Never Struggle on the Phone Again

I hate talking on the phone! Some people I hate talking to more than others.

Let me clarify. It is not because I don’t like them personally or that I don’t like what they have to say but rather that I find them so hard to understand over the phone. Maybe they are too softly spoken, or they speak too quickly or they get frustrated easily if I ask them to repeat something.

I would much rather send a n e-mail or text message any day! 

More than anything, I dread calling customer service numbers because I always seem to miss something that they say. I worked in a number of call centres over a period of 15 years, so I know first hand just how many factors can contribute to making that customer service rep hard to understand.

If I can’t avoid a phone call, I usually barricade myself in my study at home to make it as quiet as possible and I try to make the call using my Roger Pen or another device to stream the voice of the other party straight to my hearing aids.

More often than not, I manage to get through the call with my sanity still mostly intact but it can be so mentally and physically draining, especially if it was an important call. Many times I’m so focused on just trying to understand the conversation that I can’t concentrate on things such as taking notes or asking relevant questions.

Phones for the hearing impaired

There are a number of hearing impaired telephones available which offer higher amplification than a standard phone, but more volume is not always the answer.

While raising the volume can be a great benefit to those with a conductive hearing loss; for someone with a sensorineural hearing loss (sometimes referred to as nerve deafness), making things louder can actually make it no easier or even sometimes harder to understand what is being said.

An alternative is a phone that works in conjunction with the telecoil (or t-switch) on a hearing aid. These phones can transmit the sound of the other party via magnetic induction and, by enabling the telecoil, you can have the other party’s voice transmitted directly to your hearing aid; bypassing its microphone. This can be really useful if there is background noise as your hearing aid is only receiving the signal from the phone.

Again however, this is not the ideal solution for everyone.

The biggest problem with most of the hearing impaired phones available is that you are still reliant upon your hearing to use them. If you have poor or even below normal speech discrimination (which is your ability to decipher the sounds of speech into actual meaningful words) then you are going to struggle understanding on the phone much of the time.

Here’s where the Captel phone enters the picture

“CapTel is a telephone that captions word-for-word everything the caller is saying, allowing those with difficulty hearing on the phone to enjoy stress free conversations.” Captel-840i

While not the only feature offered; live captioning of what the other party is saying means that you don’t have to rely solely upon your hearing to be able to use the telephone. Now you can read what is being said, as it is being said.

The Captel also has some other useful features:

  • Big screen and buttons;
  • Volume control, allowing up to 40 dB gain for captioned calls;
  • The hand piece has an induction loop contained within, which means it will work with your hearing aid’s telecoil setting if required;
  • Tone control, so you can enhance the low, medium or high frequency tones to find the range you hear best;
  • A customer service button so, if you ever need assistance using the phone, the Help Desk is only a button push away.

How does it work?

The Captel phone connects to both your telephone service and to your internet service. Whenever you make or receive a phone call, the phone uses the internet connection to access a free captioning service. An operator at the captioning service uses voice recognition technology to generate captions of everything the other party says and sends the captions back to the Captel phone.

The Captel phone is available via AccessComm who will not only come to your home and install the phone but also an internet connection if you don’t currently have one. They also offer ongoing support.

And the cost?

The Captel phone costs only $55 per year to rent, plus a one off $50 refundable deposit. The captioning service itself is available at no cost. Internet costs are your responsibility, however the phone’s internet usage is minimal.

Until 31st May 2016, there is a special offer where the deposit and rental are waived. Anyone who gets the phone during this period will never have to pay rental costs for the time they have the phone.

For more information contact AccessComm on 1300 107 546 or

Blamey Saunders clients –  ask for a demonstration during your next clinic visit.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your community via the social media buttons below. Let’s help each other make communication easier!

DanielDaniel Pistritto was diagnosed with a progressive hearing impairment in his early teens but he was determined to find a way to help others with hearing loss. Daniel is now an Audiometrist at Blamey Saunders hears and also tests and reviews assistive communications devices. “Knowing that I’m helping to give back to a client one of their most vital means for communication is rewarding beyond measure”.


  1. I have sent 2 emails to info: regarding problems with my captel phone. The phone stops working, it is now flashing and I have checked the phone line and internet they are ok but the phone is not. I have enjoyed captel phone for 5 years and it has improved my communications on the phone. Now I feel frustrated because I cannot find someone to help me and do not know how to contact them. I live alone. Can any of you help me please. I need the phone captions as I have difficulty understanding on the phone.

    Elisa Frasca
      1. I had Daniel call AccessComm and I’m happy to hear they’ve been in touch with you since you left your comment. They are, however going to send you an email now to make sure that everything is okay.
        If you ever need assistance in the future, you can press the ‘Customer Service’ button which should be on your phone. This will put you in touch with the helpdesk. Hope that helps!
        – Elaine

  2. Someone called Lauren rang me in January re the rental Captel phone. I sadly have lost the phone number.
    I would really like to try one of these phones. I have a hearing phone but it is too old and difficult to hear the caller.
    Hope to hear from you soon

    Kathryn Cody
  3. I live in Ulladulla & have had a Captel phone installed for some time. I tried to use it but the captions were so slow coming through it was hopeless for me to read them while the caller was way ahead of them. I found it too difficult to converse, as it was mind boggling trying to
    listen to the caller & find the caption of the part I had missed.
    Lloyd Jacobs was the rep. who installed it & when I tried to contact him to have it taken away I found he had left the area.
    I asked the receptionist at ulladulla connect hearing if they could arrange to have it collected if I left it with them since it was they who urged me to have one installed but was told they were just agents for it & had no way to return it.

    I did not try pushing the cust. service button as I wouldn’t know what was being said to me anyway so I have disconnected it from the internet & power & want it taken away. Hoping you can help me. ……… Joan.

    Joan Rexstraw

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