Using the iPhone X or later with a hearing impairment

iOS & iPadOS

Hello everyone. I am posting this question after talking to a friend of mine who has a hearing impairment. How does one go about using the iPhone X or later if they cannot hear clearly? More specifically, normally when you want to go home or go to the app switcher, or access control center or notification center, you swipe up or downuntil you hear the various tones. How does somebody with a hearing impairment Do this if they cannot hear the tones very well? Can they rely solely on haptic feedback? Any help would be appreciated.



Submitted by peter on Monday, June 15, 2020

The iPhone XR provides tactile feedback when you swipe up or down to get to the control center, app switcher, etc. so this feature should be useable even without sight or hearing.


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I wear hearing aids from Oticon that are MFi, Made For iPhone. All VoiceOver and desired sound effects are wirelessly sent to my hearing aids and the haptic feedback on functions such as bringing up notifications or the control center are easy to feel and quite adequate. I am totally blind and find my iPhone very accessible.

Submitted by Lee on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Hi, or as long as you're using iOS 13 you can now create custom gestures to achieve all of these. So for example I've created a two finger swipe right to go direct to control center and two finger swipe left to go to status bar. You can even reassign current vo gestures if you like. The ones I quoted there didn't currently have a default use.

Submitted by Brian Negus on Friday, June 19, 2020

I agree with everything said so far but would just add a note of caution. As a volunteer trainer I've worked with many trainees and have found that some of the more elderly trainees are totally unable to sense haptic feedback set at its strongest. Your friend should certainly check that haptics work for him. I'm a Made for iPhone hearing aids user myself with an iPhone 8, so I don't have to use the new gestures for home and app switcher. Another note of caution, though, is that some Mfi hearing aids do tend to lag and miss the beginnings of sound, so they may miss the alert sounds altogether. The shortcuts suggestion is going to be fine, regardless, though.