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Communication Devices

Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TTY/TDD/TT) are like electronic typewriter keyboards with a telephone carriage built in. The typed message is displayed in an area above the keyboard. They allow people to communicate with another by phone by typing messages. There must, of course, be one of these machines on each end of the line. There are several different models at varied prices. In some areas there are programs to assist in their purchase. They are used in schools, homes, and in many areas where equality in the domain of public access is a priority.

Telephone Amplifying Devices are mostly standard telephone receivers that are useful with hearing aids. These phones are called “hearing aid compatible”. The option on the hearing aid is called a telecoil. The telecoil is automatically activated on some hearing aids and manually activated on others. Basically, the telephone and the hearing aid’s telecoil communicate with each other electromagnetically, allowing the hearing aid to be used at a comfortable volume without feedback and with minimal background noise.

Cell Phones can be used with most hearing aids. It is important to note that digital phones may create constant noise or distortion with digital hearing aids. It is best to check with your audiologist and to try out several different phones to see which one works best with your hearing aid.

Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) is a service provided by each state to its consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing deaf-blind, and/or speech impaired. It is a third party service, which provides text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and speech-to-speech services. Each state contracts with a service provider to offer these services to individuals who are disabled.

Voice Carryover (VCO) Telephone is a versatile phone in that it has powerful amplification, is a hearing aid compatible phone, and allows the use to make VCO calls. For people with severe or profound hearing loss or who are deaf by can speak, VCO calls are calls made through the state’s Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS). VCO allows the caller to speak to the other party and read their incoming message, which is transmitted via TRS, on the VCO phone’s visual display.

A CapTel Telephone is an amplified telephone that shows the written, word-for-word captions of everything that is received on the telephone. It works like any other phone with the addition of displaying the written text of everything that is received by the user, word-for-word, throughout the conversation. The CapTel user can list to the caller, just like with any other telephone, and can also check the written captions on the phone’s display window. The user does not dial up TRS; instead, when the handset is lifted up and the number is dialed, connection will automatically be made with a captioning company. A certified captioner will use voice recognition software to print out, in English, what is spoken at the other end of the call. Check with your state to see if it is provided through their TRS Contract.

Wireless Messaging is a 2-way wireless communication system that allows the user to communicate via email, TDD, fax, alphanumeric paging, and voice messaging using a small keyboard-like device that has a window display.

Closed Captioned Television Devices have made a large portion of television programming accessible to those with hearing losses. When built into, or attached to, the television set, they produce a printed version of the spoken words. These devices have proven to be a tremendous aid to the development of reading skills. All television sets, 13 inches or larger and made in the US made after July of 1993, are required to have decoding technology built in. They are used anywhere a television is available.

TV Listening Systems are designed for listening to TV, radio, or stereos without interference from surrounding noise or the need to use very high volume. Models are available for use with or without hearing aids. TV listening systems allow the family to set the volume of the TV, while the user adjusts only the volume of his/her listening system.

Direct Audio Input Hearing Aids are hearing aids with direct audio input connections, usually using wires, which can be connected to the TV, stereo, audiocassette player, CD player and/or radio as well as to microphones, auditory trainers, personal FM systems, and other assistive devices.

BTE-FM is a behind-the-ear FM auditory trainer. It functions similarly to other auditory trainers. However, it does not have a receiver or cords. It can also function as a personal hearing aid.

Modified Earmolds can provide a small boost in user receptions effectiveness. Although slight, this increase can make a difference to some hearing aid users. Your audiologist can tell you more about these earmolds.

Wrist Vibrators are sometimes used to provide a tactile sensation of speech and other sounds. While these have not been used much with children, they may be of some value to some children. In the same way, many children with a hearing loss like to place their foot or hand on the speakers of televisions, radios, and stereos as they “listen”.

Speech Visualizers are electronic devices that can represent different aspects of speech like pitch and volume. They have proven to be helpful in speech production.

More Info and Related Links

Captioned Media Program
United TTY Sales and Service

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