Smartphone question: Which one is best for hard of hearing people?

Posted by bobbiefriend @bobbiefriend, Wed, Sep 18 10:07am

Since my stroke my family wants me to buy a smartphone and keep it at all times so I could summon help if I fell. Which smartphone would be helpful for a hard of hearing person? There seem to be so many models with such varied capabilities.

Check out Consumer Cellular, which not only has dirt cheap plans but also sells phones. I live in a spruce forest, with a huge hill between my house and the cell tower a mile away, so zero reception here. We just had flip phones to use when away from home until my recent downturn in hearing. I got a used IPhone 6, connected it to my CC plan and set it up to work off our in-house WiFi. CC is very good at helping you set a smartphone up, too. Then I went back to the audiologist who sold me my one aid and had it paired with my phone. Today I have an appt. to get a mic that can be paired with my aid, for meetings.

Post stroke, please don't overlook vestibular rehab (VRT) as a way to prevent falls. I have had ZERO natural balance (Meniere's, dammit) for over 30 years but haven't fallen thanks to daily VRT. The recent severe downturn in both hearing and balance hasn't been more than a slight annoyance as far as balance is concerned, thanks to the long-standing VRT, which has taught me to use my third balance system, proprioception, as a more or less natural thing. I even did a difficult instream volunteer job for fisheries right after the recent downturn, just was slower and even more careful than usual.

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Actually I too would love to know the BEST cell phone for hard of hearing. I have an IPHONE 7 plus and I can only hear if I use the APPLE earphones. And ONLY the apple ones. All other ones even expensive ones are no good for me. I also have trouble hearing people if they are on certain phones. For example my husband has an iPhone 8 and i can't hear him where my sister has a cheaper older samsung and I can hear her great. Please reply with thoughts.

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If you wear an aid or aids, it should be paired with your IPhone so that conversation is delivered right into your ear(s). Makes all the difference in the world! I bought a used IPhone6 to use with my one Bernefon (Oticon) aid and am able to use the phone once again. I had an additional "opportunity" to learn because I have zero cell reception. I use Consumer Cellular as a provider, and the tech there walked me through the steps so that I can use the IPhone6 at home, in my own office, using our internal WiFi (cable modem).

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@kmgiamei

Actually I too would love to know the BEST cell phone for hard of hearing. I have an IPHONE 7 plus and I can only hear if I use the APPLE earphones. And ONLY the apple ones. All other ones even expensive ones are no good for me. I also have trouble hearing people if they are on certain phones. For example my husband has an iPhone 8 and i can't hear him where my sister has a cheaper older samsung and I can hear her great. Please reply with thoughts.

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I have single sided deafness with hyperacusis. So using a phone is very hard.
I found it easier if I phone folk making sure I am in a quiet place. I also have the phone on speaker.
Explain my hearing distortion and if it's a really important call that I need all details I ask for an email followup of the conversation

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Any Android or Apple smartphone will be fine but it's the app that should be the deciding factor. Here's something to think about. If you've fallen and are disoriented, you may not be able to dial a number or even think how to unlock the phone if you have that feature enabled. There may be an app that will give you a "1 button press" option to contact a pre-determined person or list of people in your contacts. There are landline phones that can be setup to automatically dial pre-determined contacts at the press of a button from a device on your wrist. This wrist device sends a signal to the phone when a button is pressed. When the phone receives this signal, it automatically starts a dialing chain of numbers that will cycle through the numbers. When someone answers, a message, that is previously set up, will play. The wrist device has to be in range of the phone so this is not a good solution if you're too far away. I don't remember the range off hand but it's probably similar to a garage door opener. I have to imagine there is a smartphone app that may do something similar. If anybody knows of one, then please share.
Tony in Michigan

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@kmgiamei

Actually I too would love to know the BEST cell phone for hard of hearing. I have an IPHONE 7 plus and I can only hear if I use the APPLE earphones. And ONLY the apple ones. All other ones even expensive ones are no good for me. I also have trouble hearing people if they are on certain phones. For example my husband has an iPhone 8 and i can't hear him where my sister has a cheaper older samsung and I can hear her great. Please reply with thoughts.

