When a phone is stated to be hearing aid compatible, it means that the output from the phone can be heard directly through the hearing aid and not from the handset of the phone.
How is this achieved?
This is achieved in a similar fashion as Bluetooth connectivity between earpieces and phones albeit it that it uses a different form of wireless sound transmission. The sound is transmitted and received by a mini loop system or telecoil. Phones that are hearing aid compatible have an induction loop in the handset which, when placed at an appropriate proximity to a hearing aid, transmits the speakers voice directly to the hearing aids. This then removes the reliance on the handset to produce an acceptable level of volume as this is provided by the settings within the hearing aid. In order to ensure that this functions correctly, the hearing aid must be in its telecoil programme.
Most hearing aids issued by the NHS and a good proportion of those bought privately have this function within them (to establish whether your hearing aid has this function, you can check the user guide or contact your hearing aid provider). In some hearing aids this is an automatic function and in others the programme must be manually chosen. The latter is achieved by either a switch on the outside of the hearing aid being set to the 'T' position or by scrolling through the different programme options via a pushbutton or remote control unit until in the telecoil programme.
Once the hearing aid is set in this position, the phone must be placed within a certain distance to enable the loop system to connect. This distance can vary according to the hearing aid model and the phone model and so a little experimentation is often required to establish a good connection.
One of the major advantages of a good hearing aid compatible mobile phone is that it removes the need to bypass the hearing aid in order to use it. In fact it is designed to take full advantage of the hearing aids functionality. Most mobile phones that are hearing aid compatible also come with higher levels of amplification than ordinary mobile phones and as such can be used in their compatible modes or as an amplified phone without the use of a hearing aid.
The range of mobile phones we have that offer this additional option can be identified by the telecoil symbol which can be found on their description.
If you would like more information on how hearing aids and mobile phones can be connected in this way or would like more information on a specific model then please do call us on 0800 032 1301 where we would be delighted to help.