Best Phones For Hearing Impaired

Best Phones For Hearing Impaired (2021): 8 Top Models + Expert Buying Guide

By jwilder

Best Phones For Hearing Impaired

As you get older, many things about your body just aren’t going to feel or work the same. Gone will be the days you can hop out of bed after four hours of sleep and not miss a beat. Gone, too, for many people, are the days when they could have a breezy phone conversation, chatting back and forth without missing relevant information.

Upgrading your phone to a model that works to help you with your hearing impairment isn’t just a good idea- it may be a necessity. Our guide to the best phones for the hearing impaired will teach you about:

  • What these phones are,
  • What they do and how they work,
  • The best sound amplifying phones,
  • The best phones with captioning,
  • And the best phones that work with hearing aids.

What is a Phone for the Hearing Impaired?

Phones for the hearing impaired are designed to help people with hearing loss overcome their hearing issue and maintain productive, easy conversations. Hearing loss often causes people to have to ask others to repeat themselves over and over, making for clunky and frustrating phone conversations.

This makes many people, seniors especially, less likely to pick up the phone and dial a friend or family member because it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the struggle. Similarly, handling important business over the phone when you have a hearing impairment can be a nightmare, especially if you miss crucial information.

Fortunately, many companies have recognized the need for phones that accommodate hearing impairments and have designed products that do just that. These phones make it possible for people suffering from hearing loss to communicate effectively and smoothly, reclaiming a sense of normalcy that they may have lost due to their hearing impairment.

How Does a Phone for the Hearing Impaired Work?

There are three types of technologies that these phones use to help people with hearing loss communicate. First, there are phones that are simply louder than normal phones. These devices may be classified by the FDA as “assisted listening devices”, meaning they can be twice as loud as standard regulations would allow. These phones are pretty common and often very inexpensive, with an average price tag slightly above what you could expect to pay for a phone without amplified sound.

The second type of technology that phones for the hearing impaired use is captioning. Captioning, similar to the captions on your TV, is a real-time visual display of what is being said. In the past decade, the technology that powers captioning systems has progressed by leaps and bounds.

Now, captioning technology can perform accurate captioning in real-time, during live conversations! This means that you can be speaking to someone and read what they are saying almost as fast as they’ve said it. These phones look a lot like regular landlines, but with larger, brighter digital screens.

The final type of technology that phones use to accommodate for hearing impairments is voice clarification. This is a term that refers to a built-in equalization feature, one which emphasizes the pitch of human voices over background noise and other sounds. The result is that the voice of the person you are speaking to comes through much clearer than anything else that may be entering that phone.

Are Phones Compatible With Hearing Aids?

Yes! Phones are manufactured to be compatible with hearing aids. In fact, it’s required by the FCC that all phones are compatible with hearing aids. However, not every phone performs equally in this regard; some meet the minimum requirement, and others exceed it. There are two types of ratings that are listed with phones that indicate how well they work with hearing aids: “M Ratings” and “T Ratings”. Let’s discuss what these ratings mean, and what they mean for you:

Hearing Aid Compatible Phones: T Ratings Explained

Telecoil mode, on the other hand, is a mode that receives tiny magnetic signals from phones that also feature telecoils. When in telecoil mode, background noise and signal interference is sharply reduced, leading to clearer phone calls and more effective communication.


Just like the microphone rating, T ratings are given on a scale from 1-4, with 4 being the highest and best (T1, T2, T3, and T4). iPhones, for the record, all have a T4 rating, meaning they are in the best class of cell phones for hearing aids that include telecoils. About 60% of hearing aids have telecoils, but not every model does. So, be sure to check your hearing aids to see if they include telecoils before you settle on a phone!

The Bottom Line: Phones and Hearing Aids

Phones do work with hearing aids, but not every phone performs to the same level. Ratings for hearing aids are usually combined in the device’s specifications, looking something like this:

  • M1/T1 (the worst rating for hearing aids)
  • M3/T3 (the most common)
  • M4/T4 (the best rating for hearing aids)

If you use a hearing aid, checking the Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) rating on a phone you are considering is crucial. If you forget this, you run the risk of getting a phone that doesn’t work- and that’s the last thing you need!

