Tech - How to Get Free Phones for Hearing Impaired

How to Get Free Phones for Hearing Impaired

How to Get Free Phones for Hearing Impaired

Free Phones for Hearing Impaired – Have you heard of phones for the deaf and hard-of-hearing people? Many phone companies nowadays manufacture special phones for people with hearing disabilities. Even the latest iPhone models are also modified to aid such people effectively.

The good news is you can get these special phones free of charge. The Government runs many assistance programs to help people who cannot afford to purchase such phones.

If you suffer from a hearing disability and cannot afford a reliable phone, this article will be a lifesaver for you. Here, we have shared detailed information on free phones for the hearing impaired, eligibility, and more.

So without further ado, let’s begin.

Does the Government offer Free Phones for Hearing Impaired people?

Does the Government offer Free Phones for Hearing Impaired people

Yes. The Government offers free phones for hearing impaired people. The Federal Government is aware of the fact that the majority population of people with hearing disabilities cannot afford phones which are specially designed for hearing-impaired people. Therefore, the Government, in association with all states, initiated a program to ensure people get suitable free phones if they are hearing impaired.

You can get free phones for the hearing impaired through the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (TEDps). This program offers free and discounted phones to eligible residents across the United States. The program is carried out under the supervision and guidelines of the Hearing Loss Association of America. However, people must meet their certain eligibility to qualify for these programs.

Eligibility criteria to get Free Phones for Hearing Impaired

Eligibility criteria to get Free Phones for Hearing Impaired

The eligibility criteria to get free phones for the hearing impaired vary for distinct states and are different from the eligibility condition of regular free government phones, where you could get a free phone by participating in the Lifeline program or on a low-income basis of $135-200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Some general eligibility criteria for free phones for hearing impaired people include the following –

Verification of hearing disability

As these are special phones only for people with hearing disabilities, your disability would be verified by government professionals. After you pass the verification, you must submit valid documents to prove your disability.

Verification of your financial status

Apart from your hearing disability, the Government will also inquire about your financial status with your place of living, salary, etc. You must also be able to prove these details through authentic documents.

These are a few things the Government may check.

As mentioned, the eligibility criteria for free phones for the hearing impaired differs for every state. You can check your state’s eligibility condition.

Please note that these free phones are not entirely free. If you qualify, the Government will loan you the phones, which will be a surcharge on every landline bill. However, you don’t have to pay interest charges for deferred payments or other issues.

The other crucial thing to consider is that Verizon Mobile, AT&T, or any such carrier does not provide these free phones for the hearing impaired. These are offered in specific Government designated offices within your state of residence. So, you can look for this office in your state and visit them to get help in the complete process.

How to apply for Free Phones For the Hearing Impaired?

The free phones for hearing-disabled people are distributed through the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (TRDPs). The program’s eligibility criteria and application procedure vary from state to state. Therefore, you can check your state’s program website to learn about your eligibility and the application procedure.

Alternatively, you can visit the government-designated office in your state to get help with the entire application if you qualify.

How do you choose a hearing Aid compatible phone?

Many phone companies now produce hearing aid-compatible phones. But how do you know which phone is suitable for your disability?

Many factors play a role in choosing a device meeting your hearing problems. These can be your age, health condition, hearing disability, etc.

Before you choose any phone, it is always a smart idea to visit your hearing healthcare professional to learn about your type of hearing loss problem. You must know your hearing impairment type to select the right hearing aid-compatible phone.

Smartphones for mild to moderate hearing loss 

If you suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, you don’t have to make an extra effort to use your hearing aids with your phone. Your hearing aid microphone will automatically catch up with the sound coming from your phone.

Smartphones for severe hearing loss

If you have severe hearing loss, please ensure the “telecom” in your hearing aid is turned on. Telecoils direct sound to your hearing aid’s processor without using the microphone.

Once you receive your phone, please look for the “M” rating for hearing-aid compatibility. The M rating ranges between 1-4, with 4 being the best compatibility. M3 is the most common rating. Nearly all iPhones currently are rated M3 for hearing-aid compatibility.

You can also look for these features in your compatible hearing aid phone –

Things to check in a hearing Aid compatible phone

  • Volume control – Hearing aid-compatible phones should have a volume control, an important feature you must not ignore. Also, the volume control should be available for the ringtone to never miss a call. So, see this feature while selecting a phone. The good thing is that most phones on the market now have volume control.
  • Incoming call alerts – Some hearing-aid-compatible landline phones vibrate or flash when someone calls, so you don’t have to depend only on an auditory signal. This is helpful while watching TV or listening to music.
  • Speech-to-text – These landline telephones make the intended message easier to reach the hearing-disabled person by converting the speech into text form, just like you see the captions in movies. These are also called captioned phones. This is one of the desirable features you can look for in your hearing-aid-compatible phones.
  • Text – If you suffer from hearing problems, you may prefer a phone that is easy to type and has unlimited texting. Mostly, people with hearing problems prefer messaging to reaching others on their phones. So choose a phone that is easy to type on.

