Why smart phones are particularly useful for the hard of hearing
For a number of years, my main concern when choosing a mobile phone was simply how well I could hear what was being said. When smart phones came in, I assumed that for me, as a significantly deaf person, all the various clever things that they could do would detract from their main use as a phone. Smart phones were not for me, I thought. How wrong I was!
Are smart phones suitable for the hard of hearing?
When I was eventually persuaded to try a smart phone, I was really impressed, and below I outline what features have been particularly useful for me with my hearing difficulties. Of course not all makes and models of smart phone are alike and even if I were to say which one mine is, it would probably be overtaken by a new model by the time that you come to buy one. Also other types of phone which do not qualify as 'smart' may have some of the features which so impress me. Whatever, when choosing, my advice on the page about buying a phone remains valid.
Advantages of smart phones for the hard of hearing
My previous phone was very basic and later models which are not smart do share some of the advantages of smart phones. Similarly not all smart phones necessarily have all the features in the following list. So do check them out with the dealer before buying.
Loudness and clarity
First and foremost, my smart phone is louder than my original basic mobile phone because it has several features which adjust clarity and loudness. I of course have them set to maximum.
My smart phone comes with dictation software which is remarkably accurate! So I find myself sending a much increased number of text messages, which alleviates the isolation that so many deaf people suffer.
Use with hearing aids
My smart phone has a feature which I understand cuts out background electronic noise when using hearing aids, but I don't seem to have electronic noise when phoning with my hearing aids in. Perhaps it all depends on the hearing aid. I don't know. If you do, please get in touch.
Photographs of who is calling
My smart phone has enabled me to add photographs of my contacts. It is an enormous help, when the phone rings, to see who is calling, rather than to try to understand a spoken name.
Skype and FaceTime let you see in real time who you are calling. I much prefer my phone for this over my laptop or deskbound computer because I can hold it nearer and so hear better. The added advantage over a laptop is that I appear to the other person face-on rather than chin-first. it isn't tiring to hold it like this because I support my elbow on a table. Skype and FaceTime are free with free internet access.
Timer and alarm features
My smart phone has timer and alarm features. I am able to choose which alert sound is easiest for me to hear and, best of all, it continues sounding until I turn it off. It is accurate to the second. All regular kitchen timers either have a single ping, which is no good at all, or an extended ring which is not really particularly extended.
Access to the internet
The access to the internet does enable me to feel less out-of-touch with the rest of the world.
More on phones and hearing loss
How to ensure that the phone is always charged
One of the reasons that I delayed so long in buying a smart phone was that I knew it would need charging much, much more often than my old-style phone. I was sure that I would forget to charge it so that it would have run out when I wanted it. In fact this did happen a number of times! My solution is to keep the charger where I undress at night and put the phone to charge overnight.
Costs of using a smart phone
For phoning, a smart phone is no more expensive than a basic mobile phone and for accessing the internet it is no more expensive than a regular computer. Additional costs come for accessing the internet outside your own wi-fi area, a facility known as 'roaming' which I have turned off. Playing games on the phone while in 'roaming' mode runs away with money.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for a lay audience and I cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. The views, strategies, advice and suggestions etc are based on my personal experience and are not necessarily appropriate for anyone else. They should, hopefully, stimulate individuals to develop their own strategies.