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Patricia Randolph, PhD
This Telephone Is Closed Captioned
Community Audiology Services
. http://communityaudiologyservices.com/

This Telephone Is Closed Captioned

Since its advent in 1980, closed captioning has come a long way since that bulky box attached to a television set. Now, closed captioned technology has grown to be incorporated into most televisions manufactured today. But did you know that similar technology is now available for telephones?
The Captioned Telephone, or CapTel, functions as a normal telephone, including nifty features like amplified volume and sound monitoring to gauge the loudness of the users voice during a call. However, this phone has one important additional service the user can access at his or her discretion it displays the words of the callers conversation on a screen embedded in the telephone base for the user to read. This function is ideal for people who have some form of hearing loss, thus making it difficult to understand telephone conversations, but still able to voice for themselves.
Unlike other relay services, such as TTY or internet relay, the CapTel operator is never part of the conversation. When the service is enabled and the CapTel user dials a number, the connection made to the service is automatic. Using the very latest in voice recognition technology, a specially trained operator transcribes everything the other party says almost simultaneously for the CapTel user to read. A level of privacy is maintained, since the operator cannot hear the CapTel user. Anyone can use the CapTel phone; one only has to turn off the captions feature to use it as a traditional telephone.
Captions are provided by the captioning service at no cost to the CapTel user, but thats not the only bargain available for anyone interested in a CapTel telephone. Maryland and Virginia residents may be eligible to receive a free CapTel phone by applying to assistance programs at Maryland Relay or the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
However, keep in mind that if you are adept at surfing the web, you may not need a specialized phone. As of Spring 2008, a web-based captioned telephone service, known as WebCapTel, is now available free of charge via the Internet, and only requires a web browser in tandem with a standard, cordless, or mobile phone. This service is currently available at Sprint CapTel and Hamilton CapTel.
So as you shop for the holidays, keep in mind the benefits of such a service for those who have some degree of hearing loss but can still voice for themselves. For more information on captioned telephones and captioned telephone service, visit the following web sites
Have a happy holiday season!

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130