Captioning Telephones Free for Those with Hearing Difficulties

July 24th, 2014 by Dana Luzon Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA


caption call phone

What is a captioning phone?

Captioning telephones work like a standard phone for the user but connect to the internet to gather captions of words spoken by the individual on the other end of the line. The captions are displayed on the base of the phone near the receiver. This is a great service for anyone with a measurable hearing loss. Talking on the phone with a hearing loss can be difficult, leading to isolation and social withdrawal. CaptionCall® works by showing the lines of speech on a screen, makes it much easier to fully understand the person on the other end of the line. People with hearing loss are able to gain an extra communication advantage through this device and program, and it’s free. The service is paid for by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fund that fulfills a mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide functionally equivalent communication for those with hearing loss. Delivery and installation of the device are also free.

Act now while it’s still free

The CaptionCall phone, an assistive listening telephone previously available for free through a provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act, has, since October of last year, been costing customers $75 per phone.  Adults with difficulty hearing will once again have an opportunity to receive free help communicating on the phone with captioning telephones, thanks to a recent District of Columbia circuit court ruling. The recent court ruling has temporarily lifted this charge pending further review expected to take place this summer. If this is something that an individual with hearing loss may want, now is the time to act while it is still free.

The recent reversal of cost for the phone is due to a Stay Request filed by Sorenson Communications, Inc., the company that owns CaptionCall. The Stay Request was filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2013 and was granted in January. The free CaptionCall offer will remain in effect at least until the summer, when the case is decided, according to the CaptionCall website. The outcome of the case will determine whether  CaptionCall will remain completely free or not.

We Can Help

Call your  AudigyCertified™ provider to schedule a hearing test to determine if you are a candidate for a free captioned telephone.

Caption Call

Dana Luzon Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA

About Dana Luzon Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA

Dana Luzon received her undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the Richard Stockton College of NJ, and continued on to receive her Doctorate of Audiology at Salus University’s residential program. Her varied clinical experiences throughout her doctoral studies include: VA hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, ENT and private practice settings.