If your loved one struggles with hearing loss, you know firsthand that long-distance communication is difficult. From missed calls to constantly having to repeat yourself, keeping in touch with your family member can become a real hassle. You might be worried about their safety, and they might start to avoid social situations altogether because of these persistent inconveniences. A telephone designed specifically for those who suffer from hearing impairment can lessen the burden of unclear communication and ensure that your loved one does not feel isolated anymore.
How do they work?
The volume on your telephone can only go so high. If the maximum setting still leaves much to be desired for your relative, you need an amplifier. These work by increasing the sound by anywhere between 10 and 80 decibels, as well as heightening specific frequencies in order to make words that sound similar easier to distinguish. Many products nowadays come with a dial that allows you to change the volume according to your needs.
What different types can you find on the market?
A hearing impaired telephone does not necessarily have to include sound amplification. There are other methods of improving call quality and enhancing hearing. One such alternative involves noise reduction, which uses a specialized system to filter or block out background noise in order to make communication clearer. When it comes to amplifiers, there are several different types, including portable units (that you can use in combination with landline phones), phone line units (which connect the base and handset to boost volume) and dedicated amplifier telephones. The latter allow volume customization and a significant increase in decibels.
What should you look for in a hearing impaired telephone?
Choosing the right telephone for your loved one can be daunting. You need to make sure they are comfortable with it and find it easy to use, but also don’t want to compromise on quality. The deciding factor in what type of phone you are looking for should be the stage of the hearing impairment. Does your family member only miss a word or two when you talk to them? Or do you frequently have to raise your voice for them to hear you? In case of mild or moderate hearing loss, phones with amplified sound or noise reduction are a smart option. However, if they have lost their hearing entirely, a captioned telephone might be a wiser choice.
Should I choose a corded or cordless phone?
The answer to this question depends on your specific needs. Is mobility a priority? Then a cordless phone would be the better option. Are visibility and ease of use major concerns? Then going for the corded version may prove to be more efficient. It all depends on your requirements. For instance, some users report that receptiveness is inferior in newer cordless models. But they make up for it because they allow you to roam around while talking. You might find that a corded unit which also features a speakerphone with amplified sound might be the best fit for your family.
Best Hearing Impaired Telephones
When looking for the phone, you should first make sure that it is either hearing aid compatible, has sound amplification, a noise reduction system or both. The handset volume is generally adjustable up to a maximum of 100dB. You also need to check the ring volume and other call alerts. If you are flexible on the price, you can find a product with additional features (like speed dial, quiet or eco mode, answering machine or redial memory), all of which will make it easier and more convenient for your loved one to use. Below you will find the most reliable telephones on the market that cater to hearing impairment needs.
1. Hamilton CapTel Captioned Telephone
This telephone is designed exclusively for people with hearing loss or deafness. Using new technology and volume control, it offers real-time captions that display what the other person on the line is saying. When your loved one is on the phone, another person is connected to their call and they type everything out for them. This kind of visual communication is most useful if your relative has lost their hearing entirely. The service is paid for by the Federal Government.
However, you should bear in mind that the quality and accuracy of the communication can vary, as there will be a different person connected to the call each time (with different speed and acuity). Moreover, if the people on the call are speaking in a foreign language, there might not be proper translation (the service accommodates only English and Spanish speakers).
Despite its minor shortcomings, Hamilton CapTel provides a smart solution to a common issue amongst seniors. It features both an answering machine and a speakerphone, and it can be used in combination with Bluetooth listening devices or headphones. Additionally, the tone voice is adjustable, and the captions can be turned off at any time.
There is also a lot of variety in terms of customization: you can choose different colors, fonts and play around with the settings. Each contact can be personalized with a photo and caller light. The captions are saved unless you decide to delete them, so your conversations will be available to your loved one should they need them at a later time. Users report that this brand has exceptional customer service – it’s 24/7 and the representatives are patient, helpful and attentive in their work.
- automatic on-screen captions for all calls
- high customization: tone voice, visuals, contacts, settings
- captions are stored for later use
- quick and professional client service (can be easily accessed with one screen touch)
- compatible with Bluetooth
- works through a touch-screen (may not be the best choice if your relative is not very tech-savvy)
- only suited for Spanish and English speakers
- may take longer to install and update (responsiveness depends on internet speed)
- requires high-speed internet access and telephone service to function as advertised
- in case of a power outage or if the device is unplugged, some settings may be lost
2. Hamilton CapTel Telephone with 40dB Amplification
Using the same caption system, Hamilton CapTel with 40dB Amplification is similar to the previous model, but with a few added benefits. It offers an amplification boost that allows your relative to hear the other person on the phone more clearly. The volume is adjustable and can be increased to up to 40dB more than that of a standard telephone. This ensures that the frequency levels are always optimized and your loved one understands you without any effort.
