jack. Following this step, the headset can be plugged into the adapter.