AZ Offers Free Captioned Telephones for People with Hearing Loss

AZ Offers Free Captioned Telephones for People with Hearing Loss

Ron Middleton Communication, Ear Health, hearing loss, News and Science

Ron Middleton
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When you have hearing loss, staying connected to people can present special challenges. Something as basic as a phone call can quickly become frustrating if much of the conversation is unintelligible. Fortunately, adaptive technologies exist to help make audio information better accessible to people with hearing impairments.

If you have hearing loss and struggle to understand telephone conversations, you may benefit from bringing a captioned telephone into your home.  Captioned telephones use captioning software to transcribe telephone conversations as you hear them. The best news is that for residents of Arizona with hearing loss, captioned telephones are available free of charge through a special state program.

Arizona’s Captioned Telephone Program

Captioned telephones are being made available for free through the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their initiative, the Arizona Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (AzTEDP). The AzTEDP helps connect people with hearing loss to a variety of useful technology and alert systems, including captioned telephones. You can access an application online at their website:

AzTEDP distributes several assistive telephones and can help match you to the features best matched to your needs. Most models look and work like a regular home telephones with an attached screen for viewing the transcribed conversation while you talk and listen. Included with your AzTEDP CapTel phone is free installation as well as a free introduction to using your new device, backed up with 24/7 support. Demonstrations are available for potential users to assist people in selecting the right device.

More About Captioned Telephones

Access to adaptive telecommunications is made available through the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that people with deafness and hearing loss are entitled to equal access to telephone services. To best accomplish this, different devices are available to meet different communication needs.

For those who would best benefit from a captioned telephone, the AzTEDP offers the CapTel 840, a corded landline telephone with an attached screen for live transcription. The CapTel 840 includes sound amplification and caller ID. The model offered is not internet-based and requires incoming calls to first dial a toll free “Call Me” number to engage the captioning.

The live conversation transcription happens with the aid of special software that converts speech into captioning. CapTel also offers internet-based telecommunication transcription tools, although the free CapTel 840 is not internet based.

Captioned telephones like the CapTel 840 are mostly recommended for persons with severe or profound hearing loss, where hearing improvements have little chance of making conversations more legible. The captioning, which involves a slight delay between speech and written word doesn’t benefit all users, but can be a great fit for some users who struggle with sound comprehension even with amplification.

Other Options in Telephone Access

The CapTel 840 is one of several free of charge options for Arizona residents with hearing loss. Telephone models like the Clarity Alto Plus and the Geemark Ampli550 offer standard corded telephone models with sound amplification features designed to compensate for hearing impairment. Clarity XLC models offer a cordless phone model that provides a extra loud ringer with flashing alerts, a handset designed to increase comfort for arthritic users, and amplified conversational sound.

For telephone users dealing with additional impairments alongside hearing loss, including low-vision or limited mobility, AzTEDP offers phone models from Serene Innovations designed to improve telephone usability and conversation comprehension. These telephones include voice-activated and speakerphone-based features, Braille notation, and large-format buttons in addition to sound amplification.

The program is also offering access to Bluetooth and T-Coil assistive listening devices that help stream sound directly into an earbud or hearing aid. These devices may require more technical aptitude than other adaptive telephones, but have the advantage of better sound delivery. 

Users with profound hearing loss or deafness may find that captioned telephones restore freedom and clarity to their communication options. Another technology available for free through AzTEDP are TTY machines which provide the user with a text-driven display and keyboard that is read as speech at the other end of a phone line.

A full list of the adaptive telecommunication devices available through the AzTEDP, you can refer to their website’s Product Page for a full listing of the services they can help you access, as well as more information about product demonstrations and an application for assistance.

Visit Us at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions

Never miss another conversation! At Lifestyle Hearing Solutions, we offer hearing aids that wirelessly connect to your smartphones, allowing you to stream phone calls directly to your ears. To learn more about this advanced technology, contact us at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions.