by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked:
What is the best cell phone for a person with a hearing problem?
That question is impossible to answer because there are so many variables. Many of these variables are subjective—so only you can answer them. It is like asking people, “What is the best tasting food?” You will get all sorts of answers—some might say filet mignon, or angel-food cake or spinach or eggplant—and they would all be right—for that person.
Other variables are more objective—and depend on how you plan to couple the phone output to your ears. Thus, the answer to your question is “It depends…”
It depends on your likes and dislikes.
It depends on whether you wear hearing aids, or want to use the phone with your bare ears.
It depends on the degree of you hearing loss.
It depends on the shape of your hearing loss curve.
It depends on your word recognition (discrimination) scores.
It depends whether you are a techno-geek and like lots of “goodies”, or want a plain simple cell phone.
It depends on whether you need texting capabilities, or just normal phone service.
It depends on whether you are going to be using the phone in noise, or just in quiet places.
It depends on your own personal subjective feelings of what sounds good to you. Phones vary in the quality of their sound.
It depends on what features you need in a cell phone and those you would like to have.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
Personally, here are the key things I look for in a cell phone.
1. Loud volume (although no phone has the volume I need).
2. Bluetooth connection.
3. Headset jack—hopefully standard 2.5 mm jack.
4. M4/T4 rating.
Items 2 and 3 are necessary if you want to connect your phone to your hearing aids.
Item 4 is necessary so the phone doesn’t cause interference in your hearing aids.