Hearing Aids and Cell Phone Use
Cell phones represent an opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family. Gone are the days of a once weekly phone call, rationed out on the basis of cost. The move away from landlines to the flexibility of a cell phone package means that friends and family can call with their latest news whenever the mood strikes them.
This is backed up by statistics which show that it’s not just youngsters adapting to mobile technology, but seniors, too. Up to 75% of seniors own a cell phone, with around 50% of the over 55 group owning a smart phone.
If you suffer from hearing loss, then simply holding your cell phone up to your hearing aid may not necessarily be the answer. The problem is that background noise is also amplified, and your brain may struggle to edit out the superfluous noises from what you want to hear. This makes holding a conversation in a noisy place like trying to hear underwater; the sounds are confused, muffled, and hard to make sense of.
For many years digital technology was a novelty which allowed wireless streaming of your cell phone signal to the hearing device. This has the great advantage of sending the message to both hearing aids. It provides the listener with two points of reference (both ears!) which improves the ability to edit out unwanted sound. Now, this feature is almost standard on most hearing aids.
While Bluetooth technology is in an improvement over previous options of holding the phone to your ear and listening directly, it lacks the gold standard of clear amplified hearing because of the intrusion of background noise, superimposed on that vital news your daughter is trying to impart.
This can leave you feeling conflicted when the phone rings. On one hand, it’s great to stay in touch and you love having people call, but on the downside, it gets wearing for everyone involved when you are constantly asking them to repeat information.
However, new help is at hand in the form of Adaptive Streaming Volume. This system has the positive effect of overcoming the masking effect that background noise has on a phone signal, even one streamed wirelessly. Adaptive Streaming Volume works by boosting the volume of cell phone signal when the program detects rises in background sound. Thus, the transmitted volume of the caller’s speech rises and falls in a non-intrusive way in direct response to rises and falls in ambient noise around the user.
If you struggle to hear phone conversations, you now have an alternative to an acoustic telephone. The great news is that it’s also compatible with your cell phone, so you don’t have to sacrifice flexibility of use and convenience to taking an active part on the conversation.