Monday, December 2, 2019

Can't hear on the phone? Here are some options for Utahns.

golden, old fashioned phone
Can't hear on the phone? It's time to upgrade!
We at UATP recently interviewed representatives of several services for people who have trouble hearing on the phone. Relay UtahCapTel and CaptionCall. It’s been enlightening for us to learn how many resources are available, and how many of those resources are free. Here’s are some answers to common questions.

What are some captioning options if I’m having trouble hearing people on the phone?


CaptionCall phone
Captioned phones are available at no charge, with no income restrictions, to people who qualify. Clients must be certified to need the equipment by an audiologist or hearing professional, but once they have that certification, the phone and the captioning service are both free. 

Providers include CapTel and CaptionCall. Both services have representatives in the state who can help with the installation and trouble-shooting of the equipment.

Relay Utah loans amplified phones, captioned telephones, and mobile accessories at no cost to people who meet the income (200 percent or less of US poverty guidelines) and medical requirements.

Applications are available at Relay Utah.  

CapTel phone
Where can I get a demonstration of phones for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing?


Relay Utah offers two demo centers, one in Salt Lake City and one in St. George. These centers offer a variety of devices and options for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Speech challenged individuals. 

The Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing also has an AT demonstration lab in both Salt Lake City and St. George, where people can find out what options are available not just for using the phone but for other situations. Equipment can be loaned on a short-term basis to people who live in the state of Utah. In addition, the center can bring equipment to demonstrate for those who cannot travel. 

UATP in Logan has phones from both CapTel and Caption Call. UATP in the Uintah Basin has a CapTel phone. These phones are for demonstration only; from there we can refer you to the providers.

Are there any mobile options for captioned phones?


Yes. CaptionCall offers a captioning service that works on an iPad, essentially turning it into a captioned phone. It allows the user to view captions on an iPad via wifi or cellular data. The app is free; the user must provide the iPad.

CapTel offers captioning on mobile devices through a third-party app. 

Relay Utah has a limited pilot program to explore the feasibility of using wireless devices to address telecommunication needs for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Speech challenged individuals. The devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and they are subject to income (200 percent or less of US poverty guidelines) and medical requirements. 

Where do I go for technical support for a captioned phone?


Both CaptionCall and CapTel offer in-home installation and support. Both services offer some troubleshooting on their websites and on the phone.

This information is to help inform Utahns of assistive technology options. UATP does not endorse any one service or technology provider.