How to Use Your Smartphone to Cope With Hearing Loss (2022): Tips for iPhone, Android

If you have a Pixel phone (Pixel 3 or later), you can also use Conversation Mode with headphones. By pointing your phone’s camera at the person you want to chat with, or reversing the camera and having them hold your phone, you can reduce background noise and focus on your conversation partner more easily (this feature is for bustling environments like cafés where background noise can be a problem).

Apple via Simon Hill

Any iPhone owners with supported Apple or Beats headphones can adjust the sound to suit their hearing and improve the clarity of music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual, turn on Headphone Accommodations, then tap Custom Audio Setup. If you go to Settings > Control Center and add Hearing, you can also use Live Listen to hear folks better by placing your iPhone microphone close to them.

If you have the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, you can use Transparency Mode. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accommodations > Transparency Mode, and then turn on Custom Transparency Mode and Ambient Noise Reduction to choose how much ambient noise to allow.

With the AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends) you can also use Conversation Boost, which you can find under Transparency Mode. The feature amplifies voices, but it does mean wearing your AirPods during in-person chats. Once you have activated it and added Hearing to the Control Center via Settings, you can turn it on by opening Control Center and tweaking amplification, balance, tone, and ambient noise with a set of sliders (it will remember your preferences).

How to Use Hearing Aids With Your Phone

Photograph: Apple

Apple has a Made for iPhone (MFi) hearing aid program. Connect supported hearing aids to an iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can access most of the features we outlined above for headphones on your hearing aid. For example, go to Settings > Accessibility, select Hearing Devices and choose yours, and then Start Live Listen to use your iPhone microphone to hear people more clearly. You can also stream music or podcasts directly to your hearing aids.

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