Shopping for a hearing aid telephone? Review these helpful tips and facts first.
If you wear hearing aids, you may be in the market for a hearing aid compatible telephone. These phones work directly with your hearing aids to amplify or enhance sound quality by directing sound into your device. Finding the right model for you depends on several factors, such as your preferences and unique hearing needs. In this article, we’re providing helpful tips and facts about hearing aid compatible telephones that can help you make the right purchasing decision for you, including:
- Benefits of hearing aid compatible telephones
- Types of phones available
- M and T ratings
- Features to look for
- How to purchase a phone
- Getting the most out of your phone
Learn more about each of these tips for purchasing a hearing aid compatible telephone below.
Benefits of hearing aid compatible telephones
Hearing aid telephones provide benefits that go beyond hearing aid compatibility. These phones also often come with a host of other tone control and amplification features that can make it easier for people with hearing loss to communicate over the phone. If you wear a hearing aid and struggle to catch every word of phone conversations, or frequently need to ask your caller to repeat themselves, you could likely benefit from a hearing loss telephone with captions and hearing aid compatibility. There are many options available that will check off every box on your list, including those listed in our next point.
Types of phones available
There are many hearing aid compatible (HAC) telephones available on the market. While the FCC requires workplace, public, and emergency phones to be compatible, you can purchase a landline or mobile phone that also has this compatibility for personal use.
- Landlines: Some landline phones, including cordless models, are hearing aid compatible. In addition to hearing aid compatibility, you can also look for phones with captioning technology for the added benefit of reading captions of everything your caller says. Amplification and additional tone control adjustments are also available on some models.
- Mobile: If you’d prefer a hearing aid compatible telephone on-the-go, you may be relieved to know that the FCC requires all cell phone makers and service providers to develop hearing aid compatible telephones. However, not all mobile phones will have the same level of compatibility. You can review the “M and T” ratings to determine if it will work for you (more on this below).
M and T ratings
When you are shopping for a phone, it’s important to pay attention to the designated M and T ratings. The M rating ranges from 1 to 4, with 4 being the best compatibility. This rating means that there will be less distracting noise and feedback coming through the phone and into your hearing aids. M3 is the most common rating for cell phones, with all iPhone models currently on the market rated at this range.
T rating refers to compatibility with the telecoil in your hearing aids. This feature can improve the signal by directing sound to your hearing aid processor without using the microphone. T rating also ranges from 1 to 4, with most cell phones today rated as T4.
Features to look for
In addition to hearing aid compatibility, there are several other features you may be interested in looking for in your new phone, including:
- Captioned technology: Not only can these phones direct sound into your hearing aid, but they can also provide written captions of the conversation to help you follow along. CapTel captioned telephones for hearing loss come with a hearing aid compatible handset while also offering the peace of mind that comes with written captions.
- Hands-free: A hands-free speaker function means you don’t need to hold your hearing aid compatible telephone as close to your hearing aid. This feature is especially useful if you wear two hearing aids because the sound will go to both ears – as if the person you are talking to is in the same room.
- Amplification: Amplifier phones with hearing aid compatibility allow you to turn up the volume and amplify incoming sounds louder than a traditional phone. This level of amplification typically ranges between 50-90dB, depending on your model.
- Caller ID: This feature is standard in many newer landline models and is built into all cell phones. Caller ID allows you to see who is calling directly on the screen so that you can adjust your settings based on the voice of the speaker, if needed.
- Vibrating alerts and accessories: Some newer phone models provide vibrating alerts and visual indicators of incoming calls or answering machine messages.
- Customizable display settings: Adjustable font sizes, colors, and captions can help you personalize your new hearing aid telephone to suit your specific needs.
- Customizable audio settings: Additional audio features to look out for in a new phone includes volume control and tone frequency control.
Together, these features can provide additional customization to ensure your new hearing aid compatible telephone addresses your unique hearing needs.
How to purchase a phone
Hearing aid compatible telephones are available for purchase through their respective providers. There are many options, so be sure to do your research on different models before making a purchasing decision. If you are interested in a CapTel captioned phone, you can order one online or you may be also be eligible for a CapTel phone at no cost to you with a signed professional certification from your hearing health professional. Once your certification form is received, we will contact you to arrange for free delivery and installation support.
Getting the most out of your phone
Once you have your new phone, we recommend reviewing your user manual to understand all the features and customizations available. Adjusting the amplification, tone settings, and caption color and font sizes can help you tailor your new hearing aid telephone to your personal hearing preferences. For your convenience, a one-touch customer support button is available on all CapTel captioned phones to help answer any questions you may have.
Find more helpful resources for people with hearing loss on our blog. If you are interested in purchasing a CapTel captioned telephone with hearing aid compatibility, reach out to our friendly customer service team online or 800.233.9130 today.