What’s the Best Phone if You Wear Hearing Aids?

Thanks to advances in technology, hearing aids can now connect to smartphones. Bluetooth technology, a feature many of us use on our phones, can even turn hearing aids into much, much more than devices that help you hear better when you’re talking to your spouse or watching television. Thanks to this advanced technology, you may be able to stream your phone calls, music, podcasts, and favorite television programming directly to your hearing aids, but only if they are compatible with the device source, in most cases your smartphone.

Two technologies—one goal

Hearing aids and smartphones are both important technologies in today’s world. Often, someone has purchased a smartphone long before buying hearing aids, or vice versa. Or, the individual is in the market for new hearing aids, a new smartphone, or both.

To say that the technology is confusing to most people is probably an understatement, so here are a few basics to be aware of:

  • iPhone iOS platform—A smartphone from Apple, called an iPhone, uses an operating system called the iOS platform. The upside of an iPhone, at least when it comes to hearing aids, is its compatibility. These phones offer a complete range of features to aid in communication, such as support of hearing devices, live captions and subtitles, along with many others. Most hearing aids should work with iPhone models released since 2014, including the iPhone 7 series, but the manufacturer recommends checking with your audiologist before purchasing an iPhone to be sure it is compatible with your devices. The downside to an iPhone is its cost. While an iPhone can be very versatile and has almost every available feature, the cost to purchase a new iPhone may be a limitation.
  • Android platform—An Android platform phone uses a mobile operating system that has been around for nearly 15 years. Google owns this mobile operating system. Android is the world’s most popular operating system with nearly 70% of the market share, compared to Apple’s 30%. Brands of smartphones you might recognize include Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy. These phones also can be expensive and complex, so be sure to do your homework to ensure compatibility before you buy. Not all Android phones are compatible to stream to hearing aids.

While both types of operating systems have different features, their primary goal is the same—to help us communicate better with one another. That’s one reason why as both types of operating systems have evolved, they have developed more accessibility features, making it easier than ever to connect with one another.

For individuals in the market for hearing aids, a smartphone, or both, the best advice on this complex topic is to talk with an audiologist before purchasing either one. The audiologist can confirm with the manufacturer if the new smartphone you have your eye on is compatible with the hearing aids you wear. The salesperson at the phone store is probably not the best resource for this information.

Likewise, if you already have a smartphone you love, the audiologist can check for hearing devices that are compatible with the phone. This can ensure that your smartphone and hearing aids can communicate with one another, which in turn enhances your ability to hear your best and make the best use of the technology at your fingertips.

To confirm hearing aid and smartphone compatibility, talk with a doctoral-level audiologist. Your audiologist also may be able to help you pair these devices, and can help you activate all the features to help you hear your best.

Schedule an appointment with a doctoral-level audiologist.