Cell Phones for Seniors and Hearing Aids: M & T Ratings

When you're searching for a cell phone plan for a senior, one of the components that you must look at is the compatibility with hearing aids. A lot of cell phones in reality will produce interference with hearing aids which can create:
. Feedback
. Buzzing noises
. Static
. Hearing problems in general
Each leading cell provider is actually required to offer a hearing aid compatible cell and those telephones are marked plainly as such. You can likewise look at how well a cell phone would work with a hearing aid by checking what is called the M rating and T rating. Microphone Rating vs. Telecoil Rating for Cell Phones Almost all of the current hearing aid options come with 2 different modes:
. Acoustic coupling or microphone mode
. Telecoil coupling or inductive mode
The acoustic coupling is what picks up each sound, even ambient noises, the telecoil coupling is specifically designed to just pick up the electric signals that are transmitted through a telephone. Many of the hearing implements will only use the telecoil coupling and disable the acoustic coupling automatically when placed near a telephone in order to preclude feedback. The smaller of the aids don't have a telecoil coupling built in so they will only use the acoustic coupling.
Due to the fact that there are 2 different modes for the listening devices the cell phone plan producers have the requirement of revealing the ratings for both of them. These are referred to as the M and T ratings. M ratings are for the acoustic and the T ratings are for the telecoil.
The following scale runs form 1-4. 1 is the worst and 4 are the best. It breaks down as follows:
. M1 T1 - Poor
. M2 T2 - Fair
. M3 T3 - Good
. M4 T4 - Excellent
There is no direct correlation with the M and T ratings so if one has a dominating M rating but a poor T rating it doesn't mean anything. You do want to be searching for a rating of a 3 or a 4 for either of the M or T though.
Hearing Aid Ratings
There are likewise deviations with hearing aids. They have something that is known as RF or radio frequency interference resistance. What this is for is the prevention of your hearing aid from picking up any radio signal accidentally. The negative part about this though is that it can handicap the compatibility of cell phones.
Due to this fact it's key that you're factoring this in along with the M and T rating of the hearing aid as well. There won't be lists of this data for every telephone but you can consult your audiologist in order to get assistance getting this information.
FCC Mandates
There have been laws ordained by the FCC which determine the compatibility of hearing aids and set forth regulations on how the hearing aid compatible handsets are carried by national carriers in regards to how many handsets those carriers have to carry.
In order to be considered a hearing aid compatible telephone it must have a rating of three or higher for the M and T. in addition to that the retailer has to let you try out the handset before you purchase it. Likewise the cell phone companies have to supply information on their internet sites.
Other Components
In addition to the M and T ratings there are some other considerations that you should make to find out that the cell you're looking to purchase is good with a hearing aid.
One instance would be that the CDMA cell phone carriers are going to function better with a hearing aid than a GSM cell. Also a flip phone or a phone with a clamshell design is beneficial as they don't pick up as much interference as other types of phones will.
One other bit of advice is putting the phone just a little behind the ear instead of directly on the ear could actually assist in getting a stronger signal.




“Under the care of Leo J. Borrell, M.D. since December 2001, I have seen a remarkable improvement in my mother’s condition. She is responding dramatically to the new regiment Dr. Borrell has prescribed”

- Beth Rose


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by Dr. Leo J. Borrell, featured in Assisted Living Consult for November/December 2006. A HealthCom Media Publication