Finding the Right Amplified Phone
If you have a hearing impairment or know someone who does maybe you should consider an amplified phone to make communication easier and more effective.
There are a number of models on the market with various features to aid those who have hearing loss and some that provide options for the deaf.
General Phone Features
There are many features to consider when selecting amplified phones. Just as with any telephone you should decide whether you want a corded phone or cordless. Cordless obviously provides more mobility. Speaker phones are also available for those who prefer these models.
Also like other telephones you need to determine whether features such as caller ID, answering machine functions, and so forth are desirable.
How Much and What Kind of Amplification?
Amplified phones boost volume. Check the phone you're considering to see if the volume will be adequate. Some will increase volume by 10 dB while others can increase it by up to 50 dB.
Another important consideration is tone control. For many with hearing loss higher frequency sounds are more difficult to hear than lower frequency sounds. If the phone allows users to amplify particular tones or frequencies it may be more effective.
In many instances having an amplified ringer or some type of visual indicator (such as a flashing light) to alert the user of an incoming call is critical for those with a more significant hearing loss. It is also possible to purchase amplified ringers and handsets versus an entirely new phone.
For those with hearing aids, it's also important that the amplified phone be hearing aid compatible with at least an M3/T3 rating.
Features For Motor or Visual Problems
There are other features to consider when choosing an amplified phone. Sometimes a user can benefit from larger buttons or single button dialing/speed dialing or perhaps voice dialing to compensate for any difficulty using the tiny buttons on regular phones.
For others with visual impairment amplified phones with Braille are necessary.
Features For Those with Profound Hearing Loss
In some instances an amplified phone may not be sufficient. A TTY phone, or TDD, offers such individuals the ability to place and receive calls via a keyboard and display for printed text. VCO phones are another alternative. Learn more about them below.
Clarity Amplified Phones
Amplified Phones with Braille
Clearsounds Amplified Phones
Voice Carry Over Phones
VCO phones look like traditional amplified phones but they also have a screen to type messages to display. These phones allow severely hard of hearing and deaf people to communicate over the phone using their own voice.
The call goes through a VCO service so that when the receiver of the call responds, their message is typed by a VCO assistant for the HOH or deaf person to read on their phone.
These phones allow faster and more natural communication than a TTY.
Other Important News and Links about Devices for the Hearing Impaired
- CNN article
Read about a potential face phone that displays a talking face rather than just text to assist the hearing impaired.
- Assistive Devices
A variety of products to assist those with special needs.
- Cell Phones for the Hearing Impaired
A resource for those looking for a cell phone for those with hearing impairment.
- TDD phones
An informative resource for TDD phones. (texting phones)
Related Resources for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Assistive devices cost money, here are some links to get you started in finding some assistance.
Information about financial assistance for obtaining hearing aids and personal assistive technology.
Financial assistance in Wisconsin.
- New Horizons
Resources to adaptive technology.
Resource to help in finding/funding adaptive devices.
- KY Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
See what Kentucky offers.
A resource for the hard of hearing, deaf, and disabled in Michigan.
Resources available in Massachusetts.
- Better Hearing Institute
Financial Assistance suggestions.
From loan programs to financial aid information.