Should I buy a smart phone or flip phone?


I’m one of those rare animals that has never used a cell phone for two reasons. Profound hearing loss and HA’s that were issued in 2012. Fast forward 2019. It appears now most phone users actually text more often then actually talk on phone. So I need to make a decision if I want to buy smart phone (iPhone 7 plus $500), add a carrier service/monthly charge and stream calls directly to new HA’s. (Marvel - Evoke) Or buy a flip phone that allows me just to text and hopefully adjust apps on my future HA’s. I’m assuming flip phones have bluetooth capability and can tie in with new HA’s for adjustments.

From what I’ve read on HT verbal communication/connection between new HA’s and smart phones isn’t always 100%. And that’s on both ends of the phone call (caller and receiver). So throw in my “profound hearing” loss, the fact that wireless connections don’t always work as planned and the monthly cost of a smart phone connection - am I better going the “flip phone” route and mainly text or upgrading to an iPhone 7 plus and roll the dice. Yea - I’m going to throw this question at my Audi - but feedback from board would be appreciated.



How much do you use the phone? If not much and texting is viable, that would certainly be the cheaper route. Even with a flip phone, I believe you should be able to stream calls directly to the phone with a Marvel or with other Bluetooth phones with an auxillary device. Where a Smartphone would be a must is if you need to use an app to control the hearing aid. There’s kind of a split in hearing aids right now. On the one hand are those that stress being “automatic” and don’t have sophisticated apps. I’d put Phonak and Oticon in this group. On the other end are Resound and Widex. They have fancy apps and offer a lot of user control. Some people love this, but I haven’t seen people claim enthusiasm past 6 months. It may happen–I just haven’t heard of it. I think Starkey and Signia are somewhere in the middle. I could go on and on, but will stop and see what questions or other comments develop.

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Go with an android phone. Check out Cricket wireless. Owned by at and t. Phones much cheaper. Their plans start at 25.00 a month. I have Phonak marvels. Works great.

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I like a smartphone for it’s little handheld computer aspect.
I’m not sure that there’s a flip phone running Android to be able to run the HA apps.
Typing on a flip phone is ridiculous.
I have seen a flip phone with bluetooth.
You don’t HAVE to have service on a cell phone. You can get the app by wifi and run it offline. You can get voip apps and use wifi for voice calls. Streaming music is either cell data or wifi data or local storage. Some phones even have FM.



I am not familiar with your HA and what they need to talk to them, and whether or not control with a phone is that helpful. My experience is with the KS8 (similar to Rexton and Signia). With it you can get quite a bit of control with an Android phone. The iPhone really only offers the direct Bluetooth streaming as the extra.

As z10 says, you don’t need service to the phone to use one as a remote control for the HA’s. With local WiFi you can even make phone calls with it (going out). I ran mine that way for a while, but I recently broke down and signed up for a really basic talk and text plan for $8 a month.

It is also not necessary to have the latest phone. I am using a iPhone 7, but an iPhone 5 would also work fine. It depends on the HA app software.

One issue I am having with the iPhone Bluetooth streaming when making a phone call is the HA volume. If the background noise is low, then it is perfect. But when the background noise goes up then it is really difficult to hear. I suspect I don’t have something set up right, and am hopeful that issue can be solved.



I’ll throw in my recommendations IF you decide on a smartphone. If you go with the Marvels, I’d go with an unlocked Nokia 6.1 from B&H and use Consumer Cellular. Phone is about $200 and Consumer Cellular will get you service for $20+ a month. If you end up with a Made for iPhone hearing aid, I’d get an iPhone from Consumer Cellular. 6S is available for only $200.



Since you’re looking at the Evoke I’ve found the app, using an iPhone X, to be flawless.



Not sure about what is available at Costco in the US, but in Canada at the stores they are offering an unlocked iPhone for $300 CDN. That should be close to $200 in the US…



I guess that’s one of the questions I need to answer through Audi and what ever. If someone got lucky and fell in love with HA auto-settings, along with HA button control/hand held remote control to access programs I guess a smartphone might not play such a major roll. I don’t plan on making many phone calls so texting is very viable. But when you buy a $2500 plus HA - its only natural to want to test apps on your own and make adjustments if beneficial. So MDB I think you hit the nail on the head as far as the pros and cons in using a Smartphone with a profound hearing loss. I’m some what tech savvy but also a realist that my hearing has degraded to a point where maybe I really don’t notice any changes I make in HA adjustments. When you have a mild to mid range hearing loss - you have some “play” in which direction you adjust a HA. Not so sure if that’s true with a profound hearing loss. Oh well - need to do more homework since a HA you can trial and return a HA if you don’t like where a smartphone I assume is a one time buy and no return.



I’d discount the flip phone simply because you can purchase a basic android handset for not that much more money.

The Moto G range are decent cheap android handsets that you should be able to buy outright fairly cheaply. Pair that with a SIM only plan and your monthly spend should be minimal.