At a Glance: The Best Cell Phones for the Hearing Impaired

Image

Name

Height

Width

Depth

Weight

Best For

Header
Ushining Seniors Cell Phones Unlocked SOS Button Hearing Aid Compatible 3G AT&T Senior Basic Cell Phones Large Volume 2.4 Inch HD Screen Unlocked Feature Phones with Charging Dock (Blue)

Ushining Seniors Cell Phones 

4.72"

2.17"

0.59"

3.32 oz

Hard of hearing

Google Pixel 5 - 5G Android Phone - Water Resistant - Unlocked Smartphone with Night Sight and Ultrawide Lens - Just Black

Google Pixel 5

5.7"

2.8"

0.3"

5 oz

Water-resistant

Easyfone Prime-A1 3G Unlocked Senior Flip Cell Phone, Big Button Hearing Aids Compatible Easy-to-Use Basic Cell Phone with Charging Dock(Red)

Easyfone Prime-A1 3G

3.94"

1.97"

0.79"

3.32 oz

Large simple buttons

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (128GB, Pacific Blue) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

6.33"

3.07"

0.29"

8.03 oz

Apple’s signature sleek design

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G Smartphone | Pro-Grade Camera, 8K Video, 64MP High Res | 128GB, Phantom White (SM-G991UZWAXAA)

Samsung Galaxy S21 

6.7"

3.4"

2.44"

7.1 oz

All Day Intelligent Battery

Clarity XLC3.4+ DECT 6.0 Extra Loud Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller ID

Clarity XLC3.4+ DECT 6.0

10.6"

3.7"

10"

2.28 lbs

Extra loud ringer

Hamilton CapTel 2400i Captioned Telephone Large Touch-Screen Captioned Telephone with 40dB Amplification

Hamilton CapTel 2400i

16.14"

10.79"

4.02"

3 lbs

Senior with hearing loss

VTech SN5127 Amplified Cordless Senior Phone with Answering Machine, Call Blocking, 90dB Extra-Loud Visual Ringer, One-Touch Audio Assist on Handset up to 50dB, Big Buttons and Large Display

VTech SN5127 Cordless Phone

8.46"

7.2"

4.72"

1.9 lbs

50Db audio assist

Best Cell Phones for the Hearing Impaired

1. Best Hearing Aid Compatible Cell Phone: Ushining Seniors Cell Phone

Ushining Seniors Cell Phones Unlocked SOS Button Hearing Aid Compatible 3G AT&T Senior Basic Cell Phones Large Volume 2.4 Inch HD Screen Unlocked Feature Phones with Charging Dock (Blue)

Ushining Seniors Cellphone

Height

4.72"

Width

2.17"

Depth

0.59"

Weight

3.32 oz

This phone might not be flashy, but that’s the entire point. It’s simple, it has large buttons that are easy to use, and it works excellently with hearing aids. If you don’t use hearing aids, this phone is still plenty loud and can help you hear more clearly than you have in years.

This phone works with many carriers and is about as simple as cell phones get these days. It also has an SOS button on the back that can alert doctors, EMS, and family members if you have a medical emergency.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t need much from their cell phone, this is for you. Beyond that, this phone delivers excellent performance for the hard of hearing, meaning that it may be worth it to keep this phone on hand for phone calls and use a different device for surfing the internet and checking Facebook, rather than have a smartphone you cannot hear!

