by Neil Bauman, Ph.D. with Dana Mulvany
A lady explained:
My cell phone contract is nearing its end, and I am looking at other carriers—trying to find a better phone for me. I’ve had several cell phones over the years, but have never had one that I was comfortable with except when making calls myself. Which is the best cell phone for hard of hearing people?
My friend, Dana Mulvany, herself hard of hearing, and like me, an expert in hearing assistive technology including phones explains:
There are actually quite a few issues you may want to consider when purchasing a cell phone. Some of these include:
- The audio quality of voice transmissions. It is important to assess how well your voice comes across on the phone in addition to how well you can hear on the phone. Unfortunately, some phones do a poor job transmitting all the frequencies people need in order to hear speech as well as possible. This is particularly important if the person you are talking with is also hard of hearing.
- The volume of the phone. Is the maximum volume enough so that you can hear people well?
- The M and T rating. Ideally, you want a phone that is rated M4/T4. This gives your hearing aids the greatest immunity from interference from the phone in both voice and t-coil modes.
- The availability of a 2.5 mm jack (for accessories such as an amplified neckloop. [Note: this is not so important now as most smart phones have a 4-pin 3.5 mm jack, thus negating the need for a 2.5 mm jack]
- Whether you are effectively alerted to the phone ringing. Is the ring tone audible to you. Is the vibration strong enough?
- Whether you can be alerted effectively to call waiting, text messages, etc.
- Whether or not Web CapTel will work on the phone
- Whether the phone will support Mobile CapTel (both voice and Web CapTel at the same time).
- Compatibility of the phone’s Bluetooth feature with hearing aid compatible accessories such as bluetooth neckloops.
- Access to text messaging.
- Ease of use of texting.
- Access to email.
- Access to web sites.
- The cost of voice and data plans.
- Video capabilities (in the future) for people who use sign language or lip reading.
- The availability of mobile TV with captioning (in the future).
No phones come with all the above features. You need to decide which features are important to you and get the phone that best meets your needs..
Is there one perfect phone for us? I’m afraid not at this time!