Information streaming and communication comes from an ever increasing number of sources and disperses incredibly quickly with the invaluable assistance of technology. Its advancement allows many people, including those with some kind of disability, e.g. blind or hard of hearing to be part of the information flow, to socialise more easily and take advantage of the multiple functions modern communication devices have.
Deaf people often face the struggle and frustration of finding an efficient way to convey what they want to say and to talk to other people without difficulty. The situation is aggravated even more when the parties are separated and can communicate only via a telephone. There are different relay services to help in such cases. In addition, there is an abundance of telephones especially designed to be used by deaf people in order to give them more independence. The most widespread phones for the deaf are the TTY phones or tele-typewriters. Their basic function is to let the users type the message they want to send to the other side. A small screen displays the messages that are exchanged by the participants in the conversation. These types of phones can be printing, non-printing or portable and can be acoustic or direct.
Depending on the specific needs and preferences you have, there are different text phones available to choose from. To use the device as a regular phone, you may look at models Minicom Pro 400 or Uniphone 1150. In case you want it to be printing, then turn your attention to Minicom Pro 8000 or Minicom 6000. Some models can be connected to a computer printer as well. If size is what matters to you, with an extra-large display is the Minicom Pro 8000 LVD. Smaller models are Compact or Minicom Pro 100.
Lately, a range of smartphones have become a common choice for the hard of hearing due to their texting functions, smaller size and a variety of applications. Along with smartphones, there are mobile text phones that can be used to communicate with Minicoms or regular phones via the Action on Hearing Loss Typetalk service.
Very loud telephones
Usually people with a disability are much more sensitive to other stimuli. For the hard of hearing light indicators of sound signals is one of the best ways to recognise a message. If you are not completely deaf and want to use a regular phone, a great choice is an amplified phone that will have a volume and ringer control as well as a flashing indicator for incoming calls. For corded phones, the BigTel 40 has a maximum ringer volume of up to 90dB and the AmpliPower 50 goes up to 60dB. If you prefer a cordless phone, then you can consider the PowerTel 2700 with a maximum ringer volume of 80dB and the BigTel 1202 with a maximum volume of 90dB. Mobile phones offering that kind of amplification are the Geemarc CL8360 and CL8500. They are small enough to be carried everywhere, in the pocket or on a strap and along with a flashing screen, they have a powerful vibration for indicating incoming calls and text messages.