HAC Rating: M4/T4

Pros

  • Excellent clarity for people with hearing aids
  • Simple and affordable
  • Built-in SOS button

Cons

  • Too simple for some people
  • No smartphone capabilities

2. Best Smart Phone for Hearing Loss: Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5 - 5G Android Phone - Water Resistant - Unlocked Smartphone with Night Sight and Ultrawide Lens - Just Black

Google Pixel 5

Height

5.7"

Width

2.8"

Depth

0.3"

Weight

5 oz

This 5G-enabled phone can be used with any major carrier and is among the fastest phones on the market. It’s loud enough that most people with light-moderate hearing loss can hear it without a hearing aid, though it works best with a hearing aid for people with moderate-severe hearing issues.

The Pixel 5 also has one of the best cameras in any cell phone, meaning you can take high-quality photos that’ll blow your old phone or digital camera out of the water. These features, great though they are, aren’t the best part of this phone.

The Pixel 5 has a real-time captioning feature, called “Live Caption” that instantly transcribes every word that the other person is saying. This feature is a huge selling point of the Pixel 5, allowing you to keep up with your conversations without having to depend on loudness or hearing aid compatibility. The Live Caption feature was demonstrated in this popular ad, featuring the true story of a phone call between a son and his deaf father:

HAC Rating: M4/T3

Pros

  • Live Caption makes it possible to talk without missing a word
  • Works well with hearing aids
  • Fast speeds, excellent camera
  • Works with all carriers

Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Too fancy for people who don’t like smartphones

3. Best Flip Phone for the Hearing Impaired: Easyfone Prime-A1 3G Flip Phone

Easyfone Prime-A1 3G Unlocked Senior Flip Cell Phone, Big Button Hearing Aids Compatible Easy-to-Use Basic Cell Phone with Charging Dock(Red)

Easyfone Prime-A1 3G

Height

3.94"

Width

1.97"

Depth

0.79"

Weight

3.32 oz

It’s not quite as easy to find a flip phone in 2021 as it was in 2005, but there are still a few solid models around. The Easyfone Prime-A1 is one such option that is designed for seniors and people who are hard of hearing. It’s rated in the best class of phones for hearing aids, has large and simple buttons, and is loud enough for any senior/person with hearing loss to communicate effectively.

This phone lacks the ability to check social media, read the news, or engage in other activities that people use their smartphones for, but it makes up for that in call quality. If you’re looking for a device that can keep you connected in multiple ways, this isn’t it. If, however, you’re in the market for a cell phone that will allow you to have clear, productive phone conversations at a low price, the Easyfone Prime-A1 is exactly what you need.

HAC Rating: M4/T4

Pros

  • Strong performance with hearing aids/impairments
  • Simple and sturdy flip-phone design
  • Works with AT&T and pre-paid phone networks

Cons

  • Only supports 3G networks (4G and 5G are more common these days)

4. Best iPhone for the Hearing Impaired: iPhone 12 Pro Max

New Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (128GB, Pacific Blue) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Height

6.33"

Width

3.07"

Depth

0.29"

Weight

8.03 oz

The 12 Pro Max is the newest and largest phone from global sensation, Apple. It has one of the largest screens on any phone, is 5G-ready, and comes with Apple’s signature sleek and intuitive design. If you’ve had trouble learning how to use a smartphone in the past, you may find the simplicity of iPhones to be a breath of fresh air.

The iPhone may not have the real-time phone call captioning featured on the Google Pixel 5, but you can download an app, conveniently named “Live Caption”, that will transcribe in-person conversations and TV shows for you, so that you can read along and communicate that way. The large screen size of the 12 Pro Max makes reading texts, e-mails, and Live Captions a piece of cake.

This phone works very well with hearing aids and has Bluetooth, connecting instantly to your favorite listening device. If you’re looking for cutting-edge technology delivered in a user-friendly package, iPhone is the way to go, without a doubt.

HAC Rating: M3/T4

Pros

  • Large screen and intuitive user controls
  • Works well with hearing aids
  • Easy to connect to listening devices

Cons

  • No live captioning of phone calls
  • Very expensive

5. Best Android Phone for the Hard of Hearing: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G Smartphone | Pro-Grade Camera, 8K Video, 64MP High Res | 128GB, Phantom White (SM-G991UZWAXAA)

Samsung Galaxy S21 

Height

6.7"

Width

3.4"

Depth

2.44"

Weight

7.1 oz

The Galaxy line of cell phones is Samsung/Android’s answer to the iPhone, outperforming it in every technical measurement. It’s better than the iPhone for people with hearing aids that don’t have telecoils (due to its M4/T3 rating), has a more powerful camera, and a longer-lasting battery.

