To find the best phones for the hearing impaired we researched over 50 available telephones, read every consumer review and examined the technical details in depth.
When it came down to it, we found there are only two brands of phones worth your consideration; Panasonic and Clarity. Both brands have phones available that are specifically designed for people with hard of hearing. Panasonic phones are slightly newer than the Clarity phone so there weren’t as many consumer reviews to take into consideration in our research, but we were very impressed with how the phones are designed and the features they come with. All 3 phones we’ve featured here are cordless.
Our favourite phone for hard of hearing: Panasonic KX-TGM450S
If you’re looking to buy the best telephone available for a hearing impaired senior then we’re positive that the Panasonic KX-TGM450S is the best handset for most people.
It beats every other phone out there on the technical specifications, and it is also the easiest to use. Which makes it great for seniors who don’t want to spend hours wrestling with technology.
It amplifies speech to a whopping 50 db (the highest out of all available phones for hard of hearing) and has 6 levels of tone controls (the most tone settings out of all the phones) so you can set the phone to match your type of hearing loss. Not only that but the phone is set up with accessibility in mind, from talking caller ID and keypad, to easy to use speed dial functions.
Also, it comes with a feature called slow talk. This slows down the talker’s rate of speech so you will never struggle to understand what the person on the phone is saying to you. It is definitely the best phone for the hearing impaired available. And it’s our top pick.
Buying tip: Watch the price on the Panasonic KX-TGM450S, if it’s under $180, it’s a GREAT deal.
- Hear and be heard, loud and clear with volume boost control for Amplified Caller voice volume up to 50 db., Plus six-level voice Tone settings and a loud base unit ringer
- Understand every word, every time more clearly with slow talk to slow the speed of speech in Real time and when checking voice messages
- Big white Backlit LCD, enlarged memory dial buttons Plus bright red LED visual ringer on base unit and Handset enhance visibility and Calling convenience
- Hear calls from noisy places with noise Reduction to suppress background noise interference for clearer, more comfortable conversation
- Includes power backup, speakerphone, talking Caller ID, talking keypad and phonebook, 9 speed dials, 250-number call block, intercom, accessories, and expandable to 6 handsets
Our runner Up: Clarity XLC 3.4
If you don’t want to spend that much and don’t mind sacrificing on the ease of use, accessibility and some key features then the Clarity XLC 3.4 comes in a close second. It’s still amplified to 50 db but only has 4 tone settings.
It has received more reviews than the Panasonic KX-TGM450S and lots of buyers have been very happy with their purchases. The reason why we rated this as a runner up is because it doesn’t have as many tone settings, it doesn’t come with a voicemail facility, so you would need to purchase additional kit, and go through the hassle of setting it up if this is important to you.
It also doesn’t have speed dial functions, so if you are buying this for a relative or a friend be mindful that they will either have to type their most frequent contact numbers in, or learn how to navigate the address book. Whereas the Panasonic KX-TGM450S has 3 big buttons on the base station that can be programmed to the person’s family and friends so they are always just a button touch away.
Also worthy of consideration: Panasonic KX-TGM420
The Panasonic KX-TGM420 is the little brother of the KX-TGM450. Across the majority of features, they are very much the same and they look the same. However, the KX-TGM420 is only amplified to 40 db. This makes it suitable for someone with mild to moderate hearing loss. If this is you, or someone you are buying for then there’s no reason why you should pay more for the extra 10 db of amplification. The only consideration to bear in mind is if your hearing loss deteriorates further then you may end up needing to upgrade to the KX-TGM450 in the future.
How the phones compare side by side
Explanation of the key features of hard of hearing phones
dB Amplification – This specifies the loudness of the amplification in decibels. 40 dB is suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss whereas 50 dB is suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss. Both the clarity XLC 3.4 and the KX-TGM450 will be suitable for all types of hearing loss.
Amplified microphone – This is a really useful feature, included with all our reviewed phones, which amplifies the voice of the person speaking. So if you have a weak voice, or speak quietly as well as have hearing loss then the person on the other end of the phone will hear an amplified version of your voice so they won’t miss anything you say.
Amplified speaker phone – All 3 phones in our “best of” come with an amplified speaker phone. This means the person doesn’t need to have the phone up to their ear to hear the conversation. This is especially useful if the person using the phone is frail and finds it difficult to it up to their ear for the duration of the conversation.
Talking caller ID – Designed with accessibility in mind, this feature will speak the caller ID over the speaker phone, alerting you to who is calling without needing to look at the display. If the number is in the phone book it will speak their name.
Talking keypad – All 3 phones come with large backlight buttons, making it easy for people with sight problems to see what buttons they are pressing. But to aid in dialling, the phone will also talk back the numbers as they are dialled.
Loud ringer – All 3 phones will ring loudly. Alerting you to the fact that the phone is ringing even if you are in another room.
Flashing ring – All 3 phones will also light up and flash when the phone is ringing – further alerting you to an incoming call.
Hearing aid compatible – If you’re using hearing aids then they are also compatible with all 3 of our recommended phones. This means you don’t need to constantly take out your hearing aid when answering calls.
Expand with other handsets – If you want to have phones in different locations around your house then you will need to be able to buy add-on phones to complement your main phone. All 3 phones can be expanded with additional handsets.
Number of tone settings – The tone setting adjust. different frequencies in the amplification. The more tone settings you have, the greater your ability to customise the amplification to fit your type of hearing loss.
Answering machine – An answering machine is a useful feature, especially if you want your loved ones to be able to leave messages if you are not there. Unfortunately, the Clarity XLC 3.4 does not come with an answering machine so you will need to buy separate kit in order to set this up. Both Panasonic phones come with a built in answering machine facility with up to 17 minutes of recording space.
Slow talk – this feature is only available on the Panasonic phones. It is activated by pushing a button on the handset. Once pressed, the phone will automatically slow the call down so you can clearly hear what the person on the other end of the phone is saying.
Speed dial – Being able to speed dial is a really useful feature for seniors who want to easily reach their family or other commonly called people. Without this feature, you will have to manually type this number in, or in the case of the Clarity XLC 3.4, scroll through the phone book to find the number you want to call. With the Panasonic phones, you have the ability to program 3-speed dial numbers which can be dialled by pressing one of the 3 buttons on the base station.
Our favourite telephone for hard of hearing seniors: Panasonic KX-TGM450S
If you’ve reviewed the features above you will see that the Panasonic KX-TGM450S wins out every time. It has all the technical specifications needed to make this a great phone for anyone with hard of hearing. The 50 dB amplification and 6 tone settings means it’s suited for all ranges of hearing loss, from mild to severe. Not only that, the design of the phone makes it incredibly easy to use for even the most technical novices. The voicemail function comes in handy and the slow talk functionality makes this phone really stand out. We have no hesitation in recommending it to you.
Last update on 2018-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API