For years we have been working with the California Telephone Access Program to get free amplified telephones for our patients. Anyone in the state of California that has a home phone line and has hearing loss can qualify for this program. (If you don’t have an amplified phone and want one, make an appointment at our office to discuss your options.)
However, for some patients, even a loud amplified phone is still too difficult to use. There is a product called a captioned telephone available through a company called Caption Call that has become available over the past several years. If you have a home phone line, high speed Internet and a significant hearing loss, you qualify to receive this telephone for free.
Previous captioning services had to go through operator relays. This phone service uses voice to text software to translate the spoken word into the words you see on
the telephone screen. You make calls and receive calls the same way you would with a regular telephone.
You speak normally into the telephone and so does the caller, but everything the caller says is also typed onto screen on the telephone. In practice, we’ve seen that the voice to text software isn’t 100% accurate. However, many patients are so happy to be able to use the phone again that they can put up with the occasional error.
We have forms in our office we can complete to sign you up to receive a free telephone. The Caption Call staff calls you to set up an appointment to install the phone and train you and your family members in how to use the system. You need only a small amount of technical skill to operate the phone. Other family members can use the phone without using the captioning service.