Purchasing a cell phone isn’t as simple as it used to be once you begin wearing hearing aids. You have to make sure that your new phone will work well with your hearing device.

But how do you know whether your phone and your hearing aid are a good match? To make life a little easier for you, we’ve looked at the available phones on today’s market and found five that we can recommend as the best cell phones for use with hearing aids.

How Do You Judge the Best Cell Phones for Hearing Aid Compatibility?

Imagine the difficulty of choosing an appropriate cell phone if each manufacturer used a different method to measure how well its product worked with hearing aids. To eliminate that confusion, the American National Standards Institute created a set of standards. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now uses those standards to judge a cell phone’s suitability for use with hearing aids.

Types of Hearing Aids Used With Phones

The cell phones on our list received their ranking according to how well they perform with hearing aids in their acoustic coupling mode as well as hearing aids running in inductive coupling mode. Hearing aids in the acoustic mode indiscriminately pick up all available sounds.

That means it receives both the signal from the phone and any background noise like the television or a nearby conversation. The acoustic mode is best for users with only moderate hearing loss.

On the other hand, hearing aids in inductive mode avoid picking up unwanted surrounding noises. In inductive mode, the microphone is off. A telecoil receives only the signal coming from the telephone. The inductive mode is ideal for people with severe hearing loss.

Some phones will work better with one type of hearing aid mode than the other. Others work equally well with both the acoustic and telecoil modes.

The Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating System

Acoustic hearing aids receive an M rating, while induction hearing aids get a T rating. Typically, a phone needs a rating of M3 or T3 to meet the minimum FCC requirements. Phones can receive a rating as low as 1 or as high as 4.

The Phones We Chose

Some of the phones are especially suitable for those who like their technology made as simple as possible. In comparison, other phones offer the same bells and whistles found on most other phones on the market.

To give you an overall feel for each model, we also discuss general features of the phone that go beyond its hearing aid compatibility.

1. Lively Smart (formerly Jitterbug) 

The Lively Smart is from the makers of the easy-to-operate Jitterbug cell phone. However, the Lively Smart, as its name implies, is actually a smartphone. So, you have more robust features and capabilities. It could make an ideal phone for the person who is already comfortable using a regular cell phone but wants to take the next step and utilize the convenience offered by smartphones.

Hearing Aid Compatibility

Lively Smart has a superb hearing aid compatibility rating of M4/T4. The phone also has a strong speakerphone and an adjustable amplified speaker for hands-free use.

Overall Design

The Lively Smart is 6.25 inches long and 2.93 inches wide. It weighs in at 5.6 ounces.

The Lively Smart boasts a 5.5-inch screen, making a significant difference to anyone who has trouble reading small letters and numbers. The Lively Smart has the same easy-to-navigate design that made Jitterbug well known. There are more options since it’s a smartphone, but the company made the controls highly intuitive.

Camera

The Lively Smart includes a front-facing camera suitable for video chats.

2. Samsung Galaxy A02s

You may be in the habit of associating the name Galaxy with high-end phones and tablets, but the company also produces surprisingly affordable phones that work well for hearing-aid users.

Hearing Aid Compatibility and Call Quality

The A02s is at the top of the class with a hearing-aid compatibility rating of M4/T4. It also has a loud speaker that delivers clear vocals.

Overall Design

The A02s is 6.5 inches long and 2.9 inches wide. It weighs 6.9 ounces. It’s heavier than most phones that work well with hearing aids, but that’s due to the more advanced technology the camera uses. All that engineering requires a heftier battery.

There’s 32GB of internal memory and 20.1GB of available memory. A microSD card can boost the storage capacity to 1TB.

The main screen has a resolution of 720×1600.

Camera

The A02s is more than capable when it comes to picture-taking on your next vacation. The camera has a 13MP sensor for its rear camera and another 5MP lens for its front camera or selfie camera. The A02s has a four-camera system. The other two lenses or are for depth and macro use.

3. Motorola G Fast

Similar to Samsung, Motorola is one of the few manufacturers of middle and higher-end phones that produces a model that offers superior performance with hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Compatibility and Call Quality

The G Fast comes with a high score of M4/T4 for hearing-aid compatibility. Additionally, the earpiece delivers a lot of volume without irritating distortions while canceling unwanted noise.

The speaker quality is in the middle of the pack. It’s dependable but not stellar.

Overall Design

The G Fast is 6.4 inches long and 2.98 inches wide. It weighs 7.02 ounces, making it the heaviest phone on our list.

The screen measures 6.4 inches for a well-sized display.  The G Fast comes with 32GB of memory with 20GB available. You can use a microSD card to add another 512GB.

Camera

The G Fast has a four-lens setup that includes its main 16MP lens, an 8MP ultra-wide, a 2MP macro, plus a front-facing 8MP lens for selfies. The primary camera will give you excellent outdoor photos, but don’t expect much under low-light conditions.

4. Apple iPhone Models 5s and Later

Ask random strangers to name a famous smartphone, and their answer is likely to be “iPhone.” If you’re a huge longtime fan of the iPhone, there’s no need to worry that you’ll have to abandon your favorite brand now that you use hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Compatibility and Call Quality

Apple’s iPhones rate slightly higher for their compatibility with induction hearing aids than with acoustic hearing devices. They have an acoustic rating of M3 but an induction rating of T4.

Speaker quality is routinely excellent throughout the iPhone line.

Overall Design

Apple’s devices are known for their minimalist approach to design. They’re sleek without any unnecessary frills to mar their appearance.

They’re also available in various sizes, so if you need a large screen, there’s an iPhone for you.

Camera

iPhone cameras are some of the best you’re going to find on a smartphone. Even professionals have been known to shoot with an iPhone. Both photographs and video are routinely excellent. A front-facing camera makes video chats simple.

5. LG G8 ThinQ

Unlike the iPhone, the LG G8 ThinQ works slightly better with acoustic hearing aids rather than the induction models.

Hearing Aid Compatibility and Call Quality

The G8 boasts the maximum acoustic rating for hearing aid compatibility at M4. It received a T3 rating for its induction compatibility.

Calls are amazingly clear on the G8. The phone also uses special technology so that sound on the speakerphone comes from not only the speaker but the entire display, delivering extra volume.

Overall Design

In addition to suitability for hearing-aid users, the G8 also has a nice-sized 6.1-inch screen to make it easier to read. The display sits safely behind ding-resistant Gorilla Glass.

The phone operates on 6GB of RAM with 128GB for storage. A microSD card can add another 2TB, making it doubtful that you’ll ever run short of memory space while on vacation.

You can unlock the G8 with its fingerprint sensor. But if that’s too dull for you, use the facial recognition feature. If you need something still more novel. you can also identify yourself as the rightful owner of your phone by scanning the veins in your hand.

The phone tips the scales at 5.96 ounces.

Camera

The phone 12MP camera sensor delivers reliably sharp photos. At it’s wide-angle setting the camera is 16MP. There’s also a low-light feature making it possible to keep taking photos after the sun has faded or the action moves to a poorly-lit room.

The front-facing camera selfie lens is a solid 8MP for dependable video calls.

Choosing the Best Cell Phones for the Hearing Impaired

Finding the best cell phones when you have a hearing impairment can be a bit of an adventure. But with our handy guide, you should be ready to get started.

We suggest that you test several models in different environments. For example, try them in quiet settings as well as with both moderate and loud background noises.

But before you take the phones for a test drive, why not get an updated assessment of your hearing? Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng is a NY State licensed Doctor of Audiology with over 10 years of experience working with patients of all ages. Part of her inspiration came from watching her grandmother struggle with hearing loss during her golden years.

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