Hearing Aid Compatible Phones – PART I

Hearing Aid Compatible Phones – PART I

Not everyone is eagerly waiting for their phone to ring. For some of us, it is just too much of a task. You guessed it right…we are talking about hearing-impaired people around us. Did you know not all phones work well with hearing aids? Does this means that you should be away from the phones?

When some mobile phones are used near hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, users may notice a vibrant, buzzing, or droning sound. Some hearing devices are more resistant than others to this interfering sound, and phones also differ in the quantity of interference they produce.

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard C63.19 has sets of standards used to determine whether a phone is compatible with hearing aids (HAC). Let me start with what HAC means.

Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Ratings

Hearing aids runs either on acoustic coupling or telecoil coupling mode. Acoustic coupling mode receives and strengthens all sounds close to the user. It includes both required sound like a phone audio signal, as well as unnecessary ambient sound. By switching off the microphone, telecoil coupling mode receives only signals from magnetic field produced by telecoil-compatible phones and stays away from not needed ambient sound. In the United States, around 25-30% of hearing aids have telecoils. It is normally used by folks with deep hearing loss.

The wireless telephone industry has developed ratings for some of their mobile phones, to assist hearing device users in finding phones that may be compatible with their hearing devices. Not all phones have been rated. Best way to evaluate and purchase the phone is to try out with your hearing device.

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard C63.19 sets two standardized ratings for digital handsets. A ‘M’ and ‘T’ rating are used to determine the value of likely interference or immunity of a wireless device in compatibility to a hearing device based on a level of numerical value from 1 to 4.

  • M” rated phones measure the radio frequency (RF) interface to enable acoustic coupling with hearing aids that do not operate in telecoil mode. There are 4 “M” ratings (1-4). Phones with a M3 or M4 rating qualify as being HAC.
  • T” rated phones measure the inductive coupling for phones that operate in telecoil mode. There are 4”T” ratings (1-4). Phones with a T3 or T4 rating qualify as HAC.

Right Match for Your Hearing Aid

We suggest trying various phones to find out compatibility with hearing aid prior to make purchase. It is essential to check various features of these phones comprehensively and in different place, using your hearing aid to find out if you hear any prying sound. Do not hesitate to get in touch with service provider or the manufacturer of these phones for information on hearing aid compatibility. If you need clarification on return or exchange policies, contact your phone retailer.