Types of hearing-aid compatible phones

Written by sophia cross
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Types of hearing-aid compatible phones
All phones in the U.S. today must be hearing-aid compatible. (phone image by Eisenhans from Fotolia.com)

Hearing aid users often experience frustration when using a telephone. Non-hearing-aid compatible phones often generate interference in the form of buzzing, humming and static, making a phone conversation virtually impossible for either party. In 1989 the FCC required all new phones, both mobile and land line, to be hearing-aid compatible. A phone with an M3 and T3 rating indicates it meets the FCC requirements. A phone with a rating of M4 or T4 denotes a higher level of compatibility with hearing aids. Some newer hearing aids are also equipped with Bluetooth to make using phones with this capability even easier.

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Mobile Phones

Most hearing aids have what is called a T-coil, or telecoil, installed. When you turn your aid to the "T" setting, the hearing aid should make the phone sound more clear. The clarity of each phone depends on a combination of the hearing aid and phone itself. The Motorola Razr V3 and V8 are handsets that provide Bluetooth technology for highest clarity as well as M3/T3 compatibility for T-coil hearing aids. The Blackberry Pearl also has Bluetooth and M3/T4 technology, making its hearing-aid compatibility slightly better than the Razr.

Land Lines

The Clarity W1000 Amplified Phone is a landline phone specifically designed for people with hearing loss. Its features include a certified minimum gain of 26 decibels, visual ring alert, ringer pitch and volume controls and is telecoil compatible. The CrystalTone Amplified Phone UTI-CT is also designed for hearing aid users. The volume control slides up to 35 decibels and also has a ringer that goes up to 100 decibels. You can also set the ringer to a specific pitch to ensure it's in a range you hear the best. The hand set is hearing-aid compatible with telecoil and is also equipped with a flashing-light ringer for those times you may not hear it.

Specialised Dealers

Harris Communications is a nationwide company that specialises in technical devices for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Since 1982, the company has provided telephones, specialised alarm clocks, phone amplifiers, flashing-light door bells and other tools to make life easier for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. 101Phones.com is another national company focusing on telecommunications devices for those with hearing loss. It divides products into three categories: for those with mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss and severe hearing loss. Not only does the company sell phones, but it also sells specialised answering machines and eco-friendly phones.

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