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@kmgiamei
Hi,

I have an Android (Samsung 7) that has a powerful mic. Whether you have an iPhone or Android I urge you to research the app Innocaption+. I have used this for years as I have profound bilateral hearing loss. Download it from your play store. It’s free. It will caption all your phone calls and has captioned voice mail. You can hear the other person and read what they are saying as long as you have a simultaneous voice and data plan. They assign a special telephone number to you but you can have that number forwarded to your cell phone. So whenever someone calls your cell number it’s automatically forwarded to the app.
Androids also have apps like Live Transcribe that will caption people’s voices in real life situations. iPhone and androids have the app called Otter. I also use a Captel landline. Innocaption+ is very accurate and is the only way I can use my cell beside texting.
You can mute the sound on the app if you choose to. Their customer service is very responsive. I can hear voices on my phones but have trouble understanding even if the voice is streamed directly to my ears.

Regards from FL Mary

Liked by lioness

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Thank you I will try this.

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@joyces

If you wear an aid or aids, it should be paired with your IPhone so that conversation is delivered right into your ear(s). Makes all the difference in the world! I bought a used IPhone6 to use with my one Bernefon (Oticon) aid and am able to use the phone once again. I had an additional "opportunity" to learn because I have zero cell reception. I use Consumer Cellular as a provider, and the tech there walked me through the steps so that I can use the IPhone6 at home, in my own office, using our internal WiFi (cable modem).

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I found the pairing directly into the hearing aids not very good. This current pair of aids does not have that ability.

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@kmgiamei

I found the pairing directly into the hearing aids not very good. This current pair of aids does not have that ability.

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kmgiamei, it's unfortunate that you're not having good results with pairing to your phone. This is why its important to try to stay on top of the technology. I believe Resound was the first to pair an Apple phone to BOTH hearing aids without the need for an auxiliary device. Being able to use both ears to hear on the phone makes sense since that is the way we're meant to hear. That is why many folks with hearing loss do better when using the speakerphone feature. There are other devices (streamers) that can be used with your hearing aid that will give hearing into both ears. You may want to talk with your hearing care professional to discuss options. What's bad is that these auxiliary devices are expensive. Add that on top of what we pay for hearing aids and its no wonder people may not be doing well on the phone. There's also the problem with brands that the audiologist will work with. You may find that, for example, Signia brand may be a good product that you'd like to try. If your audiologist does not sell that brand, you may want to find another audiologist instead of trying to be sold on a product that they sell. This is not to say that a competitive product will not work as well, but you may regret the decision later on.
Tony in Michigan

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@kmgiamei, So sorry for your situation. It's very difficult adjusting to hearing loss after a medical emergency. I would not rely on any smart phone to alert your husband in case of a fall. You should get one of the medical alert necklaces or bracelets so all you have to do is press the emergency button.
A smart phone can be really helpful for lots of other things though.
First, make sure you know who your cell service provider is before you buy a phone. We have only Verizon service where I live, so an ATT plan would be useless.
Second, the iPhone has traditionally had more hearing-friendly features but Android is catching up. I have an Oticon hearing aid and an iPhone 6. The phone sends the voice directly to my ear. It works really really well. I haven't heard as well on the phone for decades.
Third, there is a very good free smart-phone captioning service, called Innocaption. https://www.innocaption.com/. You can get it for iPhone or Android. It provides live captioning by humans (not computer generated) and it's very accurate. At busy times they may have to give you a voice to text automated system but that's rare.
And fourth, try SonicCloud, another free app. Here's the link: https://www.soniccloud.com/. It helps make all sounds coming through the phone clearer.
There's so much technology and it can be hard to keep up. My HLAA chapter shares information on technology and it's really helpful. If there is an ALDA chapter near you, it also serves as a support group. Often users know better than providers what's going to work. But remember that not everything works for everyone, including brands of hearing aids. You just have to keep trying till you get one that works. It's exhausting but it's worth it!

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