Hearing Impaired Phone Key Terms
Learning the nomenclature will help make the most of hearing impaired phonesMaking auditory technology, such as telephones, work for the hearing impaired requires a number of accessories and technologies. These innovations work to do everything from amplifying the speech coming through the telephone to translating it to text or video, and anything
in- between. Knowing the key terms of these technologies will help to determine which type or types of hearing impaired phones and accessories are best suited for your needs.
Wireless hearing interfacesUsing cellphones can be a headache for those with hearing aids, as the frequencies often conflict. This causes a range of inconveniences, from indecipherable conversations to painful whistling. Wireless hearing interfaces solve this problem by taking advantage of Bluetooth technology to relay the cellular call straight to a person's Bluetooth enabled hearing aids.
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf/TeleTypewriter (TDD/TTY)TDD/TTY devices take the sound aspect out of a telephone call completely. These devices, many of which look like a small typewriter, convey information over normal telephone lines by converting the conversation to text readable on a small display screen. A person using a TDD/TTY device can interact directly with another TDD/TTY phone or can take advantage of a relay service to communicate with a standard phone.
Voice Carry Over (VCO)Voice Carry Over enables phones look similar to standard phones, with the addition of a text display similar to that of a TTD/TTY device. These phones allow a person who is hard of hearing, but with speech capabilities, to speak normally to those they are calling while reading their response on the text display.
University of Illinois at Chicago explains VCO technology and an example of how to take advantage of the service.
Video Relay Service (VRS)This fairly new option uses a videophone and a high speed Internet connection to eliminate the need for text entirely and allow the hearing impaired person to speak more naturally using sign language. While the hearing impaired person and interpreter communicate via videophone, the interpreter relays the spoken information to and from a standard phone.
Telephone ring signalerThese telephone accessories alert a hearing impaired person to incoming calls. The telephone ring signalers add a visual signal, such as a flashing light, to make it easier for someone who is hard of hearing or deaf to know when the telephone is ringing.
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