Hearing aids and mobile phones have not always gotten along as well as they do today. The complex electronics in both devices often triggered static, lost words or screeching interference noises. Technology enhancements along with new regulations have mostly eliminated this problem. Nowadays cell phone – hearing aid compatibility isn’t the challenge it once was. The labeling requirements mandated by the new government regulations make it easy to find a mobile phone that is compatible with your hearing aid.

The first thing you need to understand is that hearing aids operate in two different modes – microphone or “M” mode, and telecoil or “T” mode. When your hearing aid is in M mode, it uses the built-in microphone to pick up audible sounds from around you and amplify them to make them easier for you to hear. In T mode, the hearing aid instead uses an inductive process to pick up electromagnetic signals inside the phone directly, without the need for a microphone. The T mode is important when shopping for a phone, because at least 60% of hearing aids sold in the U.S. have one.

The two modes – M and T – are each rated on a scale of 1 to 4 where 1 is the lowest sensitivity and 4 is the highest. To be labeled as hearing aid compatible (HAC) a cell phone must carry a minimum rating of M3 or T3.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants have a similar M and T rating system to certify how sensitive they are in each mode, and how resistant they are to radio frequency interference. If you know the M and T ratings for your hearing aid, to determine its compatibility with any mobile phone, just add the two sets of ratings together. If you get a combined total of 6 or more, that is thought of as excellent, a combination of hearing aid and phone that will be highly usable. A combined rating of 5 is thought of as normal, and suitable for most people. A sum of 4 is considered acceptable, but if you are a heavy cell phone user, you may be disappointed or frustrated with this choice.

If you are shopping for a mobile phone online, you can usually use this combined rating to determine how compatible the phone you are interested in buying will be with your hearing aid. If you are able to shop in a store that allows you to “try before you buy” and actually use the phone you want while wearing your hearing aid, that is of course a better idea.

Call Now
Find Location