Can you use a smartphone with hearing aids?

Here at Almond Hearing, we are glad to help people by answering whatever questions they have about what it’s like to use hearing aids. One question that we get quite frequently is this: can you use a smartphone with hearing aids?

Nearly everyone uses a smartphone these days, and we hear from people who are worried that their smartphone experience will be worse if they get hearing aids. The short answer is that yes, there are a number of hearing aid compatible smartphones (and smartphone compatible hearing aids).

In other words, yes, you can connect some hearing aids to some smartphones. However, you need the right hearing aids and the right smartphone.

Below, we’ll cover the basics for both iPhone and Android.

Hearing Aids and Phones: iPhone Basics

If you own (or plan to own) an Apple iPhone, getting your hearing aids connected is a little more straightforward. All iPhones dating back to at least the iPhone 5S feature an HAC Rating of M3, T4. This means that just about any iPhone can connect to just about any hearing aid. That said, the company is quick to point out that every hearing aid model is different, and performance can vary widely.

A Solid Option: Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

If you own an iPhone, purchasing a hearing aid with the Made for iPhone designation will give you a better experience. These high-quality hearing aids connect seamlessly with your iPhone with a high level of audio quality, and they can be controlled natively from your iPhone.

Activating Hearing Aid Compatibility on iPhone

To get your hearing aid connected to an iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click ‘Accessibility’.
  3. Click ‘Hearing Devices’.
  4. Turn on Hearing Aid Compatibility.

 

Doing this will change the acoustic response of your phone so that hearing aids in telecoil mode will work even better.

In older iPhones, this feature may be named Hearing Aid Mode.

In general, because compatibility is nearly universal with iPhone, we tend to recommend people with hearing loss who need to connect hearing aids to their smartphones stick with Apple. You’ll know you have a compatible phone, and you’ll likely improve your experience.

Hearing Aid Compatible Smartphones: Android

Over in the Android world, things aren’t quite so simple. Starting much later with Android 10.0, Google finally made connecting hearing aids a standard feature. But because Google doesn’t control what every Android phone maker does and doesn’t include, there’s far less universality here. Even Google’s own Pixel phones have a range of compatibility and HAC ratings that’s far more confusing than the iPhone line-up’s.

Check Your Phone’s Specs Carefully

If you’re using an Android smartphone, check your phone’s compatibility carefully before proceeding. And if you already have your hearing aids, make sure that your specific model is compatible with a given Android phone before buying the phone.

How to Connect to Your Android Phone

If you’re using Android 10.0 or later, do this:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click ‘Connected devices’.
  3. Click ‘Pair new device’.
  4. Click the Settings button next to the hearing aid’s name for further configuration.

The Best Option on Any Phone: Phonak Bluetooth Hearing Aids

f you’re concerned about confusing compatibility requirements, the best option is Phonak’s Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. They can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone from the phone’s Bluetooth menu and be configured from the accompanying app. These hearing aids can also pair with your Bluetooth-enabled landline for maximum flexibility.

Not Sure What to Do? Almond Hearing Can Help

In the end, ensuring that your hearing aids and smartphone are compatible is somewhat complex. If you’d like a little guidance, Almond Hearing can help. Stop by soon to see the latest Made for iPhone hearing aids as well as other broadly compatible models.