Last updated May 29, 2018.
The Apple iPhone 7 comes with the HAC rating of M3/T4 and very high speaker loudness levels of around 73 dB making it the ReviewGist pick for the best cellphone for the hearing impaired. If you want a bigger device, then its bigger sibling - iPhone 7 Plus is also a very good buy as a phone for the hearing impaired. The iPhone 7 Plus has a similar HAC rating as the iPhone 7 but its speaker loudness is just a notch lower at 72 dB
There are two main criteria we used to pick up the best phones for those with hearing disabilities - the HAC rating and the speaker loudness levels. The HAC rating helps categorise the phone interference with hearing aid devices and a loud speaker helps if you arent using a hearing aid device. Scroll below for a more technical discussion around both these factors.
The Apple iPhone 7 is by and large an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 6S. It comes with a better camera, more processing power, some water resistance improvement and smaller upgrades to the design. The bigger change over the iPhone 6S is the removal of the head phone jack - the change though largely cosmetic might be a big deal if you are used to using your phone with headphones on. The wireless headphones for the iPhone 7 though might be decent enough replacement.
If you are concerned about the headphone jack you might still want to consider the iPhone 6S and its sibling - iPhone 6S plus. Even though the iPhone 6S has a HAC rating of M3/T4 it does a relatively poor job with the speaker loudness at 64 dB. Though it might be a good pick if your usage is biased towards using a headphone jack.
Best Android Cellphone for Hearing Impaired
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and its flashier cousin the S7 edge come with the HAC rating of M4/T3 and very high speaker loudness levels of around 69 dB making them the ReviewGist pick for the best Android cellphone for the hearing impaired. The S7's are the Samsung flagship models and come with industry leading specifications, have been acclaimed by over 18 expert reviewers including TechRadar.com, TrustedReviews.com and PCAdvisor and sport one of the highest HAC ratings to provide the least interference with hearing aid devices. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is also the best smartphone on Verizon for the hearing impaired.
Choosing the best smartphone for the Hearing Impaired
Most of the cellphones operate in frequencies which interfere with hearing-aid devices. Consequently, FCC has defined a Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) standard for cellphones, which helps in figuring out the best cellphones for least interference with hearing aids.
The HAC standard defines two radio-frequency emission rating: The "M" rating and the "T" rating. The "M" rating corresponds to interference with the hearing aid in the microphone mode, and the "T" rating corresponds to interference with the hearing aid in t-coil (telecoil) mode.
Both M and T values range from 1 to 4, with 1 being the highest emission/interference and 4 being the least emission/interference. Consequently, the phones with the highest M and T values (M4/T4) provide the least interference with hearing aids. Hearing aid devices operating in the microphone mode will have least interference with cellphones labelled M4 and those operating in the telecoil mode with have the least interference with cellphones labelled as T4. For the absolute best cellphones for the hearing impaired, you might want to go with those labelled M4/T4, however some of the top smartphones in the market right now only support M3/T4 or M4/T3.
The other criteria we looked at while picking out the best phones for the hearing impaired is the speaker loudness levels. We relied on this metric as measured by GSMArena and restricted our selections to only those having a speaker loudness levels of atleast 69 dB. The loudness levels measured by GSMArena varies from 0 to 100 dB with 100 being the highest loudness value.
Note that just looking at our recommendations might not be good enough to choose the right cellphone. The HAC guideline is only indicative of interference and the actual call quality with a specific cellphone might not only depend on the specific interference of your hearing aid with the cellphone but also on the individual hearing loss condition. Consequently, it is advised that you go to a store and test out the cellphone with your hearing aid before choosing the best one.
This ReviewGist picks for the best cellphones for 2018 for the hearing impaired below takes into account the M and T ratings and we list only cellphones which have ratings from either of M3, M4, T3, T4 and also have a relatively high speaker loudness levels.
Full list of the best phones for the deaf and hard of hearing:
Phones with Speaker Loudness atleast 69 dB
Top Cellphones for the Hearing Impaired Compared: