Hearing aids can make communication easier for those with hearing loss by amplifying speech sounds and reducing ambient background noise, allowing you to focus on and understand the person you’re talking to.
Acclimating to a new set of hearing aids comes with a lot of new information. You will likely learn about programming, care instructions and expectations for your new devices at your fitting and counseling appointment. One thing you may encounter when getting to know your hearing aids is a slight buzzing noise when you’re talking on the phone.
If you’re talking on the phone with a loved one while you stroll around Lincoln Park, a buzzing noise can get in the way of a fun conversation. Let’s look at why this noise occurs and what you can do to prevent it.
Cell phones have varying degrees of radiofrequency emissions. The buzzing noise is likely occurring because your hearing aid is interfering with the radiofrequency emissions. This interference does not occur in all combinations of cell phones and hearing aids. Choosing the right cell phone to accompany your hearing aids can help reduce the probability that interference will occur.
Choosing the Right Devices
The Federal Communications Commission set forth rules requiring cell phone manufacturers to test their device’s hearing aid compatibility according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.19 standard. Compliance with the standard on the part of both the cell phone and hearing aids should result in reduced radiofrequency interference, minimizing the probability of a buzzing noise.
Earlier versions of this standard also included a rating system. Following the earlier version, devices with the lowest likelihood for radiofrequency interference will have a rating of at least M3 or M4 for microphone mode devices and T3 or T4 for T-coil devices. Hearing aid and cell phone manufacturers still use this rating system to identify good compatibility combinations.
If you purchase a new cell phone or are fit for new hearing aids, look for devices with a high combined score. For instance, if your hearing aid has a score of M3 and your cell phone has a score of M3, they will have a combined score of M6 and offer the best chance of a buzz-free conversation.
Contact North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab today to learn more about your hearing aid options.