by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A person asked:
Will a cell phone with an M3/T3 or an M4/T4 rating work OK as-is if held to my ear in “normal” use? Or should I purchase in addition the Music Links device you describe for optimal results? I have a difficult time hearing in noisy situations where the background noise level is moderate to high.
You’ll have to try each phone out and see. That’s the only way to tell for certain if it will really work with your particular hearing aids and t-coils.
Compatibility is a relative thing. There are many variables to consider. For example, you may find a given phone interference-free when it connects to a nearby cell tower, but find that it causes interference when the tower is far away.
This is because cell phones only put out enough power to reach the tower nearest them in order to extend battery life. Thus, if the tower is nearby, the cell phone puts out minimal power and with that, minimal interference, but if the tower is far away, the same phone has has to put out full power, and that may result in more interference.
Furthermore, some cell phone networks inherently cause less interference than others. For example CDMA networks cause the least interference, then comes TDMA and finally GSM with the most interference. So if your service provider uses CDMA technology (e.g. Verizon, Bell South, etc.) you will tend to get less interference than if your provider uses GSM technology (AT&T, etc).
As regards getting Music Links, much as I’d like to sell you a pair, I’d suggest you hold off on purchasing them until you see if you can use your new cell phone with just your hearing aids. If so, you have saved yourself some money and the inconvenience of using extra assistive devices. If you find you need the Music Links, you can always get them later.