Did you know that cell phones have hearing aid compatibility ratings? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that cell phone makers and service providers produce phones that have less static, less interference, and better telecoil connections. If you need a hearing aid-compatible cell phone, just look at the label.

All cell phones will have an “M” rating (M1 through M4) and a “T” rating (T1 through T4); the “M” means microphone and the “T” means telephone. The higher the number, the better the telephone will perform with your hearing aid. The M/T ratings should be clearly posted on both the cell phone display and packaging.

What else can you do to make cell phone use a little easier? If your hearing aids are of the new wireless variety, try a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth technology allows you to hear the conversation with both ears, and it’s hands-free! If you don’t text, give it a try. This option will make quick conversations a lot less stressful. In a pinch, you can use the speaker option on the cell phone (just be sure you have a little privacy).

Certainly, you should ask your cell phone service provider if you can try the cell phone before you buy, and ask your audiologist what she recommends. While you’re at it, check out InnoCaption. This free app captions your cell phone calls and even includes a voice-mail captioning service!