Did you know that Wes Anderson reportedly directed the majority of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” on his iPhone while he was on location, shooting for another movie? The iPhone is one of the most amazingly capable pieces of technology on the market today. You may not be a film director, but as an Apple products fan with hearing loss, you won’t be left out. The iPhone 4 and 5 are hearing aid compatible devices, so you can take advantage of all there is to offer. Here’s what you should know about this technology and how it gets its hearing aid compatible (HAC) ratings.

HAC ratings are used by the FCC to determine whether or not a phone or device meets certain hearing aid compatibility standards. They’re broken down into two different ratings (M and T) based on the device’s modes for filtering sound. The first rating, M, is for acoustic coupling. The second, T, is for telecoil coupling.

  • Acoustic coupling mode amplifies all sounds, even those you don’t want.
  • Telecoil coupling has the ability to filter sounds coming in.

These modes are rated from 1 to 4 (with 4 being the most compatible). In order for a device to be considered compatible for those with hearing aids, the rating needs to be at least M3 or M4 for acoustic coupling and T3 or T4 for telecoil coupling.

However, a HAC rating doesn’t necessarily mean that all hearing aids will be compatible with the corresponding cell phone. In fact, some phones aren’t even rated by the FCC and will still work well with hearing aids. Your best bet is to test the phone thoroughly before making a commitment to purchase, making sure you test all the phone’s features in different locations. The purpose for this is to see if there are any instances of noise interference. Many service providers offer a trial period, during which you can test the service or device, cancel it if its results are unsatisfactory, and return it free of charge.

Here are some other “sound” pieces of advice for using an iPhone with your hearing aids:

  • Hearing aids and iPhones typically work best together if the advice is in acoustic coupling, or “M” mode. Try a few different positions next to your ear to see what works best.
  • If “M” mode is unsuccessful, try the telecoil coupling, or “T” mode. The latest versions of iPhone are more likely to have this, like the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 5, you can better modify the acoustic settings to improve compatibility with hearing aids.

It won’t be long before Apple releases Made for iPhone hearing aids. These will deliver the highest quality performance from the iPhone and will require an iPhone 4S or later model.

At Hearing and Balance Centers of West Tennessee, we welcome your questions and are more than happy to assist you in making choices in hearing aid products to best fit your needs.

We are conveniently located in Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee Schedule an appointment with us today to discuss how you can find the perfect phone to accompany your perfect hearing aids.