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What is a captioned telephone?

How can people with hearing loss get one at no cost?

Answers by Jennifer Weallans, Outreach Educator with CapTel Outreach

People with hearing loss often struggle to communicate over the phone. Words are missed, sentences don’t make sense, and it can be frustrating to have to ask callers to repeat themselves. Even those who wear hearing aids can’t always hear well on the telephone. Captioned telephones can make a positive impact in quality of life. If you or someone you know has difficulty hearing over the phone due to hearing loss, the CapTel® Captioned Telephone is a perfect solution.

How does a captioned telephone work?

CapTel Captioned Telephone shows the words on a screen as they are said, so it is easy to follow every conversation. Contributed photo

A captioned telephone works like any other phone with an important addition: it shows captions of everything the caller says. With CapTel Captioned Telephone, you can listen to the caller and also read every word your caller says on the bright CapTel display screen. It’s similar to closed captioning for TV. The CapTel is also an amplified phone, so you hear what you can hear, and read the captions to fill in the blanks.

What are the requirements to receive a no-cost CapTel?

If you have hearing loss and high-speed internet or a landline in your home, you qualify to receive a CapTel.

Why are captioned telephones free to the user?

CapTel is exclusively designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the phone, under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. CapTel service is part of a federally-funded program regulated by the FCC and available only to registered users with hearing loss. This program helps ensure people with hearing loss have equal access to telecommunications services.

What do CapTel users say?

“When I first got CapTel, I was just calling all over to talk to people I hadn’t been able to talk to before,” explained CapTel user Helen Rizzi. “When they call me, I can see everything that they say.”

CapTel can give users the confidence to talk on the phone, knowing they will catch every word. But Helen isn’t the only one who benefited from the change. “My children are overjoyed. And so are my grandchildren,” she explained. “It’s made me be independent, and I think that’s what everyone wants. Being able to make my own calls is really one of the biggest gifts I was ever given,” Helen states.

How do I get a no-cost CapTel?

I am the Local Outreach Educator in Minnesota, working on behalf of CapTel Outreach, and my team and I will personally guide you through the process from start to finish. We’ll provide the phone model of your choice, install it with you over-the-phone or in person, and make sure you’re comfortable using it. It’s an easy process.To contact me, text or call me at 248-550-6866 or email me at

If you or someone you know is living with hearing loss, a CapTel Captioned Telephone can make a world of difference. Contact me for more information.

“Ask the Expert” is sponsored content (paid advertising) provided by Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. To learn how your business can promote its products and services like this, contact Sr. Perspective at 320-334-3344.

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