Understanding Hearing Aid Compatibility

Tuesday 21 February

Understanding Hearing Aid Compatibility

When you see products listed as Hearing Aid Compatible or M3/T3 on thepackaging, do you really know what that means?

If you wear hearing aidsyou will have most likely experienced a buzzing/humming noise at some point.  Some people return their hearing aidsto their Audiologist believing they are faulty, when in truth, wireless devicessuch as cordless or mobile phones, computers and radio’s etc. have been causinginterference.

Using a phone is part ofeveryday life and, if you wear hearing aids, it is frustrating to hear aconstant buzzing noise, making it difficult to listen to the person on a call.

Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) phones aremanufactured to almost completely eliminate interference and reduce noise levelsso, understanding the HAC ratingscould significantly improve your experience.

Manufacturers whospecialise in products for hearing loss can put their products through testingprocedures to identify what level of interference a phone is likely to cause theHearing Aid in terms of radio-frequency (RF) emissions.

When you see mobilephones rated ‘hearing aid compatible M3/T3’ do you understand what that means?

The"M" 1 – 4 Rating

The "M" standsfor the Microphone quality rating, stating that the device is intended for usewith hearing aids in microphone mode. The higher the rating, the lower the interference, 4 being the bestlevel almost totally free of interference.

"T"1 – 4 Rating

The T symbols the Telecoil rating, when hearingaids are used during phone calls with the T-Coil mode using the built-ininductive Coupler. The quality of the Telecoil coupling process itself is ratedfrom 1-4.  Again the higher thenumber, the better the sound quality with the least interference. 

The ratings range from 1 to 4, M1 or T1 (poor), M2or T2 (fair), M3 or T3 (good) and M4 or T4 (excellent).  Only phones rated 3 or 4 should be definedas Hearing Aid Compatible. Phones that would have only been rated 1 or 2 aredeemed unacceptable.

Whilst these ratings don’t guarantee phones will beinterference-free, the higher the rating, the less likely you are to experiencepoor sound quality.

For the best chances ofan interference free telephone experience, users should look for the optimumrating of M4/T4.

The difference betweenratings in Decibels can be quite a significant difference, of up to 10dB, whilstdistortion levels could vary by up to 50%.

amplicomm’s Ran Meyrav, European Sales Managersaid, “We understand the priority of a good, clear telephone experience when usinga hearing aid.  Our product rangeperforms at the highest level with interference almost completelyeliminated.  We are one of the fewmanufacturers of amplified phones to meet the M4/T4 rating.”

With a clear understanding of the differences,consumers should be able to identify the most suitable types of phone systemsavailable as a Hearing Aid wearer. Having a phone that has been designed from the outset with specialcomponents to improve sound clarity will almost guarantee the most enjoyablephone experience, for the Hearing Aid user, without interference fromsurrounding radio frequencies, preventing customers returning, thinking theyhave a problem with the Hearing Aid.

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