Another exclusive feature of this model is that it uses an automatized system to create the captions, not an employee. The process involves remote computers that are capable of accurately translating speech to text. So you don’t have to worry about another person listening in on your conversations. This also means that your family member no longer has to dial through the captioning service – the text will appear automatically for both outgoing and incoming calls.
In addition to a speakerphone with increased volume, this item includes an answering machine that generates captions for voice messages that your loved one can read later. It also has a higher storage capacity, allowing you to save up to 95 contacts or numbers (with caller identification).
The graphical interface is very useful – it has large buttons, a tablet-sized clear screen with easy-to-read fonts and bold colors. Your loved one can also dial customer care, as well as favorite or frequently used numbers with only one touch, using the speed dial system. This model is also more convenient. It comes with screen tilts that can be flattened (if you want the phone positioned on your wall) or raised to make reading more comfortable.
- automated caption system for all calls
- amplified sound and improved speech clarity
- easy-to-use touch screen and dialing pad
- stores a large number of contacts and includes caller ID
- increased memory: no data or contact lists are lost after power outage or reboot
- all conversations are saved: you can view the transcriptions by accessing caller history
- adjustable volume control
- cord can be replaced (if it is too short)
- requires router or modem and high-speed internet access to function
- the model is quite large (17 inches long); can take up a large amount of table space
- some users report a brief time lag (around 2 to 3 seconds) until the captions appear on screen
- higher cost
3. Home Intuition Amplified Single Line Corded Desk Telephone
Home Intuition Amplified Telephone is a low-cost, simple and reliable option for seniors with impaired hearing. If you are more interested in convenience than anything else, this item should be on your list. It combines functional design with amplified sound to ensure that your loved one can always connect with you. The number buttons are extra large, visible for individuals with poor eyesight. Near-blind seniors report that the telephone is easy to use and they have no issues with dialing.
The bell ringer is powerful and the cord is 9 feet long – this allows for far greater range of movement than a regular device would. However, this item does not feature a speakerphone, which might be a must-have for certain users.
Home Intuition’s telephone is made of high-quality materials that ensure long-term use. Nonetheless, the company provides remarkable insurance – a 5-year guarantee that you can use to receive your money back if you are not satisfied with the product. The full package also includes a handset that allows you to modify the volume during a phone call, as well as a wall mount. Lastly, there is an emergency 911 dial that can be accessed with a one-button push. You can also add other numbers for speed dial, but each contact has to be programmed into the device and assigned a number.
- classic design, easy to use
- amplified sound, adjustable volume control and bell ringer
- large number buttons, visible for near-blind seniors
- speed dial option
- increased durability
- 5 year money back guarantee
- extra long cord that allows mobility during calls
- lightweight; can easily be knocked off if not careful
- the 911 speed dial button could be bigger to avoid accidental use (however, this option can be turned off)
- does not feature a speakerphone
- the memory buttons are fairly small and not as visible as the rest
- there is a mute button placed right on the phone’s handle – it can be accidentally pressed and might be inconvenient for senior users
4. ClearSounds Amplified Landline Telephone
ClearSounds Telephone guarantees higher call quality and increased, sharp sound for seniors who struggle with impaired hearing or poor eyesight. It offers up to 40 dB amplification and features a strong duplex speakerphone that allows your loved one to freely move around during calls. The interface is simple and convenient: it has large buttons that are visible for elders with sight issues. You can rest assured that your family member will never miss your phone call again. The ring bell is very powerful, reaching up to 85dB. This volume can be modified to higher or lower, as well as turned off completely during night time. There is also a bright flashing light that comes on with every call.
In addition to being hearing aid compatible, ClearSounds Amplified Telephone has fully adjustable tone control and a few customization options. Speed dial is also available. It involves 8 buttons on the base unit for 8 different contacts that you can dial with one push. The number frames include photo memory and allow for personalization: you can cut out pictures of your loved ones and place them for each speed dial button.
What is important to note about this product is that it uses a single-line. This has its downsides and benefits, and you should take them into account before making your purchase. For instance, a landline offers a more reliable and stable connection, but can also come with a greater risk of being hijacked or experiencing service disruption.
This type of telephone is a good investment if you are worried about your loved one’s safety. Landlines provide fixed locations which make it easier for emergency responders to tend to your relative in time, in case of a crisis situation. They also have clearer reception and work even if the power has gone out (as long as you have a handset with a cord that is charged).
