Without the resources and tools specifically designed to help navigate life with hearing loss, getting through the day can be a challenge. A sense of isolation—stemming from difficulty participating in daily activities and maintaining relationships—is one of the most difficult challenges and can impair overall well-being.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you’re not alone. Hearing loss affects millions of Americans for many different reasons—such as age, illness, injury, loud working conditions and military service. For some people with hearing loss, even using something as easy as the phone has become difficult.
The Elements of Well-Being
Elements of overall well-being include our social, physical, mental and financial health. These and other aspects largely depend on independence and a sense of connection with others. According to audiologist and neuroscientist Dr. Kelly Tremblay, “Financial, social and mental health is dependent on healthy connections/relationships. It is common knowledge that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
Paul Kershisnik, chief marketing officer at CaptionCall, a captioned phone service, relates hearing loss to serious and often unexpected consequences: “Who would think your mental health or your physical health would be impacted by hearing loss? But it is. It’s easy to see the social or emotional issues associated with hearing loss, but we tend not to see some of the other areas impacted.”
To be connected, a person needs to be able to communicate at will with confidence, and having to rely on others for communication diminishes independence. Today, much communication is accomplished with technology such as smartphones. But even with hearing aids or mild hearing loss, using the phone can be difficult because we lack the visual cues that aid listening.
Connecting Through Technology
Technology has advanced to allow people around the world to connect to each other in real time, and that technology is available for people with hearing loss, too. In fact, 16 million Americans for whom communicating by phone is difficult would benefit from a captioned telephone.
CaptionCall uses the most advanced voice recognition technology and a fast transcription service to display written captions of what a caller is saying on a large, easy-to-read screen. Such visual cues are important because of listening fatigue. Even with the best hearing aids or cochlear implants, the effort of trying to understand is exhausting. Being able to read your phone conversation while it’s happening relieves this fatigue.
For people who qualify, CaptionCall is a no-cost service. To qualify, you must have hearing loss that necessitates the use of captioned telephone service. (If interested, you can request service online or through a hearing health professional.) CaptionCall also offers a mobile app, so you can take the convenience of captioned phone calls with you when you leave home.
Can Your Captioned Telephone Service Do This?
Many people don’t realize what resources are available to help them communicate by phone when they experience hearing loss. Captioned phone companies must offer their services at no cost, so price and setup are not barriers at all.
The captioned telephone service is available because of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Communications Commission, which set aside funds to help people with hearing loss to effectively use the telephone.
When looking for a captioned phone service, you should also consider whether it offers these benefits:
- Does it automatically connect to a secure captioning service?
- Does the phone screen allow you to adjust the size of text for ease of reading?
- Can you save the text of important conversations as well as your contacts?
- Is it easy for someone with hearing aids to use?
- Will someone help me learn how to use the phone and set it up for me?
CaptionCall can answer yes to all these questions. Moreover, a captioning service can help you connect with life in meaningful ways similar to those used by people without hearing loss—home phones, smartphones and tablets.
Life is Calling
According to Dr. Tremblay, “Reaching out to friends or family for emotional support, or to help coordinate visits to a doctor’s office, is also dependent on the ability to communicate one’s needs.”
A captioned phone service is a valuable solution for people—with or without hearing aids—who are experiencing hearing loss and having difficulty communicating on the phone. You no longer need to rely on others to communicate for you, which means maintaining relationships with friends and family is easier.
It’s time to answer life’s call and claim your independence. The day-to-day tasks of scheduling appointments, talking to a loved one on the phone, communicating with colleagues or making other important phone calls could be yours with the help of a captioned phone and service such as CaptionCall.
Connect With Life
As Kershisnik explains, “People think of hearing loss as natural and unfortunate or, worse yet, inconvenient and inconsequential, but it isn’t any of those things. It is consequential across a broad range of things—your mental health, your physical health, your social and emotional well-being. Taking care of your hearing through assistive technology is a great way to help you stay connected, to stay in control and to feel confident.”
CaptionCall products and services can help you communicate more effectively—which can benefit your overall well-being. For more information, visit CaptionCall.com. Join the hundreds of thousands of others who are connecting with life through CaptionCall.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Hearing Life.