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Captioned Phone gives people with hearing impairments an accessible phone to use

Posted Feb 03 2009 10:50pm
I just love it when I hear about assistive technology in the mainstream media, not just on those usual online sites where I go to find this information. I mean, when you go to a web site dedicated to assistive technology and its use by people with disabilities, its not really any big surprise to learn about the latest tech innovation.

So, you can imagine my surprise on Sunday night when I heard an ad for a
Captioned Phone
In an ad on one of the local, Houston-area television stations.

Here’s the
ad that played.

Granted, what is being spoken in the ad isn’t a perfect description of everything that is being displayed on the screen, but even a blind dude like me can get the general message of what is going on during that ad. There was some additional print information from the ad that my wife read to me, but the information provided in the audio was pretty evident on describing the product. It basically uses voice recognition and speech-to-text technology to provide a real-time caption to the conversation the user is having.

Ideal for people with some degree of hearing loss, the Captioned Telephone (CapTel) works like any other telephone with one important addition: It displays every word the caller says throughout the conversation. CapTel phone users can listen to the caller, and can also read the written captions in the CapTel's bright display window.



On the web site, CapTel’s Benefits are described as:
  • Calls are made in a natural manner, simply dial the telephone number directly for the person you are calling

  • Users enjoy natural telephone conversations, and can check the captions for added clarity

  • Everyone can use the CapTel phone simply turn off the captions feature to use it as a traditional telephone

  • Captions appear nearly simultaneously with the spoken words

  • The CapTel phone includes an amplified handset and tone control for clarity



If you’re interested in learning more about this revolutionary phone, check out this
video,
or read the
FAQ page.

While the ad I caught was sponsored by CapTel Texas and
Relay Texas,
There is also a
Availability page
To see where else this program can be found across the United States.

And, for you Texas residents, here’s a great final note:

Texas residents may qualify to receive a free CapTel telephone through the state’s Special Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP). Or, Texas residents can purchase a CapTel phone directly.

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