- amplified sound, powerful ringer and adjustable tone control
- features speakerphone and big buttons for increased visibility and mobility
- offers personalized speed dial options (up to 8 contacts)
- single-line phone: has superior reception and is useful for emergencies
- contacts are saved during a power outage or if the device is unplugged
- comes with 1-year warranty
- can be set on wall or table
- no caller identification
- higher service costs due to landline connection (can average $40-$50 per month)
- you can’t switch to speakerphone if you have already picked up the handle; trying to do so will disconnect your call
- the receiver cord is fairly short
5. Panasonic Amplified Cordless Phone with Digital Answering Machine
This model is more expensive than others on the market, but also provides higher quality sound and amplification. With up to a 50 dB gain for all calls, Panasonic Cordless Phone will help your loved one hear and understand you clearly during your conversations. It also uses a specialized noise reduction system that ensures superior call clarity. The item is highly customizable – it has 15 ringtone options and volume boost control with six different voice tone settings. In addition, it features a backlit LCD and a rechargeable battery.
The number and memory buttons are large for increased visibility. The model also includes an intercom, handset and talking keypad. All of these elements make the telephone easy to use and one of the most convenient for seniors with hearing impairment.
Panasonic’s item has an extra-base unit ringer (reaches up to 112 dB) with intense red LED light for call notification. It also includes a speakerphone option and caller identification. The phonebook allows for 9-speed dials and 100 different contacts. Moreover, your loved one can block incoming calls for targeted numbers (up to 250). This model is much more useful for emergencies than standard ones: it comes with an energy backup that can be used during a power outage.
There are two in-built strong batteries, each of which lasts for 3 hours of continuous use. Both the base unit and the handset flash a bright light to signal incoming calls. There is even an audible and visual alert that tells your loved one exactly who is contacting them (in English or Spanish).
Another unique feature of Panasonic’s Cordless Phone is its slow talk option. This command automatically slows down the speech in real-time, with one simple push of a button. The latter is handily placed on both the main unit and the handset. Slow talk is also available for voice messages. Lastly, the model is Bluetooth compatible and able to connect to one other headset. Up to 6 handsets can be registered and used with the base unit.
- 50 dB amplification, volume control and noise reduction
- features speakerphone, answering machine and digital talking keypad
- effective alert system for incoming call
- unique slow talk feature for improved speech clarity
- extra batteries for power backup
- phonebook, speed dial and call-block option
- the base is not compatible with older Panasonic handsets; those that match this model are quite expensive (up to $70 for a piece)
- the design and controls are fairly complicated and may be confusing to seniors who are not good with technology;
- cannot be fixed on walls
- higher cost
- the headset is heavier than standard types
- battery life could be improved
6. Home Intuition Amplified Single Line Corded Desk Telephone
This is a more conservative alternative if your loved one is not keen or particularly good with new technology and just wants a basic and reliable telephone. Functioning in conjunction with landline service, this Home Intuition model offers more simplicity, comfort, and security than many of its modern counterparts. It is also the least expensive product on the market, and one of the most long-lasting. Although it lacks some of the flashier perks that come with newer models, it makes up in convenience and ease of use.
Featuring a classic design, Home Intuition Corded Desk Telephone prioritizes functionality and is compatible with hearing aid. This means that it has internal means (without any input from an external device) for effective use by those with hearing impairment. Moreover, a small coil is introduced in the phone which is in synch with the telecoil in the hearing aid.
Please bear in mind that, although 60% of hearing aids include telecoils, the one your loved one uses might not. In that case, this product will not guarantee the amplification you are looking for.
The telephone also comes with an extended 9-foot long cord and a ringer that emits a loud double gong. You can customize the volume level using the handset button (this item is also ADA volume control compliant). Additionally, there is a switch on the bottom that you can use to completely turn off the ringer so that it won’t disturb you during the night. It also has the feel of a genuine ‘70s phone so the base is heavy enough that it won’t easily fall over if the cord is stretched.
