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Home » Advocacy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Cochlear Implants, Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, News, Technology

Apple’s iPhone Not Hearing Aid or Cochlear Implant Compatible

Submitted by Paula Rosenthal on September 10, 2007 – 10:29 pm10 Comments

Got word today from Hearing Loss Association of America that Apple’s new iPhone is not hearing aid compatible on microphone or telecoil settings. Complaints have been filed with the FCC because HLAA believes that Apple, when designing the phone, could have tested it for hearing aid compatibility implemented standards to make it accessible to hearing aid and cochlear implant users.

For a company that prides itself on offering revolutionary technology and ease of use, they really failed the deaf and hard of hearing community this time. Often, cell phones are easier for people with hearing aids and cochlear implants to hear on. The sound quality is crisper than the quality of electronic, landline phones. Using a cell phone which is telecoil compatible, which many now are, makes for an even easier time for people with hearing loss. When enabled, the telecoil feature allows the hearing aid or cochlear implant user to blcok out all background noise and only hear the speaker on the phone.

Join me in expressing dissatisfaction with Apple’s decision to ignore deaf and hard of hearing consumers.  Go to the iPhone Discussions area and tell them what you think. If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an Apple ID by visiting this page and clicking on the link that says, “Dont have an Apple ID? Click here to create one.” There have already been replies to my initial post in their forums. You can access the discussion here.

If you’re using your hearing aid or implant compatible phone and not an iPhone, you can always call Apple’s public relations department and voice your concerns the old-fashioned way. Here’s their number: 408.984.2042.

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  • A Cochlear rep contacted me today about making the iPhone work for people with Cochlear’s cochlear implant processors:

    “While it’s true that you’d get interference holding the phone right next to a hearing device, I am pretty sure that the Bluetooth access would work fine since the phone can be a distance away from the hearing device. I use the NoizFree Beetle H-1 with the telecoil and it works great! I don’t have the iPhone but BT should make it usable for those who have a telecoil or the Phonak SmartLink.”

  • Tania says:

    I use a behind-the-ear aid with an FM system and an iphone. The FM has bluetooth on it, so I pair it with my iphone and can talk on the phone that way.
    It is somewhat of a hassle, however, because my t-coil is not being put to use.

  • nuts4hockey says:

    I have an Advanced Bionics CI with a T-Mic and I tested the IPhone at the store as well as a friends phone and both times did not experience any issues with static or noise. The phone produced quality sounds and I was able to carry on a conversation for about 10 to 15 minutes.

    For those that are unfamiliar with the T-Mic, this is not a telecoil but rather a an attachement to the body of the CI that drops down closer to the canal area of your ear which is where you would normally put your phone as if you were a hearing person.

    Hope this helps!!


  • Gerald says:

    Can someone collaborate on the comments by Kev above? I have the Advanced Bionics CI with the T-Mic also. If this would true that the iPhone works without static or interference I would purchase one right away.


  • [...] Paula Rosenthal at Hearing Exchange has this to say,  Apple’s new iPhone is not hearing aid compatible on microphone or telecoil settings. Complaints have been filed with the FCC because HLAA believes that Apple, when designing the phone, could have tested it for hearing aid compatibility implemented standards to make it accessible to hearing aid and cochlear implant users. [...]

  • Carla says:

    I have an Oticon BTE, can’t read the model number but it is a hybrid (analog & digital) about 4 years old, with regular, MT, and T switch. I just got an iphone 3G from AT&T 4/26/09 and have some minor static but can hear fine on my T switch without any other attachments. The volume must be up on the phone but I get no feedback and I hear people talking to me thru the iphone just fine.

    I have over 80% loss in the ear I use and 100% loss in the one I don’t. I use a single BTE and life is mono but good. I am thinking of getting a noizfree only for the hands free option when driving or listening to music/movies on my iphone. I had a Palm Centro with an HA rating of 5 (highest) and hear almost just as well on my iphone now as I did on my centro. I will tell you this, whatever Sprint uses to broadcast cellular waves, my HA’s always seemed to be louder and clearer/work better with my T coil than other cellular companies. In fact, I left ATT (then bell south wireless) long ago because none of the phones seemed to sound great to me on T coil and I felt it was more because of the wavelength/type of broadcast carrier they use rather than the phones themselves. Now Sprint is falling apart on me and I can’t get good signals or service from them so I went with the iPhone at ATT rather than a new contract at Sprint.

    Your best bet is to try one either at the store or from a friend yourself. Everyone has different brands of HA’s, settings/programming and different hearing losses. Any cell phone, you should try first, then decide on your own. So many people in the phone stores and around the office have cell phones now, it’s really hard not to find one you are interested in to try out. I have found most people very understanding and willing to let you play/test theirs if you explain why. Since we are all different, what I don’t seem to mind or notice with my HA, you might on yours and it may drive you nuts. You never know until you try for yourself using your current HA, that was programmed specifically to you.

  • Clare says:

    I tried using a friend’s iPhone with my power BTEs. All I got was buzzing with the t-coil setting and extreme feedback with just my hearing aid mic. Very sad because I love Apple and the iPhone could be so useful, if I could make phone calls with it.

  • Karen Williams says:

    I filed a complaint with FCC regarding Apple consistently ignoring the deaf and hearing aid wearers\’ population especially with 4th generation Iphone. It is my understanding that FCC mandated that phone manufacturers make their phones hearing aid compatibility. I was offended by Apple\’s response which basically stated that the Iphone meets the needs of visually impaired, hand impaired, speech impaired and finally the deaf with the video calling feature for ASL and TTY. Apple then further stated that Apple is not required to make a hearing aid compatible phone. The phone\’s design makes it difficult though they have worked on this issues and made some improvements with Iphone4. I will admit that I tried a Iphone demo and was pleased with the decreased noise interference and feedback. What I find most offensive is how they focused their achievements on other disabilities issues and then stated that Apple is not required to comply with FCC mandate but \"they\’ll do what they can\". Basically what it comes down to is that Apple and Steve Jobs have become arrogant and so confident with success of the Iphones. They demonstrated this with recent responses to current Iphone4 issues. So on principle, I will not be in the market for Iphone anytime soon and think other hearing aid wearers should urged Iphone to directly take the hearing wearers\’ population into consideration every time they redesign their phone. Blackberry, HTC, Motorola has, why can\’t they especially if Apple\’s technology is so advanced?!!

  • audiologist says:

    Hearing today is all about Technology and the advances seen in recent years. It has been created to house up-to-date discussion on hearing aids. There is a link between the two it could possibly be because of two reasons. One, those who develop hearing loss as they get older tends to be more socially isolated and less active. Two, perhaps “the strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia. Thanks for sharing…

  • thanks admin for sharing this cool thing with us.nryjmrhn

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