Choosing A Hard Of Hearing Phone
The phone that you choose will be dependent on the type of hearing loss you, or the person you are buying it for, has. The greater the hearing loss the more amplification you'll need.
Let's start by taking my mother as an example. Her hearing has been a bit "dull" for a few years but it has recently deteriorated although the degree of loss can be quite intermittent. On a good day she could just about hear her normal phone ring. On a bad day she couldn't hear it even if she was sitting right next to it.
So what she needed was a phone with a very loud ringer and a visible flashing light so that it maximised her chances of realising the phone was actually ringing. As she also has low vision that ringer light had to be very visible so it was a case of the bigger, the brighter, the better.
This really ruled out getting her a cordless hard of hearing phone as the ringer lights weren't so big and she really needed big buttons that stood out. So that meant we opted for a corded phone.
When using an ordinary phone her hearing wasn't too bad, once she was actually on the phone, at least when it was on one of her good days. On a bad day she could just hear someone was speaking but couldn't hear the individual words.
So we went with a hard of hearing phone that had amplification that could easily be adjusted to suit the day to day variations in her hearing levels. The ability to adjust the tone so she could boost up lower and higher pitched sounds was also very beneficial to her.
Taking all this into account we bought her a Geemarc CL200+ phone (now being replaced by the Geemarc Amplipower 40) as it ticked all the right boxes. It looked very similar to her normal big button phone and everything was straightforward and easy to use.
The ringer light ran along most of the bottom of the phone and was very bright and the ringer volume could be boosted up so that she had a good chance of hearing it even on a bad hearing day.
Once she’d picked up the phone she could easily use the volume and tone slider controls to suit her hearing. The first few phone conversations started with a little bit of fumbling to get the volume right but she soon got the hang of tweaking the levels. Looking to the future the phone is hearing aid compatible, useful if her hearing deteriorates any further.
Of course everyone is different. What suits one person, may not suit another. You may want the convenience of a cordless phone, you may need your hard of hearing phone to have a built in answering machine etc. There is a good range of phones now available for those whose hearing isn't perfect so just take your time and find one that suits your purpose.