Just because someone is deaf it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t use a telephone as a form of keeping in touch with others, telephones have now been adapted especially for the deaf and hard of hearing in the forms of flashing lights, amplification of the handset, variable tone control and have also been adapted for users of hearing aids.
Adapting Your Existing Phone
If you are hard of hearing then there are several ways you can adapt your existing telephone to make life easier, many telephones have a volume adjuster which enables the user to higher or lower the volume of the ring on the telephone also putting the telephone on a hard surface will make the ring sound louder.
If you are still having problems hearing the ring then an extension bell can be added to greatly increase the sound. A visual call indicator is another popular choice it is in the form of a bright flashing light which will flash on and off when your telephone rings.
If you have problems actually hearing the conversation then a telephone amplifier could help you, the amplifier can either be attached to the handset itself or in-between the handset and the phone.
Some amplifiers may also have something called an inductive coupler for people who have hearing aids there are special telephones you can buy that has the inductive coupler built into them especially for the person using a hearing aid.
Buying a new Phone
If you use a hearing aid then you will need a telephone that is compatible with it this type of phone will have an inductive coupler built into it.
If you have a body worn hearing aid with a “T” switch built into it then you can use the handset of the phone held upside down so that it is closer to the hearing aid. Telephones vary so there are a few things you should watch for when purchasing a new one.
Voice Amplification is one feature that is a must because this feature will make your callers voice much louder and easier to hear. Most phones of this type have a volume control and will allow you to choose a comfortable level and increase the volume of your caller’s voice by 10 to 20 decibels; this means the increase in sound will be around 2 to 4 times as loud.
Tone Adjustment Certain phones will allow you to cut out or boost certain tones in your caller’s speech this leads to a clearer voice.
The Ringer often is an important factor because some people who are hard of hearing can hear one sound better than another so if you can try to listen to it before buying it, some will have ring tone volume control also.
A Visual Call Indicator is another good feature; this will flash a light on and off whenever the phone rings.
Caller Display will display on an LCD screen the name and number of the caller.
Vibrating Phones This phone is specially designed for those suffering from conductive hearing loss; it is a standard corded telephone with a vibrating ear piece which is held against the bone behind the ear.
The vibrations caused by speech then travel by conduction through the bone to the inner ear. A standard model with big buttons and light indicator will cost around £50, $93 USD or 73 Euros.