If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are many mobile phone features that could help make communication easier for you. When choosing a phone, make sure that it has the features you need before you buy - not all features are available on every phone.
The following types of phone may prove helpful:
- Hearing Aid compatible phones
- Amplified mobile phones
- Adjust the volume settings, or buy a phone with a particularly loud volume. This makes it easier to hear when it rings as well as easier to hear the person talking on the other end of the phone. Most volume buttons are on the exterior of the phone and can be adjusted easily as required
- Adjust the tone to suit your requirements
- Use vibration and visual notifications, such as a light, in addition to sound notifications. This will assist when a message or call arrives
- Use an in-ear hands-free or Bluetooth headset enables to help block out background noise
- Turn on audio amplification helps you to hear the phone ring. You can purchase amplified mobile phones or change the settings on your phone as very often phones are set to limit the amount of amplification
- Noise-cancelling microphones are a standard feature on many phones, but they improve the transmitted sound quality only
- Choose a phone with good sound quality and volume setting s and you can put it onto speakerphone so you don't have to hold the phone to your ear
- Predictive texting can be helpful for long messages. If you spend a lot of time texting, it may be helpful to have a phone with a larger screen or larger controls which make it easier to operate
- Video calling features like FaceTime (Apple devices) are helpful if you prefer to use sign language
Most smartphones have a section in the settings called Accessibility where you can find some helpful features such as:
- Support for Closed Captions when watching TV, films or podcasts
- Mono audio so you can listen to both audio channels in both ears, and adjust the balance for higher volume in either ear as required
- An inductive neckloop can be attached to devices using Bluetooth which blocks out background noise
- LightOn mobile phone alert is a cradle for your phone which will flash to tell you that you have missed a call or a text
You can purchase a hearing aid compatible phone which has an induction coupler (telecoil). The induction coupler will work with your hearing aid on the T (Loop) setting which will help to reduce the interference and feedback on the call. If you have sound problems, try moving the phone around until you get the best results.
Always hold the earpiece of your mobile phone against the microphone on your behind-the-ear hearing aid- it's located at the front. If your hearing aid is whistling, try moving it closer to the microphone until the noise stops, as the mobile phone may be too far away.
It is possible to purchase a Bluetooth compatible digital in-the-ear hearing aid which can connect directly to your mobile phone.
Action on Hearing Loss can provide more information on mobile phones, compatible hearing aids and accessories for hearing impaired people. You can contact them on 0808 808 0123.
Visit an O2 store and speak to us for help with choosing a device with the features you need.
We also offer accessible services, including:
- access to the Next Generation Text Service which provides text-to-voice and voice-to-text translation, and
- our SignVideo interpreting service, which lets you use British Sign Language to sign to an interpreter via your webcam.