According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a third of seniors aged over 65 years struggle with hearing loss. That number rises to nearly 50% once seniors reach 75. Since aging-related hearing loss is such a common occurrence, it is something that all caregivers should be prepared for. Though these hearing issues can make life extremely difficult for the elderly, there are ways to work around them. Finding a cell phone that fits the needs of your elderly loved one is one of the strategies you can use to make their daily tasks easier. This article will give you a rundown of the best cell phones for hearing impaired individuals.
How to Choose the Best Cell Phone
Purchasing a cell phone for your elderly loved one allows them more independence and can make caring for them easier, giving caregivers a break. There are several major aspects of the cell phone you should check out before deciding to make a purchase:
- Hearing aid compatibility – Even if your elderly loved one does not wear a hearing aid, you should make sure that any cell phone you purchase is hearing aid compatible. Your senior may eventually need a hearing aid and without this feature, there may be feedback, buzzing, and static during a call, making it much more difficult to use the phone. Compatibility is measured through M and T ratings and if the rating is 3 or 4, this means the phone will not interfere with your elderly loved one’s hearing aid.
- Display – As your senior ages, they may also have issues with eyesight. So, it is important to choose a phone that has a large screen and bright display. This will ensure that seniors will be able to text freely.
- Construction – You should also make sure that the cell phone you buy is durable and can withstand scratches, bumps, splashes, and other everyday incidents.
- Speaker – If your senior has hearing issues, it’s vital that the phone you buy for them has a good loudspeaker. This way, they will easily listen to and converse with others.
- Battery – Any cell phone user needs a long-lasting battery to make sure that the phone does not run out of power when most needed.
- GPS – If necessary this can be used to track the device and the person using it. It will also help seniors if they get lost or disoriented.
- Return policy – Before you purchase the phone, it is also a good idea to check what return policy the seller offers, in case you do not wish to keep it after you try it out.
Other features to check for include sound amplification, cell phone and earpiece design, hands-free functions, vibration alert options, and text mode.
Our choices for the best cell phones on the market for hearing-impaired individuals
With Jitterbug Smart2, there are no annual contracts or cancellation fees. You can keep your existing phone number and if you live in the U.S., the manufacturer also offers U.S. based customer service. Though the Jitterbug has a senior-friendly design, it still provides all of the aspects of a smartphone. It is designed for easy use and buyers are welcome to choose between a basic phone plan or an upgraded one with extra health features. Regardless of the package, the purchase comes with call waiting, long-distance calling, roaming, caller ID, and wall and car chargers.
This phone is simple, has a large, easy to use screen, a 30-day return policy, and is perfect for those seniors that need a medical alert feature. It does, however, need to be charged every 24 hours, requires customers to use GreatCall plans, and some users have found the initial set-up difficult.
You can learn more about the Jitterbug Smart2 – which costs approximately $149.99 – here.
Apple iPhone 11
With Apple, users can get iphone-compatible hearing aids, personalized sound settings, apps for tracking your senior’s hearing and more. Iphones also have vibration settings and bright LED light alerts for health notifications. This way, lack of hearing is no longer an issue.
There are some disadvantages to this model. It has no headphone jack and is more expensive than other phones on this list (prices range from $699 – $849). On the plus side, the hearing aid compatibility on this phone is rated M3/T4. Users can choose a plan that allows for unlimited calls and texts. Iphones also provide great sound and camera quality, a large display, and an interface that is easy to navigate.
You can purchase this model at the link here.
Alcatel Go Flip 3
The Alcatel Go Flip 3 has a simple design, smart features, great hearing aid compatibility, and a long-lasting battery. Though this model has a simplified flip phone design, it offers all of the necessary smartphone features – great call quality, 4GB of internal memory, a Google assistant feature, and the ability to download apps.
This model also has large buttons, a 2,8 inch display, great loudspeaker, and volume buttons that are easy to use. In terms of hearing aid compatibility, the Go Flip is rated at M4/T4 – the highest possible rating. Offered through the T-Mobile network, the unlimted plan starts at $27.50 per month.
Possible features for the T-Mobile plan can include international calling, telephone scam protection, in-flight WiFi, and the ability to have a hotspot. Voice texting makes messaging easy and overall, the phone is perfect for those who want something small and simple with internet access.
You can learn more about the Alcatel Go Flip 3 here.
Customers who purchase the Lively Flip receive a senior-friendly phone from GreatCall. This phone has a voice dial feature, a great speaker, is easy to navigate, and even offers a magnifier with a flashlight. Out of the options on this list, the Lively Flip has the most simplified design, offering simple features along with medical alert functions that connect the users to GreatCall’s emergency response call center. This feature can come in handy if caregivers need to track the senior’s location.
This model has large buttons and a brightly lit screen. The menu is easy to use, the phone costs $99.99, and the hearing aid compatibility is rated at M4/T4. The phone also comes with a wall and a car charger, no annual contracts, a built-in SOS button, and access to U.S. based customer service. Customers can also keep their existing phone number and overall, this phone is great for those who just wish to text and call.
The Lively Flip is available for purchase here.
Apple iPhone 7
Here is another iPhone option for your elderly loved one who is struggling with hearing issues. The screen is large and bright, the speakerphone is loud, the photos are clear and the interface is intuitive. For those seniors that want more advanced features, Apple phones can be a great choice.
This handset has an M3/T4 hearing aid compatibility rating and is available in several colors and through various providers. The average price for an iPhone 7 is $349.99. Similar to the other iPhone on this list, this model does not have a headphone jack and comes with several internal storage options.
Though this model does not have a battery that is as long-lasting as other phones on this list, it can be a great option for elderly who wish to surf, shop online, use different apps, and stream content.
To learn more about Apple iPhone 7, you can go to this link.
If your elderly loved one is struggling with hearing loss – along with other disabilities, then finding the perfect phone for them is vital. Hearing impairments make using a phone frustrating. Since one of the biggest goals of caregiving is to make your elderly loved one comfortable, choosing a phone that fits their particular needs should be at the top of your list.
There are several options on the market, with different features and models. Prices also vary and ultimately, which phone you buy depends on the senior’s level of hearing loss, as well as what they want to get out of the phone. This article should give you some ideas about what type of phone you can purchase but before making the final decision, we recommend that you try out several of them.
- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Age-Related Hearing Loss, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss