What is the longest time you’ve ever taken away from your phone? You’ve probably never stepped out of your home without a phone, let alone stay in one room with your phone in the other. We frequently need to call our loved ones, our business partners, and everybody else who matters to us. Now imagine how it could be if you suddenly suffer a hearing impairment or lose your sense of hearing. It will have a huge impact on your being and particularly how you use your phone.
Who Can Suffer Hearing Loss and may need phones for the deaf?
Anybody can suffer hearing loss. Some people are born with it while others lose their hearing gradually due to disease, age, loud noises medications, accidents, and much more. A hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. The term hard of hearing means that someone still has some hearing capability present—it is used to refer to someone with mild to severe hearing loss. On the other hand, a deaf person refers to an individual with profound hearing loss. They have very little to no hearing ability at all.
If you expose yourself to high levels of noise for long, you are likely to suffer a permanent hearing impairment. Fortunately, some loss of hearing can be prevented before you go for hearing aids or phones for the deaf.
The World Health Organization estimates that 16% of hearing losses are occupational. To protect your ears from this kind of hearing loss, ensure you protect your ears every time you are working in a noisy environment. You can use earplugs or earmuffs to reduce the intensity or loudness of the sound, reaching your eardrum.
If you love listening to music through headphones or earbuds, do it for a shorter time. Also, make sure the volume is not at the maximum level. Give your ears enough time to rest after exposing them to loud noises such as in a concert or bar. Keep your ears dry and healthy, and practice other healthy habits that will preserve your hearing ability.
Hearing Loss Diagnosis
A hearing loss is diagnosed by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor. An audiologist then helps identify the type of hearing loss you have for a more customized treatment. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be recommended to use a hearing aid. A hearing aid helps you hear some of the sounds you’ve had trouble hearing.
The Challenges of Having a Hearing Impairment
The ability to hear can never be overestimated. You need to hear your alarm ring in the morning, enjoy conversations with friends and family, listen to nice music and so on. The only time you may need not to hear is when sleeping and even so your hearing ability is still important. Consequently, a hearing impairment is no mean feat. People with a hearing impairment also tend to isolate themselves because they have a difficult time holding conversations. As a result, they may become depressed.
Phones for The Deaf
A loss of hearing hugely affects the way you use your phone. It generally becomes difficult to use ordinary phones hence the need for phones for the deaf. But how do you know that you need a hearing impaired phone? Below are a few situations to help you:
- You hardly hear your phone ring
- You’ve set your phone volume to the highest level.
- When talking over the phone, you keep asking the other person to repeat themselves or speak loudly.
- Your friends and family keep telling you to reduce the volume on your television or radio.
Hearing Aids and Phones for The Deaf
A hearing aid is an electronic device that is used to improve hearing in people with a hearing difficulties. It amplifies the sound and reduces unwanted noise levels hence helping them to hear better. It can be worn inside the ear or behind it.
Phones for the deaf make it easy for people with a hearing impairment to communicate. These phones are able to boost the sound that reaches your eardrum and even filter background noise so you can easily grasp whatever the other person is saying. To make your phone conversation even better, you need a hearing aid that is compatible with your phone.
A lot of mobile phone companies manufacture hearing aid compatible phones. It is, however, challenging to know which of these phones can work best with your hearing aids. It is for this reason that we at Sandia Hearing Aids in Colorado Springs chose to help our clients narrow down to phones that are compatible with their hearing aids. We understand the frustrations that come with a hearing impairment and cannot hesitate to help you make the best of your situation. We also help you set up your phone’s connection with your hearing aid
If you are thinking of getting yourself a hearing aid compatible phone, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What is the extent of your hearing impairment?
- Do you want a cellphone or a landline?
- Are you a frequent or infrequent phone user?
Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
People with mild to moderate hearing loss can use regular cell phones alongside hearing aids. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that all cellphones—smartphones, mobile phones, among others be hearing aid compatible. Hearing aids have a microphone that helps pick up the sound coming from your phone. When searching for a cell phone that is hearing aid compatible, check its M rating— It usually ranges from 1 to 4. A higher M rating means a higher hearing aid compatibility.
Severe Hearing Loss
If you have a severe hearing loss, make sure the telecoil in your hearing aid is turned on when using your phone. The telecoil directs the sound to the hearing aid processor without using the microphone. It also filters background noise better. Sandia Hearing Aids in Colorado Springs will help you switch on your telecoil and teach you how to use it with your phone. Always check the T rating of the phone you want to buy. Just like the M rating, T rating ranges from 1 to 4 with four being the highest.
Landlines (Inclusive of Cordless Phones)
The Federal Communications Commission requires that all workplace, public and emergency phones be Hearing Aid Compatible(HAC). However, if you are searching for a landline, or cordless phone, it is still essential that you look for a home phone that is marked as HAC. Also, make sure the phone is M and T rated.
Other Features to Consider When Buying Phones for The Deaf
When shopping for a hearing-impaired phone, remember to check the volume control for the ringer. It needs to be well adjustable so that you can hear every time someone calls. Ensure it also has a variety of ringtones to choose from. Some tones are easier to hear than others.
Some phones can translate speech to text. When using landlines, for example, you can be reading the text on the screen while listening to the audio.
Text messages can be a lifesaver if you’ve totally lost your hearing because it only needs your eyesight. Go for phones with good type pads for easy and quick typing.
Incoming Call Alerts
A phone that can flash or vibrate can save you from having to rely on an auditory signal. Almost all mobile phones have this feature. If you are looking for a landline, ensure it has the flash or vibrates when someone is calling.