Despite being more powerful than the iPhone, equally fast, and just as suited to people with hearing impairments, it costs $300 less. If performance matters to you more than style, this phone is exactly what you’re looking for. It still has plenty of style; it’s just that it places performance and speed at a higher priority level than Apple phones do.

HAC Rating: M4/T3

Pros

  • 5G ready
  • Fast, top-of-the-line electronics
  • Perfect for hearing aids without telecoils
  • Cheaper than iPhones

Cons

  • Not as user-friendly as other cell phones

Best Landline Phones for the Hearing Impaired

6. Best Landline Phone (Overall): Clarity XLC3.4+

Clarity XLC3.4+ DECT 6.0 Extra Loud Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller ID

Clarity XLC3.4+ DECT 6.0

Height

10.6"

Width

3.7"

Depth

10"

Weight

2.28 lbs

This extra-loud landline phone has a very classic and simple interface and can deliver audio up to 50 decibels right into your ears. If you have hearing issues but aren’t using a hearing aid, a loud phone like this one can help you clearly make out what is being said, without the help of another listening device.

The biggest drawback of this phone is that it lacks captioning features; this is the only thing that stops it from being perfect. Still, even without live captioning, this phone is more than suitable for any senior or person who has a hearing impairment.

HAC Rating: M4/T4

Pros

  • Extra loud cordless phone
  • Large digital screen with caller ID
  • Works with or without hearing aids

Cons

  • Lacks captioning
  • Not very durable

7. Best Caption Phone for the Hearing Impaired: Hamilton CapTel 2400i

Hamilton CapTel 2400i Captioned Telephone Large Touch-Screen Captioned Telephone with 40dB Amplification

Hamilton CapTel 2400i

Height

16.14"

Width

10.79"

Depth

4.02"

Weight

3 lbs

This is the gold standard in captioned landline phones. With a large, bright screen, you won’t miss a thing that is being said and communicate with zero difficulties, even with severe hearing impairments. The phone has an excellent sound boost, too, helping you hear just as well as you can read!

The only reason you may not want to get this phone is if you don’t have home internet. The CapTel system requires an internet connection for the captioning to function, so people without internet access are left out of this amazing benefit. If you have internet, though, the real-time captioning, 95-name caller ID, and 40-decibel sound boost are more than enough to make this an excellent phone for the hearing impaired!

HAC Rating: M4/T4

Pros

  • Real-time captioning of all phone calls at the touch of a button
  • 40-decibel sound boost
  • Large, easy-to-read screen

Cons

  • Requires internet service for captioning

8. Best Landline Phone for Hearing Aids: VTech SN5127 Cordless Landline Phone

VTech SN5127 Amplified Cordless Senior Phone System with 90DB Extra-Loud Visual Ringer, Big Buttons & Large Display, White

VTech SN5127 Cordless Phone

Height

8.46"

Width

7.2"

Depth

4.72"

Weight

1.9 lbs

VTech, one of the most trusted brands for home phones, produces this excellent voice amplifying cordless phone. It has a 50-decibel audio boost, making everything the person on the other end of the line is saying come through loud and clear. The volume control is on the side of the handset, very easy to turn up and down as needed during your conversation.

The ringer is extremely loud- 90 decibels- and has a flashing light that makes it possible for anyone, even with severe hearing loss, to be able to pick up the phone on time, every time. If that is too loud, you can turn the ringer down, because it has five different audio levels.

It isn’t the fanciest phone around, but it is extremely easy to use and was built top-to-bottom for people with hearing difficulties. If you’re tired of missing what people are saying, this affordable phone is for you!

