If you or someone you know has hearing loss, phone calls may be difficult. Your loved one may avoid calls altogether or be forced to pretend they understood someone.
However, this problem could possibly be solved with a captioned phone, which is now available at no cost to people with hearing loss.
How does it work?
Available for both landlines and cellphones, captioned phones work like a typical phone: You call and answer the phone like you would on any other device. The difference? Your loved one will see the conversation written out on the phone display.
The phone connects to a captioned telephone service, which transcribes the conversation into captions that are available as they speak.
How is it free?
Captioned phones are provided for free through a program of the Federal Communications Commission. If your loved one qualifies, they can receive a free caption-enabled phone, with free installation. The phones also include a warranty and free support assistance.
Who qualifies for a free phone?
To qualify, people need to prove they have hearing loss that requires the use of a captioned phone. They will likely need to have a hearing care provider sign a form testifying to their hearing loss.
Where can I get one?
What are the benefits of these phones?
Healthy Hearing reports that many users of captioned phones say they feel confident speaking on the phone again. The phone connects people to long-distance friends and relatives they may not have been able to speak with before, which can decrease feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Isolation can lead to depression, poor nutrition and cognitive decline, so by connecting those with hearing loss to friends and family, the phones can help improve mental and physical health.