- classic, functional and reliable design
- suited for seniors who value simplicity and want to avoid modern technology
- compatible with hearing aid
- useful as a backup during power outage
- works with caller ID and answering machine
- much easier to set up than other telephones: you only need to plug the phone line (no complicated assembly or updates);
- low-cost and durable
- does not have a speakerphone option
- cannot be mounted on walls
- the numbers on the buttons are fairly small and might be difficult to distinguish for seniors
- landline (does not offer much mobility)
- does not come with speed dial option
7. Panasonic KX-TG6592T 2-Handsets Cordless Phone
Using innovative DECT 6.0 Plus technology, this Panasonic model guarantees superior voice quality, as well as high security and low power consumption. It provides an increased frequency of error correction of up to 8 times more than with standard DEC. In addition, it features a quality speakerphone with enhanced clarity and a mute microphone option that’s easy to access. The simple and intuitive interface allows you to save time by quickly switching between voice messages, without having to wait until each one is finished. The handset ringers have 8 melodies available and the volume control includes 6 different levels, but also an off option to avoid any disturbances during sleep.
Caller ID and hearing aid compatible, this cordless telephone comes with an all-digital answering machine. The latter means that, unlike traditional answering systems, this machine knows exactly when it reaches the end of the transmission. This allows it to correct any errors that may have cropped up during the data transfer. The result is more call clarity – your loved one will get crisp sound and distortion-free conversations.
The telephone’s digital answering machine can record voice messages of up to 40 minutes. These can also be accessed from an external phone through the special remote playback mode. The item is expandable to up to 6 handsets, meaning that you can have a phone in every room for added security and comfort.
This Panasonic Cordless Phone is a smart decision if you’re interested in convenience above everything else. The model was designed specifically to offer several features that make it easier to use and highly accessible to seniors. It has an LCD with big buttons and an oversized, illuminated keypad, visual notification for incoming calls and clear charger and signal indicators.
It is also wall-mountable, affordable and comes with a key lock that prevents accidental dial. The latter is very useful for seniors with impaired eyesight. It also features redial memory that remembers up to 20 numbers from the call history, and an alarm clock with date and time display.
- DECT 6.0 Plus technology for increased clarity and security
- easy to navigate interface
- all-digital answering machine (records up to 40 minutes in length)
- incoming call barring (blocks up to 30 numbers)
- call log entries include 50 slots
- phonebook capacity of up to 100 contacts
- eco mode that reduces power consumption by 77% (if the phone is not being used)
- enlarged backlit screen and display that features multiple languages
- short charging time: only 7 hours
- volume boost resets to minimum after each call ends
- lightweight handset that can easily be knocked off
- instruction manual is difficult to understand and set up can be quite laborious (especially if you want to use all or most of the phone’s features)
- additional handsets need to be purchased individually (and are not compatible with older Panasonic handsets)
8. AT&T 2-Handset Expandable Cordless Phone
This AT&T cordless telephone is one of the most popular models on the market, known primarily for its excellent call quality and speakerphone abilities. The sound is just as clear as that of a corded phone, and the range is good as well (it works smoothly even 40 feet away from the base unit). In addition to being hearing aid compatible, the item is useful for seniors who also suffer from poor eyesight. It has an extra-large display and the cordless handset includes an LCD with black text on white background. The contrast makes it easier to distinguish numbers and names, ensuring that your loved one can quickly give you a call without too much trouble. Moreover, the phone has big buttons and font with enlarged backlit keys, as well as a convenient lighted keypad that makes it simple to dial during the night.
The main feature that makes this model unique is a full-duplex speakerphone. Unlike conventional speakerphones, which have to block out the speaker when the microphone is activated, this type of speakerphone allows you and the caller to talk at the same time. Both parties can enjoy conversations that sound natural and free-flowing, without any interruptions and echo effect. The DECT 6.0 technology and hearing aid compatibility also guarantee higher call clarity.
Additionally, there is a speed dial option that saves up to 9 numbers, but also intelligent technology that ensures optimal battery performance and reduced power consumption.
There is a significant drawback to this model – some users report a short time talk for the battery pack. This means that it is not a good choice if your family member has long phone conversations. A solution to this would be to replace the battery pack with one that has a higher capacity. On the plus side, the digital answering machine can record up to 14 minutes of incoming messages and has a feature for instant playback.
The handset (as well as the base unit) allows you to repeat or skip through messages. You can also save them for later use or permanently delete them. The telephone features caller ID and history – the handset will display the number and name, but also the time and date of every incoming call.
