Telephones for deaf and hard of hearing people
For most people, the telephone is a vital part of daily life. However, if you have a hearing loss using the phone can often be a difficult and frustrating experience.
The good news is that there is a wide range of specially designed phones that can make a very positive difference for many people.
Remember that the sound quality you hear in most telephone calls is usually not very high to start with and will be worse if, for example, the other person is using a mobile phone or in a noisy environment.
Many people find calls to family and friends easier as their voices are familiar. It can often be a great help to practice making calls to people you know, to help you get used to using a new phone.
Six questions to ask yourself when you are choosing a new phone.
If you go through these questions in order, it should help you decide which type of phone is going to be most helpful to you.
1. Do you wear hearing aids?
- Most hearing aids have a ‘loop’ or ‘T’ programme. If you are not sure whether or not yours does, check with your audiologist.
- If a phone is ‘hearing aid compatible’ it means that it will transmit sound directly from the handset to a hearing aid on the loop programme. This should normally give you the clearest sound through your hearing aid/s and minimises whistling too.
2 Do you need a phone with a bit more volume?
- For many hard of hearing people, an amplified phone will allow them to increase the volume to a comfortable level.
- Different phones have different maximum volume levels – the loudest we have go up to 60dB!
- High volume is not always the most important factor; the clarity of sound is very important. Phones that have a tone control will allow you to boost the high or low sounds to compensate for your hearing loss.
- A handsfree speakerphone is a useful feature that some people find easier to use than listening on the handset (although of course it is not private!).
3 Can you normally follow a conversation without lipreading?
- Try listening to someone who covers their mouth as they talk to you.
- As a rule of thumb, if you cannot follow a conversation without lip-reading then you are also unlikely to follow a conversation on a telephone even with an amplified phone. In this case you might consider a Textphone such as a Minicom.
4 Do you have a visual impairment or limited dexterity?
- You might like to consider a phone with big buttons that are easy to see, and large simple controls that are straightforward to use.
- If this isn’t a concern for you, then there are phones with a much more conventional appearance.
5 Do you want a phone that you can carry around the house?
- Generally, corded phones are more powerful and have a greater level of amplification and hearing aid compatibility, so these are often the best first choice. However, cordless phones can be very handy and you can have several rechargeable handsets.
- For the best of both worlds, consider a “combo” package that includes a corded and a cordless phone.
6 What other features do you need?
- Some phones have lots of useful features, such as a built-in answerphone, flashing light for incoming calls or a large display...
- Connevans Limited
- Bridge House
- 1 Nutfield Road
- Merstham, Surrey, RH1 3EB
- United Kingdom
- Customer Service
- 01737 247571
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