The Many Ways to Make a Phone Call

November 14, 2018 • Fall 2018, Newsletter

Phone call

The telephone can be a challenge for people with hearing loss.

There are many ways to make phone calls easier. Telephone amplifiers and telecoils built into your hearing aids have been available for years. Now we also have wireless streaming, captioned phone calls, and text messaging.

Wireless streaming sends the phone call directly to your hearing aids. Live captioning from providers like Caption Call and Hamilton translates the voice over the phone into a written text display you can read. Text messaging eliminates the need to listen at all.

Each method has advantages. Wireless streaming allows you to take advantage of binaural hearing while captioning adds visual cues (the written text).

Can you combine these advantages?

If you use an iPhone, Android phone, or iPad, there are a number of applications that allow you to see the person you’re talking with. The best known are Skype and FaceTime. Skype is available for most phones, tables, and computers. FaceTime is available on iPhones and iPads.

With Skype and FaceTime, you both see and hear the person you’re talking with. The visual cues and binaural hearing maximizes your speech understanding even if you haven’t practiced lipreading.

A recent study found that a group of people with severe hearing loss could understand much more when able to see the speaker (as with FaceTime). The average score (only hearing) was 48%. The average score with Skype or FaceTime was 71%. The greatest benefit was for those who had the most difficulty using the phone. In fact, some of the listener’s could only use the telephone when using Skype or FaceTime.

Do you have to use FaceTime or Skype? No, and most times you won’t. But you should consider using FaceTime or Skype when you want to make it easier to have a conversation—and you get to look at the person you’re talking with too!

© 2018 Hearing Healthcare News

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