Business Phone Solutions for Hearing Aid Wearers: Part 2

Hand holding a Solutions 3D SphereThis is the second post of a three-part series addressing ideal business phone solutions for hearing aid wearers experiencing difficulty using the phone at work. Part 1 outlined options for users of streamers and/or T-coil equipped hearing instruments using standard PBX phone systems. This post will also address the use of standard PBX phone systems for users of hearing instruments that are NOT equipped with T-coils and DO NOT use streamers. The outlined solutions allow the use of the business phone without the need to remove hearing instruments from the ear.


ha401. In-line or strap-on telephone amplifier: in-line amplifiers are designed to connect to existing telephones and provide additional amplification (usually  30-40 dB) to the incoming caller’s voice. Two popular and inexpensive models include the HA40 (shown left) by Clarity and the ClearSounds Portable Telephone Amplifier. Another option includes the Plantronics M22 Phone Amplifier. This is a more expensive option than the other two as it offers the ability for the user to switch between handset and headset; in addition, if the hearing instrument wearer eventually upgrades to T-coils, the 908530M22 will support a neckloop. As with most in-line amplifiers, both of these products are designed to work with corded telephones. In the event the business telephone is a cordless model, a portable strap-on telephone amplifier (shown right) may be used although it may be used with a corded telephone too. The amplifier is secured over the earpiece of the business phone’s handset and amplifies up to  20 dB.

CS-QH2The ClearSounds QH2 Bluetooth Hub & Phone Amplifier (CS-QH2) mentioned in Part 1 remains an option too although in this particular scenario, its Bluetooth capabilities would not be utilized (i.e. no streamer to pair to; no T-coils to support use of Bluetooth neckloop). Unlike the three previously mentioned in-line amplifiers, the CS-QH2 is designed to work with both corded and cordless telephones. Once connected to the business phone, the CS-QH2 provides up to 30 dB of amplification. Even though the Bluetooth capabilities of the CS-QH2 would not be used in this scenario, you will still end up paying for the technology. The CS-QH2 will cost about six times more than HA40 or ClearSounds Phone Amplifier.

508062. Amplified Handset: the handset of the business phone may be replaced with any number of amplified handsets available on the market.  Most are designed to provide up to approximately 20 dB of amplification. Depending on the specific model, a thumbwheel built into the handset allows for volume adjustment or a button located on the underside of the handset must be continually pressed to activate amplification. When looking for an amplified handset, read the fine print as some business phones require the amplified handset to be from the same manufacturer as the business phone and/or some amplified handsets will only work with analog phone systems and will not be compatible with digital telephone systems.

The above recommendations represent the most ideal solutions for hearing instrument wearers experiencing difficulty using a business telephone in a PBX environment who do not have streamers or T-coils.  In each case, it will be necessary for the hearing instrument wearer to get comfortable with holding the handset close to the hearing instrument’s microphone at a position that will not cause feedback. Part 3 of this series will outline phone solutions to hearing instrument wearers who rely on their mobile phone as their primary business phone.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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4 Responses to Business Phone Solutions for Hearing Aid Wearers: Part 2

  1. Dan Schwartz says:

    Good afternoon, Aukse! 😛
    The best PBX solution I’ve come up with so far is to use a CaptionCall phone, which also has an awesome amplified handset. The CaptionCall phone uses a standard 1A2 POTS¹ line connection, and also an ethernet or WiFi connection to the Internet.

    ● If the telephone line connection at the wall jack is a 1A2 line with a 4 pin RJ11 jack, just plug in the CaptionCall keyset, connect to the Internet, and you’re done;
    If the telephone line connection is VoIP, such as when is used with an ethernet-connected keyset, use either a VoIP-POTS gateway (like the LinkSys gateways Vonage supplies to home users;

    ● If the telephone line connection is VoIP, such as when is used with an ethernet-connected keyset .AND. it’s a small office with a single wiring closet, ask the telephone/IT contractor to provide a POTS signal in the closet, run a twisted pair from it to the punchdowns for unused ethernet pins 7 & 8 (brown & brown-white twisted pair) in the closet; and at the ethernet wall jack install a new wallplate with one RJ21 ethernet & one RJ11 POTS jack, and connect the brown & brown-white twisted pair to the RJ11. Note that this will only work for conventional 10Base-T & 100Base-T ethernet, and .NOT. for 1000Base-T (gigabit), and probably not for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) installations, depending on the PoE protocol used;

    ● If the telephone line connection is to a key service unit (KSU) with a proprietary “digital” interface to proprietary keysets (such as the old ComDial systems), then check with the manufacturer for a KSU-mounted adapter to convert the digital signal back to 1A2 POTS, which then converts the twisted pair going to the specific wall jack.

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog
    E-mail: Dan@Snip.Net
    Follow The Hearing Blog on Facebook

    1) POTS = Plain Old Telephone System)

    • aubankaitis says:

      Hi Dan:
      Caption Call phones will not work with PBX systems as they are not designed to accept transfer calls. That applies to HamiltonCaptel as well. Per Caption Call, their phone is designed for home use and will not work in a business setting utilizing PBX

  2. Hello A.U.,
    Nice followup on business phone use for hearing aid wearers. It all starts with education and I appreciate your efforts in this endeavor. We as a profession should become familiar and comfortable with knowing the solutions to issues in hearing over the phone, in the business environment, particularly with hearing aid use. It certainly can present challenges to patients.l Thank you again for your efforts A.U, first name a mystery….:)

    • aubankaitis says:

      Thanks Rich. Feedback always appreciated and happy to hear colleagues are benefitting from these types of posts. Look at my blog tag line….upper right corner. One of those words serves as a clue; translated to Lithuanian, that is my legal name. Mystery soon to be solved

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