Using the telephone with a CI

I have become confident enough with the implant to begin using the telephone again. But it is not without its challenges. Remember I have "bi-modal" operation, and use an implant (CI) in my right cochlear, and a hearing aid (HA) in my left ear. To optimise my hearing experience, I need to use both, and with telephones that required a little experimentation, particularly with land line phones.

In these notes I make use of the various devices which are compatible with my Cochlear (the company) implant. Other CI manufacturers support equivalent devices which will likely be just as suitable. But there may be subtle differences and experimentation is required.

Cell phone/Mobile

The PhoneClip allows access Bluetooth-enabled devices directly from both the HA and the CI. After first pairing the PhoneClip with the cell phone and then with both the HA and CI processor, I was quickly up and running. But I also felt it was important (and more cost-effective) to make and receive calls on my landline phone...

Landline

There are several options for this, and I have tackled them separately below.

1. T-coil with handset

Most obvious is to make use of the T coil, and simply place the handset next to the processor, after first selecting T-switch operation. This has the limitation that one can only listen with the implanted ear.

2. Binaural headset

The quickest solution to overcoming the shortcoming of only using one device is to purchase a binaural headset for the telephone. I already had one of these which I found invluable in the earlier days of my hearing loss, but once my hearing had deteriorated beyond a certain point, I was once again phone-less - until!!!! the implant!

3. Loudspeaking telephone

4. PhoneClip with HSP-supported landline phone

After pairing the PhoneClip with the cordless home phone basestation (in addition to the cell phone) I was able to successfully answer an incoming land-line phone call.

Outgoing calls proved to be a little cumbersome. A call must first be established using the cordless handset. The PhoneClip is then "conferenced in" after which the handset can be released from the call. Ending the call using the Phone Clip "Hang-up" button works fine, and the wireless link from the HA and CI to the PhoneClip closes automatically after a few seconds. Note that, just as with a cell phone, a Bluetooth connection must be in place before starting the call. In the case of many landlines, this involves dialling a local code to establish the connection. Although the connection will continue as long as the PhoneClip is in close proximity with the base station, it will stop after a few minutes if they are not sufficiently close and must be set up again.