Skip to Main Content
Hearing-impaired people, and particularly hearing-aid and cochlear-implant users, often have difficulty communicating over the telephone. The intelligibility of telephone speech is considerably lower than the intelligibility of face-to-face speech. This is partly because of lack of visual cues, limited telephone bandwidth, and background noise. In addition, cellphones may cause interference with the hearing aid or cochlear implant. To address these problems that hearing-impaired people experience with telephones, this paper proposes a wireless phone adapter that can be used to route the audio signal directly to the hearing aid or cochlear implant processor. This adapter is based on Bluetooth technology. The favorable features of this new wireless technology make the adapter superior to traditional assistive listening devices. A hardware prototype was built and software programs were written to implement the headset profile in the Bluetooth specification. Three cochlear implant users were tested with the proposed phone-adapter and reported good speech quality.