- full-duplex speakerphone and DECT 6.0 technology
- highly visible display and accessible menu
- expandable to 5 handsets that use only one jack
- voice messages can be accessed from any location by dialing home
- features a quiet mode for night time
- redial available for the last 10 numbers
- phonebook capacity of up to 50 contacts
- features eco mode and caller ID
- no Bluetooth compatibility
- cannot add extra handsets to the system
- battery life is fairly short (lasts up to 3 days if the phone is not used)
- internal clock has to be reset in case of a power outage
- cannot set a custom ringtone for different callers
- the base units are made of plastic, lightweight and very easy to knock over
9. Panasonic Amplified Cordless Phone with Enhanced Noise Reduction
This single-line product features a straightforward design that is easy to use. It does not come with as many perks as other newer models, but it offers a strong and secure connection, as well as excellent sound clarity. The user-friendly cordless phone has improved transmission quality and range. It also features a DECT 6.0 system for better security and increased the frequency of error correction (up to 80 times more than standard models). The reason it is a reliable option is that it uses new noise reduction technology. The latter completely cuts off background noise but also enhances your voice to ensure crisp, quality sound and clear communication.
In addition to sound amplification and noise reduction, this Panasonic model is also useful for seniors with sight impairment. It has a 1.8-inch backlit display with bulky keys that make it easier to dial even if your loved one cannot see very well. Moreover, it features texting talk alerts – if there is an incoming call to your linked smartphone or cell phone, the handset will notify you and mention the name and number through an advanced text-to-speech function. The talking caller ID specifies exactly who is calling you each time and has a high enough volume that you can easily hear it from another room.
There are a few disadvantages to this model since it is a landline phone. However, the item does come with a call blocking feature that can be used to restrict contact from pesky telemarketers. The full package includes a handy bonus: a key detector that your loved one can attach to their car key ring. The phone’s handset will activate a beeping alarm to locate objects within a 200-yard radius, helping them find lost objects.
- enhanced noise reduction and talking caller ID
- DECT 6.0 technology for extra security, call quality and wide range
- intelligent design for reduced power consumption and prolonged battery life
- handset features built-in jack that allows headset use
- strong backup battery for use during power outages
- low cost
- the caller ID system only shows missed calls (not all calls)
- the electrical cord is short (only 5 feet)
- some users report the menu is difficult to navigate and may be confusing to seniors
- there is no mute button (you have to go through the menu to turn off the ring sound)
- instruction manual could be improved (set up section is unclear and may be hard to follow)
10. VTech 2-Handset Expandable Cordless Phone
This cordless telephone from VTech is a reliable choice if your priority is functionality. Although it lacks in certain features that you will easily find in other models, the item offers a high-quality alternative at an affordable price. It includes a full-duplex speakerphone that allows both call parties to talk at the same time without any interruptions. It is Energy Star Certified, which ensures that the product meets strict energy efficiency specifications developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In other words, the phone has guaranteed high performance, but with limited power consumption. It is also part of VTech’s innovative interference-free units. This means that using the phone does not interfere with other devices or networks, but still provides superior call clarity. Even if the room is full of electronics, there will not be any buzz sounds, static or strange disturbances that may interrupt the conversation.
The telephone has a wide range and provides excellent coverage without hindering your Wi-Fi service. It has increased visibility and enlarged buttons that light up every time the receiver is picked up. There is also a quiet mode (available both for the base unit and handset) that turns off any ringing sound to avoid waking your loved one up during the night. It also features a flash button, intercom and mute option. Using redial memory, your family member can retrieve the last 10 numbers that have made contact. For added convenience, the handset also displays the name, number, date and time of each incoming call. However, there is no audio notification.
VTech’s product is low-cost and customizable. It is the least expensive hearing impaired telephone on the market and has multiple ringtones to choose from. The handset is very comfortable to hold and has an intuitive layout. But any additional handset must be programmed to the base unit before use. The phone allows the speed dial of up to 9 numbers. However, in order to use the function, you have to hold the assigned button for about 5 to 6 seconds to make the call. This is quite inconvenient and slow.
Another disadvantage is that picking up the handset from the base unit does not answer the call. You will still have to push the talk button, which can become quite troublesome over time. Some users also report that the menu is confusing and hard to navigate. For instance, you can store phone numbers but it takes around 7 steps (button presses) to retrieve one. This means that a lot of this model’s features have poor implementation. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a reliable phone with clear sound and basic functions, this is the most budget-friendly option you have.
- DECT 6.0 technology for superior sound quality and increased range
- features volume control and quiet mode
- expandable to 5 handsets
- does not interfere with WiFi and other devices
- phonebook capacity of up to 50 contacts
- wall-mountable and economical
- features eco mode for reduced power consumption
- caller ID history that remembers up to 50 names and numbers
- no visual (blinking light) notification for incoming calls
- the eco mode slows down the display significantly
- certain features are poorly implemented and inconvenient
- cannot use the speakerphone while the handset is in the cradle
- smaller display with less lighting that extinguishes quickly
- does not feature an answering machine
- does not have a headset jack