Learn about the Captioned Telephone at Alta Library Oct. 9

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Captioned Telephone looks and works just like a traditional phone, with one difference: the CapTel phone has a bright, built-in display screen which displays captions of everything the other party says during a conversation.

There will be a presentation at the Alta Community Library on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. Come learn more about this unique, available phone for those who struggle to hear on the telephone.

"I used to be nearly frustrated to tears over my inability to figure out what was said in teleconferences," said hard of hearing Iowan Renee' Reece of Norwalk, "but now I can understand it better. I can rely on the captioning."

Reece, a Computer Assistant for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), got her Captioned Telephone (CapTelŪ) three years ago. She had used an amplifier on her phone but it was not loud enough in a lot of situations. Even when she could hear what was said, she often did not understand the words. "My good ear has 20 percent word comprehension. Especially after I received a telephone handset from CapTel, I could hear with both ears. It makes a huge difference in word comprehension."

Kelly Martin of Des Moines uses his phone at home and it has changed his life. As a very hard-of-hearing-person, Martin has been excited about the CapTel features.

Martin works as a Deaf-Ed Teacher Associate and got his phone in the spring of 2008. It has made a huge difference in his communication with family and friends.

Independence is probably the number one result of his CapTel phone, "I am no longer forced to ask someone to help me call in refills for prescriptions or to order a pizza. I am independent again."

Even though there are other things that Martin uses to communicate such as his video phone (a webcam attachment to his computer which allows him to use American Sign Language to speak to an interpreter who, through relay, voices the conversation to the person called) and his blackberry cell phone to text family and friends, he still feels that the CapTel telephone offers him that personal touch with others. He can use his own voice which gives those he cares about the opportunity to hear his voice and the emotion that goes with his voice. And the flow of information is smooth since the people he talks to don't even know it is a relay call and that their side of the conversation is being turned into text for Martin to read as needed so it flows like a regular phone call.

The captioning service used with the CapTel phone is one of the Relay Iowa services available to Iowans through the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). The captioning service is provided at no charge and is available 24 hours a day through Relay Iowa, the free service that allows people who are hearing, hard of hearing, deaf, deaf-blind or speech impaired to communicate with each other via the telephone. However, long distance charges apply to long distance calls.

Anyone interested in obtaining a CapTel phone can purchase one for a current reduced price of $99 (telephone retail is $495) or can receive the phone through the Iowa Utilities Board state distribution program if eligible and the state pays for 95 percent of the telephone. To get more information, please contact Relay Iowa at 888-516-4692 V/TTY or HYPERLINK "mailto:iarelay@hamiltonrelay.com" iarelay@hamiltonrelay.com.