Using a phone

Using a phone
When you need a hearing aid of some kind, using a phone can be tricky. This article looks at some ways of using a phone with a Cochlear Implant....but some of the things also apply to using a phone with a hearing aid.
How to use the phoneWhat type of phoneProsConsCosts
Simply hold the phone to the microphone on our processor and hear the caller
- Landline
- Switchboard
- Mobile/Cell

- Quick answering
- No fiddling with switches or cords

- Not always the clearest sound
- Can be difficult to hold the phone over the processor microphone all the time
- Can bump off the processor
- Sound going on around you may interfere with ability to hear

- No cost

- Switch to tswitch which often gives us clearer sound

- Most phones of all kinds have tswitch capability but test them first

- Usually easy to switch to tswitch
- Sounds is usually much clearer
- Background noise can be cut out

- You may not be able to hear sounds going on around you – ie someone issuing you instructions to tell your caller
- Can bump off the processor

- No cost

- Use a loud speaker phone

- Many phones have loudspeaker capability, find out before buying

- Can control the volume
- Easy to use
- No need to hold speaker over your processor
- Great if you have to wait in a queue
- Can put the phone down and use a computer or write at the same time

- May disturb others
- Lack of privacy
- Sometimes distortion occurs

- No additional cost
Plug in a tswitch extension which hooks over the ear near to the processor.
- Phones with a headphone socket – check the socket size
- Cordless phones (landline)
- Mobile

- Cuts out buzzing which is often present when holding hands free phones near the processor
- Plus all tswitch pros (2) above
- Can put phone down

- Can’t see where the hook picks up the sound best
- The hook can fall off your ear
- Cords are a nuisance

- Around $89
- available from places like Word of Mouth technology

- Plug in Cochlear’s audio cord from processor to phone.

- A phone which allows you to use the phone’s microphone.
- Cordless phones with a headphone socket – check the socket size
- Mobile phones with this capability tell you this when you plug the cord in

- No buzzing
- Cords cannot fall off
- Direct connection gives extremely clear sound
- Can cut out background sound

- Can’t plug it in quickly
- May not hear people around you
- Some processor need programming to pick the accessory up each time you plug it in

- $80+
A Telstra Cochlear Implant adaptor.
- For use with land lines. it plugs between the handset and the phone and into your processor.

- With direct sound you get excellent quality, plus you use the phone microphone to speak

- Takes time to plug in so can’t answer a phone quickly
- May not hear background noise
- Processor may need to be programmed to pick up the accessory

- Free when approved by your audiologist

- Many video applications are now available on mobile and Computers

- Mobile
- Computer

- Helps understanding with lip reading and seeing body language
- Option: Can use any cord with the video call to help with understanding

- Video may not sync with sound
- Video can stall and pixelate

- Skype is free
- Download charges for video calls may apply to mobile phones
The Captel captioned phone offers additional help to those who still may not hear clearly enough
- Captel phone only

- Excellent captioning
- Helps with understanding

- Need fast broadband connection and free phone line
- Currently not available in the evenings and on weekends

- Currently under trial in Australia
- Available in USA

- Then there are a range of Bluetooth type devices which transmit the sound wirelessly to your processor.

- All phones which have Bluetooth connectivity

- Wireless connection
- No fiddling with cords
- Uses tswitch

- Rechargeable batteries 6 hr life
- Batteries may die at inappropriate times
- Have to wear/have the dongle handy at all times

- $299

You Should Also Read:
Captioned Telephones
What are assistive listening devices?
Cochlear Implant pushing the limits

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This content was written by Felicity Bleckly. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Felicity Bleckly for details.