Adapted equipment is available to help people with disabilities place and receive phone calls. There are many kinds of phones, as well as accessories and services that can help.
Interested in learning whether you qualify for a free adapted phone? Ask about TechOWL’s Free Special Phone program or find your state’s program.
What kinds of telephone options are there?
Phones with large buttons can be both easier to see and easier to press.
If you have trouble hearing, increased speaker and ringer volume might help. Companies like Clarity and Serene Innovations make amplified landline phones. They also make amplifier handsets that pair with your mobile phone.
Many of the Clarity products also have the option to make your own voice louder for the person you are talking to. This is called amplification of outgoing speech. If you only need this feature, a telephone voice magnifier from Hearsay is another option.
CapTel makes landline phones that display written captions. Some cell phones, like the Pixel, have automatic live captions or you can use an app for that.
Many people place video calls on their tablet or smartphone. This can be especially helpful if you use American Sign Language to communicate. Services like Sorenson Relay will interpret for you if the person you are calling does not sign.
For landline calling, a device called a TTY or text telephone lets you send written messages. The person you are calling must also have a TTY device, or you can use a relay service. The relay operator will read your words out loud to them and type their responses back to you. Companies like UltraTec make these devices.
Place landline telephone calls hands-free by using a voice-activated or switch-accessible dialing system. One example is the Vocally Freedom Voice Dialer.
- Innocaption provides captions for calls placed on your smartphone. It is free for people with hearing loss.
- Vibrating accessories like the Sonic Bomb pair with an app to notify you of incoming calls, texts, or alarms.
- Do you use an AAC app to communicate? TouchChat and Proloquo2Go can be used to place calls over FaceTime.
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