HAC Rating: M4/T4

Pros

  • 50-decibel voice boost and 90-decibel ringer
  • You can place photos in the speed dial slots for easy memory
  • Ability to block up to 1,000 numbers to avoid spam calls

Cons

  • Lacks captioning

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Phone for Hearing Impairments

Where to Buy Phones for the Hearing Impaired

Online

  • Amazon: This is the best place to shop for many items, landlines and cell phones included. They have a massive selection, an easy return process, and often have phones at cheaper prices than you’ll find elsewhere. The only downside is that information about a certain phone’s hearing aid compatibility can be hard to find on Amazon. If the seller doesn’t include the information, it can be tough to tell whether or not it will be accommodating to your needs. Still, there is no better place to find a phone than Amazon!
  • Carrier Websites: If you like your current cell phone carrier, you may have a simpler time shopping on AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile’s websites. That way, you can guarantee any cell phone you get will work with your current mobile plan.

In-Store

  • Carrier Stores: If you’re looking for a cell phone, heading into your local Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T store is the easiest way to do that in person. They can guide you to the right devices, plans, and accessories for your needs, with much more expertise than someone at a supermarket would have!
  • Supermarkets: Target, Meijer, and Wal-Mart each carry a selection of cell phones and landlines, some of which are designed to accommodate people with hearing impairments. If you’re looking for a simple phone and aren’t feeling picky, these stores are a great place to pick something up and keep on moving!
  • Best Buy: With hundreds of stores in the US and a staff that is trained to answer your questions, Best Buy is an excellent place to purchase electronics. While they may lack the selection of Amazon, they are likely to have better options than you’d find in a supermarket, especially when it comes to landlines.
  • Pharmacies: CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid typically carry a few different landline options. If you’re heading to one of their locations to pick up a prescription, it’s worth taking a few minutes to browse their offerings. You aren’t guaranteed to find a phone that works for you, but it’s always worth checking!

Tips for Buying the Best Hearing Impaired Phone for Your Needs

Locked vs Unlocked Cell Phones

When shopping for a cell phone, the distinction between “locked” (meaning it’s anchored to one specific carrier) and “unlocked” (phones that can be used with any carrier) is crucial. If you buy a phone that is locked to Verizon and try to activate it with T-Mobile, you’ve wasted your money, unless you’re ready to switch providers! So, before buying a phone, make sure it is compatible with your cell phone carrier or prepare to change your provider.

Necessary Features

Upgrading to a phone that will accommodate your hearing impairment means that there are a lot of features you should be on the lookout for:

  • Captioning: real-time captioning is one of the most effective ways to communicate over the phone with a hearing impairment. If you can read, you can talk- even if you cannot understand more than 20% of what the other person is saying. If you moderate-severe hearing loss, a phone with real-time captioning can be a game-changer for you.
  • Hearing Aid Compatibility: If you wear a hearing aid, keep a sharp eye out for phones that have an M4/T4 rating and don’t settle for anything less than an M3/T3.
  • Connectivity: If you use hearing amplifiers or headphones to help you hear things more clearly, it’s nice to have a phone that allows you to connect to those devices. Whether you do that through Bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio cable, the ability to connect your favorite listening device to your phone is a huge bonus.

Conclusion

There we have it! Each phone on our list is designed to help people with hearing impairments, in one way or another. If you are experiencing hearing loss, you should seriously consider upgrading so that you can communicate clearly and effectively again. Which phone was the most appealing to you? Have any questions about one of the cell phones or landlines we featured? Leave your thoughts in the section below!


1 thought on “Best Phones For Hearing Impaired (2021): 8 Top Models + Expert Buying Guide”

  1. Hello,
    Like your info!
    My problem is mom is in nursing home has consumer cellular flip phone cannot seem to hear anything.
    I need her to have a simple loudest volume speaker operating cell phone easy access to contacts phone with good reception service in Ripon Ca. For 90 yr old getting memory loss

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