Boomer Voice: Digital Devices Help Reconnect the Hearing Impaired

October 9, 2013
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boomer voice hearing loss appsDo you have loved ones whose hearing is keeping them from talking on the telephone?  Do you worry when they don’t answer the phone, only to have them later tell you they removed their hearing aids and didn’t hear the phone ring? 

boomer voice hearing loss appsDo you have loved ones whose hearing is keeping them from talking on the telephone?  Do you worry when they don’t answer the phone, only to have them later tell you they removed their hearing aids and didn’t hear the phone ring? 

Family caregivers frequently discuss their anxiety about these hearing issues. As more Baby Boomers join the ranks of hearing impaired, the need for hearing aids and other special phones are essential.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health published earlier this year, older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal.

“Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, because it may come with some serious long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning,” said senior study investigator and Johns Hopkins otologist and epidemiologist Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D.

He estimates that as many as 27 million Americans over age 50, including two-thirds of men and women aged 70 years and older, suffer from some form of hearing loss.

More worrisome, he said is only 15 percent of those who need a hearing aid get one, leaving much of the problem and its consequences untreated.

Family caregivers can try using study results linking cognitive impairment to hearing loss to nudge their loved ones to use hearing aids.

In addition here are a few digital phone devices that may also help.  There are amplified phones for mild hearing loss all the way to captioned phones for users with severe hearing loss.

They all allow users to dial the other person’s number, exactly the same way as with any other telephone. The caption phones automatically connect to the captioning service when the user dials. When the other party answers, the user hear everything they say, just like a traditional call. At the same time, the captioning service transcribes everything the other party says into captions, which appear on the display window. Users can hear what they can and also read.

A few of the highly rated amplified and caption phones include:

  • Captel has a wide variety of captioned, amplified, text and all in one phones starting at $75.  CapTel has phone solutions to meet the needs of all types of hearing loss. Many devices will operate without high speed Internet service.
  • CaptionCall  offers one type of phone for $75 because its captioning service is fully funded by the Federal Communications Commission.  In order to qualify for a $75 CaptionCall phone, users must have a medically recognized hearing loss that necessitates the use of captioned telephone service. High-speed Internet and a landline telephone line are necessary to connect to the service.
  • Clarity is a division of Plantronics that offers seven distinct product lines.  It offers phones for users with sight and hearing disabilities.  The Ensemble is an amplified caption telephone at $149.

These are just a few of the technological options available to assist family caregivers in offering their loved ones a higher quality of life. 

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