How can I Choose the Best Phones for the Hard of Hearing?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Phones for the hard of hearing help individuals with auditory issues communicate better through the telephone. There are four main innovations that can help you find the best fit for your situation. Telephones that amplify, adjust to hearing aids, light up when ringing, and show the conversation in text form each help make communication easier. The usability of these specific models depends heavily on the level of hearing loss by its operator.

Hearing loss differs greatly among individuals and usually is grouped into distinct classifications. The lowest level is considered mild hearing loss and is classified by difficulty in hearing in noisy situations such as public places. The next level is moderate hearing loss, i.e., difficulty holding a conversation without a hearing aid. The final level of hearing loss is severe and requires a strong hearing aid. These levels each demand different types of phones for the hard of hearing.

Amplified signals are one of the most common additions to landline and cell phones. These phones for the hard of hearing offer two ways to help: amplification and sensitivity. Amplification refers to a louder than average ringtone in order to grab your attention. Many phones also project sounds at higher frequencies that hearing-sensitive individuals can identify easier.


Another way phones for the hard of hearing help individuals is by adjusting to the sensitivity of hearing aids. If you utilize a hearing aid, seek a phone that has a magnetic sensitivity mechanism included. This device detects the use of a hearing aid and adjusts the frequency of the receiver to better accommodate the use of an aid.

Visual cues are also useful additions to phones for the hearing impaired. Many models feature LED lights that blink when the phone is ringing. This type of phone is useful for individuals that cannot hear a ringtone. Additional devices can be purchased that attach to a phone line and illuminate in other rooms in case you are not close enough to the phone to see the console light.

The previously mentioned models are all useful for individuals with mild and moderate hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss, however, text phones for the hard of hearing are a helpful way to hold conversations. These systems interpret the incoming voices and display the conversation as computerized text. You can reply through the phone by speaking into the receiver or type in responses, which are translated verbally by the system.


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Post 3

@pleonasm - I have great sympathy for people who are hard of hearing and want to talk on the phone though. When I talk to my mother online, it's definitely nice, but it's not the same as being able to talk to her on the phone. You don't get the same satisfaction and comfort out of the conversation and you don't get nearly as much nuance either.

If I couldn't hear very well, I would definitely get a special phone. As it is I can barely understand people on a cell phone and always need to put the volume up to the very top in order to make sense out of what they're saying.

Post 2

@indigomoth - Actually when it gets to the point where you have to do that, why use a phone at all? I understand that sometimes people need to use the phone simply because that's how another person chose to contact them, but it seems to me like you'd want to do most of your contact over the internet at that point.

There are so many free chat services, or they could even use a video call and sign language if they had to.

They'd still need phones for hard of hearing people since not everyone will be willing to connect over the internet but so many companies are these days I think it's more common than not.

Post 1

I'm not sure how well the phones that interpret text would work. I know from experience that voice software takes a long time and a lot of input to truly adjust to a person's individual syntax and if it isn't set up to follow a particular accent it might never work.

The alternative that seems pretty popular is to have a transcribing service, which is free in a lot of countries. If a deaf person receives a phone call they are hooked into a center where someone listens to the conversation and types it up. The typing then appears on a screen near the phone.

One of my friends did this for a while as a paid position but as I understand it sometimes the job is done by volunteers as well. This service is more for people who are almost completely deaf rather than simply hard of hearing.

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