In recent years, the government has teamed up with cell phone manufacturers to ensure that everyone can safely and comfortably use a cell phone. In a world where everyone has a phone on them at almost all times, it’s more important than ever that hearing-impaired people have the opportunity to have this technology as well. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Federal Communications Commission now requires cell phone makers to create phones and accessories that cater to people with hearing aids, ear pieces and cochlear implants.
Tips for Finding a Hearing Aid-Friendly Cell Phone
- Look for a hearing aid compatible label on the phone. Hearing aid compatible, or HAC, phones will have an HAC label on the device itself. This label can be found either on the information card at the cell phone retailer, on the package of the phone itself or inside the user manual for the cell phone. This label ensures that you are getting a phone that works well with hearing aids and cochlear implants. It’s the first step you should take when looking for a cell phone for someone who needs assistance in order to hear.
- Ask about the cell phone rating and how it combines with your hearing aid rating. You will want to find a cell phone that has a microphone rating of at least M3, and possibly even M4. You will also want the phone to have a telecoil rating of T3 or T4, as this helps to create a clear conversation. Combine the phone ratings with the ratings on your hearing aids to decide which phone will be best for you. Ideally, you will want to have a combined rating of about 6 â€” this is the best possible score. However, a score of 4 and 5 is considered to be usable and should work out just fine.
- Choose a phone with light-up alerts as well as vibration features. This means that the user will be alerted in various ways using different senses when a call or text message is coming in. Some phones will have screens that light up as a call is coming through, alerting a person visually that someone is trying to reach them. In addition, most phones on the market today have a vibrate feature. Settings on the phone can be adjusted so that the user will feel a slight vibration when someone is calling, texting or has left them a voicemail message. These settings provide the hearing-impaired user with security that they will know when someone is trying to reach them, regardless of how well they can hear their cell phone.
- Consider trying out the phone before you make the final purchase, and understand the cancelation policy of the cell phone provider. Most cell phone retailers will allow you to handle the phone and test its features before you make the final purchase. This allows you to test ring tone settings, call volume settings and speaker phone settings. Depending on the retailer, you may be able to try out the cell phone for a day or two to see how you like it. Make sure you completely understand the cancelation policy of both the retailer and the cell phone service provider before you make the final purchase.
Whether you are hoping to buy your child who has hearing aids their first cell phone or you are looking to provide your elderly parents with a phone to keep them safe, you will want to choose a make and model that is hearing aid compatible. Most phones have to have some compatibility with hearing aids and cochlear implants, but as with anything, some phones have better performance than others. For more information on cell phones and hearing aids, talk with your doctor who can provide you with specific recommendations for phones that are known to work well for people who are hearing impaired.
[colored_box color=”red”]And if you do decide to buy, don’t forget to inquire about the seller’s return policy. Â As a hearing impaired person, if the phone doesn’t meet your needs, it is completely useless to you.Â [/colored_box]