Q. How can I find a cell phone compatible with my hearing aid?
A. Although cell phones are a convenient way to stay connected, you may experience static or a buzzing sound if you wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant. Some phones send out radiofrequency emissions that interfere with the mechanics of certain hearing devices. The interference can make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to use your cell phone.
The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission requires cell-phone manufacturers to test and rate their phones for hearing-aid compatibility (HAC). So, if you’re looking for a cell phone that will work with your hearing aid or implant, make sure the phone’s packaging is labeled “HAC.”
Phones that have HAC are rated for use with hearing aids set in microphone (M) mode and for those with a T-coil. Look for a phone with a rating of M3 or T3 (good), or M4 or T4 (excellent). Phones with higher ratings generate less hearing-aid interference than those with lower ratings. T-coil users should also look for a phone that features manual control of display and keypad lighting, which can cause unwanted noise.
Hearing devices come with similar rating systems, so consider investing in a new device that will interact more favorably with your phone. Look for a hearing aid or device with a minimum rating of M3 or T3. None of this is guaranteed, though, so try before you buy if all possible.
Learn more about Coping With Hearing Loss and What Happens if You Ignore Hearing Loss.