Free captioning service provides phone access to people with hearing loss

LOS ANGELES—A free service that can help millions of Americans with hearing loss communicate better long-distance was introduced September 22 at the AARP National Event & Expo. Sorenson Communications, a Salt Lake City-based company, announced the national launch of CaptionCall®, designed for anyone who has difficulty hearing on the telephone.

Similar to captioned television, CaptionCall uses advanced voice-recognition technology and a transcription service to quickly display written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. Funded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the service is delivered through the CaptionCall phone, which works like a regular telephone. Customers make and receive calls as usual. All they need to use CaptionCall at home is a high-speed Internet connection and a standard home phone line and electrical outlet.

Currently, an estimated 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Because of the aging of the baby boomer generation, that number is expected to double by 2030.

Pat Nola, president and CEO of Sorenson Communications, noted, “The CaptionCall phone empowers those with hearing loss to stay independent, call with confidence, and stay in touch with all of the important people in their lives.”

1 Comment

  1. I have two CaptionCall phones, and really like them. The upside is that, even without the captions, the $50 phone allows you to program in your audiogram; and the TIA-1083 compliant handset is driven by an amplifier that can produce a luxurious 140dB without sidetone feedback.

    The downside to the CaptionCall phone is that, unlike the VoIP CapTel 800i, it requires both a POTS line .AND. an Ethernet or 802.11b Internet LAN connection — Though the POTS line can be from a Vonage terminal adapter.

    Although this phone has 802.11b WiFi connectivity, it has difficulty connecting to some routers, especially if WPA security is enabled.

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog
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