As mentioned, people with hearing disabilities should choose a suitable device appropriate to their hearing condition. You can do so if you know the types of phones available for hearing impaired people.

What are some of the options for phones for hearing-impaired persons?

There are five types of phones to help hearing-impaired people.

These are mentioned below –

Amplified phones

Amplified phones are cordless phones like home phones. The phone allows you to adjust the audio according to the needs of people with hearing problems. You can increase the sound between 15 dB – 25 dB for the earpiece.

It has the feature of improving the ringtone to help the person get the intended message effectively. You can increase the volume of the tones up to 75 dB.

This phone is ideal for mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss disabled persons. If you cannot get one as a free phone for the hearing impaired, you can get these phones at a reasonable price at Amazon. You may also check at Wallmart.

Some of the best Amplified phones are –

  • Geemarc Ultra
  • Clarity XLC3.4
  • Panasonic KX
  • Clarity Amplified photo phone
  • Panasonic Clarity

Captioning phones

The caption phones are the same as the caption movies, where you can see the characters’ dialogues. So, if you miss hearing the conversation, you can read and understand the communication.

Caption phones show the messages for the calling person in the text. However, these phones provide real-time words of the person calling you, meaning you don’t need to put the earpiece on your phone to understand the conversation.

In addition, you can see the message even after the call has ended. You must have good electricity, reliable internet, and telephone services to use these phones. This is the best phone for hearing disabled people.

Several states offer these phones through their special programs, as discussed above. You can visit the nearest state office for more information on how to get these phones for free.

A few of the best-Captioned phones for hearing impaired people are –

  • CaptionCall
  • Hamilton CapTel 840i
  • Hamilton CapTel2400i
  • Hamilton CapTel 880i
  • Clarity ClearCaptions Ensemble

TTY Hearing Impaired Phones

Text-to-Voice (TTY) is a unique phone similar to Voice-carry-over devices that help hearing-disabled people use their voice while conversing, and the person receives the message in text form.

These phones help to receive calls, which are typed out informing of words making the hearing disabled people get the message effectively. These phones use AI technology to help hearing-disabled people. With this advanced technology, message decoding is relatively fast, and the delivery time is quite quick.

If a person sends a text, the phone will convert it to audio. This is the difference between captioned phones and Text-to-Voice phones.

A few TTY phones are listed below –

  • Clarity Dialogue III
  • Ultratec Uniphone
  • Ultratec Supercom
  • Ultratec Minicom
  • Ameriphone cordless phone

Video Relay Service Phones

As the name suggests, this type of phone enables you to get messages via video conferencing. With these phones, you don’t only get the intended message, but you get to see the person communicating. These phones use sign language and video conferencing equipment.

You must have reliable internet for these phones to operate. With these phones, if you don’t get the message, the sender can retype it, and you can read it easily. It is the best option if you have the good visual capability but can not hear properly. These phones offer adequate visual information to make the conversation easier to understand. However, these phone services need a specific online Sethat you can use to communicate. A few of them are Sorenson VRS, Purple communication, and Spring Relay.

Video chatting or calling phones

Unlike video relay service, these phones do not involve a third group like the video relay service. This is one of the great digital methods to communicate with hearing-impaired people.

You can check what free phones listed above are offered for deaf and hard of hearing people through the federal government programs at the TEDPA (Telecommunication Equipment Distribution Program Associate) official site. You can also find assistance to get one at the same site.

Conclusion

The statistical data reveals that every two people out of 1,000 suffer from hearing disabilities. In total, around 600,000 people in the country have hearing problems or are completely deaf.

Moreover, the majority of these populations live below the poverty threshold. As such, these people need Free Phones for Hearing Impaired. These special phones are provided by the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (TEDPs) to eligible low-income people.

If you need, visit the program’s website for your state, check your eligibility to qualify for the program, and please apply for the free phones for hearing impaired with the help of our ultimate guide.

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About the author

Shashi Dixit

With hobbies like reading, it's no surprise Miss Dixit is an exemplary writer. Currently halfway through writing her crime-fiction novel, Miss Dixit is also making significant leaps in the niche of political writing. The exhilaration of "feeling the winds from the unchartered territory of political writing through her hair" spurs her onwards. Head over to Shashi's Twitter handle @dshashi02 to connect with her!

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