If you’re torn between iPhone/Android, consider buying a iPod Touch for the app capabilities. You can often use your phone plan as a ‘WiFi Hotspot’ to connect other devices such as an iPod Touch.

This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

iPhones are generally a bit expensive and you’ll pay through the nose for one. They are good handsets though. A high end Android phone will offer a similar experience. Stay away from very cheap Android handsets.

I’m not in the USA so not familiar with the calling plans there.



I also have profound loss.
I have an Android smartphone that I use for texting.
I have cricket phone service for $30.00 per month.
I do not use my phone for conversations as I cannot make out speech. Phone captioning is a joke.
Since I can no longer hear Music, streaming doesn’t concern me either.
But I do prefer regular cell phone service rather than a phone just for texting, because I feel if I ever was in an emergency I could always call 911
and let someone know what’s going on.
They are making great strides for texting 911, but it’s not available in my area yet.



If you get a Samsung you can put it in Easy Mode and it simplifies it until you get used to it. The Samsung J line is cheaper than the Samsung S line.



My HA’s are capable of 6 different programs. I have used Automatic, i360 (car mode), noise/party, outdoor (wind noise), recorded music, TV (microphone front focus), and more recently XPhone (transfers incoming signal to both ears). The value of most of these are very underwhelming! The standard Automatic program switches functions based on the detected environment, and does a pretty good job of it. About the only one that has noticeable benefit is the XPhone mode. It is noisy, but you get really good voice clarity.

The app functions do add a few benefits. In the Automatic program you can narrow down the front focus the most. It is noticeable and I use it to watch TV or in very noisy environments. However you can’t get it programmed into a preset program. With an iPhone you can stream the incoming voice signal. And also in theory the HA’s use the motion sensor in the iPhone to adjust the automatic program. Perhaps that is part of what makes the Automatic as good as it is. Last, it is certainly easier to switch programs with the phone compared to using the rocker switch functions.

The other most beneficial “program” that I have found is the ability to simply turn the HA’s right off by holding the rocker switch down for a few seconds. I made a couple of air flights in the last week and that is the ticket for controlling noise on an airplane. Turn the damn things off! Easily the quietest program! And you can’t (legally) stream music to the HA’s on the airplane because the Airplane mode shuts the Bluetooth down.



Get a smart phone. I have a cricket samsung. Check their website. I paid 200.00 for my phone, but you can get one cheaper. I have unlimited talk and text and 5 g.b. I pay 35.00 a month with auto pay.



Look at Tracfone, you can get a smartphone under $200 and it can include 1 year of service (QVC and HSN). Then about $125 a year for 1 year of service usually including minutes and data. I have an LG Fiesta2 and love the text option, doubt it would connect directly with aids.



I’ve always been an IOS person, since iPhone 4 came out. When my hearing went down the ski slope and I needed to purchase a streamer, I had Phonak aids. Phonak had an IOS app that I could download to use with the streamer. Now I’m getting a CI I need a IOS to control the processor. So it was a wise investment for me all those years ago.

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IMHO, go with a Smart Phone. Check Amazon, $89 and up Unlocked. Check T-Mobile, MetroPC [T-Mo Co.]. If you’re a senior they have some very good deals.



Another option for you is Republic Wireless. We’ve been with them almost 5 years and I have never paid over $20 month plus $2 tax. If you are a homebody like me you will mainly be using your own WIFI which costs nothing. You can buy your phone elsewhere like Amazon if it is one of many, many that are on their bring-your-own-phone program, or you can buy it from Republic Wireless directly in which case it will be fully configured and ready to use. Very reliable service. I too prefer texting to phone calls because that’s what my adult children and grandchildren prefer, but I speak on the phone when necessary with my 5 year old hearing aids from Costco without a problem. When I buy new hearing aids from Costco next year maybe I will go for the ones that connect directly into my Android phone via bluetooth but for now I just use a volume booster app on my Moto phone.
Good luck!



If you do decide to go for a flip phone rather than a smartphone, be aware that as of now you want to avoid getting a 3G phone, because 3G cellphone service is being phased out. New smartphones and some new flip phones will be 4G, which is not being phased out, but if you buy a 3G phone, you may have to replace it in the next year or two:

I was very late transitioning from a flip phone to a smartphone (three years ago), but one thing flip phones are lousy at, in my experience by comparison to smartphones, is texting. So if you do want to text a lot, I say: smartphone.

The reason is that smartphones have on-screen keyboards. You can hunt and peck to type the text easily. Generally flip phones do not do this. You have to use the number pad with one of several super-kludgy workarounds where you might have to hit two or three number keys to type in one letter. Takes forever to compose a text.

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If you think you’ll be texting a lot you’ll probably be happier with a smartphone. As I recall, flip phones require an almost hunt and peck sort of typing as each key represents three letters and a number. (Hmmm–think I just talked myself out of going back to one right there LOL.)

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