May 2021 Center for Hearing and Communication

Assistive alerting devices are designed to react to alarm situations and are used to let a deaf or hard of hearing person know that some condition is occurring (such as smoke alarm, door bell or baby crying).

devices insideoutphone apps

Smart Technology and Your Hearing Aids

Many aids are now equipped with sophisticated software designed to:

  • Reduce background noise and enhance speech sounds
  • Use Bluetooth technology to pair or connect wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet, or TV
  • Greatly improve the sound quality of a phone call, video, or movie

Apps for Your Computer

  • Use Live Caption now available in Chrome
  • Use a Web-Based Speech-Recognition Tool e.g. Web Captioner and
  • Enable Zoom's captioning option 
  • Use a speech recognition app on your Smartphone in conjunction with your computer
  • Hire a Remote Live Captioner
    Follow the link to get tips on making videoconferencing more hearing loss friendly
  • InnoCaption, captions for free smartphone calls made anywhere at any time in the U.S. This means the person utilising this service can both listen to the spoken language on the call and read it displayed on the digital screen of the smartphone in real-time, wherever you are, at home or on-the-go.

Speech to Text Apps

  •  We love Speech to text apps as it allows people to read what people are saying over the phone. Below are a few of our favourite.
  • Google Live Transcribe
  • Ava
  • Microsoft translator
  • Otter 

speech to textOffice

  • Amplified ring, flashing light, vibration alert for the phone
  • Captioning apps
  • Listening devices


  • Amplified ring, flashing light, vibration alert for the phone
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors specifically for hard of hearing/ deaf people
  • Alarm clock, timer, and watch


  • Extra loud doorbells
  • Some doorbells and intercoms make a sound, flash a strobe light or lamp when pushed
  • Listening devices (ALD)

Entertainment area

  • Amplified ring, flashing light, vibration alert for the phone
  • Captioning apps
  • Listening devices
  • Wireless transmitters that sync your TV to your aids

Telephone Options 

 Communication on the telephone may be difficult for individuals who are deaf

or hard of hearing for varying reasons. The issues may be volume or tonal or a

combination of both. For those that use a hearing aid, it is important to consider

hearing aid compatibility. 

The telephone is “hearing aid compatible”

This means that the earpiece of the phone emits a magnetic field. If a hearing aid is equipped with a telephone coil or “T-coil,” this coil is able to respond to the magnetic field, allowing the hearing aid to pick up and amplify the voice from the phone directly. This also blocks surrounding sounds while the individual uses the telephone. The T-coil feature may also be used with a variety of Assistive Listening Devices.

compatible phoneFree Telephone Program- FL

 The CHC- FL office is able to offer a free amplified telephone to qualifying residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind (visually impaired), or speech impaired. Phones are provided by Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc.

Spanish and English Relay 

A person who is deaf or hard of hearing can use a TTY to type their message, which is read aloud to the other caller by a relay operator. The operator types the spoken message of the hearing caller to the TTY user. English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English translations are also available for TTY Relay customers.

Video Relay

Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) enables deaf or hard of hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment.

Free Telephone Program- US

 CapTel and CaptionCall are two excellent captioned phones that we recommend to our clients who have difficulty hearing when they’re on a standard phone. They are east to use and display captions quickly and with surprising accuracy. Both phones are available at no cost (must order through CHC audiologist or hearing specialist) 

Amplified Phones

There are many amplified telephones on the market from corded phones to cordless phones, speakerphones, and phones with answering machines and most have features such as volume and tone control, flashing light and loud ring, and pattern of ring variations, and memory and emergency one-touch buttons. 

Captioned Phones

This type of phone works like any other telephone but also displays each word the caller says throughout the conversation.

Devices for Outside the Home

Classroom, meeting room, or lecture hall

The most common type of wireless device used in a classroom setting is an FM radio transmitter and receiver. With an FM, the speaker wears a small transmitter with a microphone. The listener wears a small receiver that may be used with headphones or with hearing aids via a neckloop. This enables the speaker and listener to move freely without wires between them. Conference microphones are also available designed to be put in the middle of a table and pick up the voices of several people at the same time.

fm systemFor the teacher

FM system to amplify teacher's voice

For the student

Boots on aids that amplify noise from the FM system

Theatre, Cinema, or House of Worship

The types of transmission used in a wide area system are FM radio transmission,

infrared transmission, and magnetic induction. All three systems transmit the

sound signal which is received by individuals in the audience who are wearing

special receivers that provide amplification. Please note that these different types

of receivers are not interchangeable and can only be used for the particular type

of system for which they have been designed.

Noisy environment

Most hearing aid users have a difficult time understanding conversation when in a noisy environment. There are a few ways of dealing with noisy situations. Some hearing aid users are able to plug an extra microphone into their hearing aid(s) or use a personal communicator also known as a personal listener. These are small microphone/amplifier combinations, which can be used with a variety of headsets or with a neck loop in conjunction with hearing aids.

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Here is a link to Deafblindness support and information.
They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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Vision Statement: “For all young people who are deaf to reach their potential in life.”

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