Cell Phones for People with Hearing Aids Compatibility can be challenging when using a cell phone. By fall 2005, each manufacturer of digital cell phones must have two products with sufficiently reduced Radio Frequency (“RF” - which typically causes a lot of interference with hearing aids). By fall 2006, each manufacturer must have two products that are compatible with the hearing aid's telecoil. This will improve things for hearing aid wearers. To find a phone with a built-in volume control that works for you, it is recommended that you go to a place that sells mobile phones and try them out. Add-on amplifiers Check with a vendor who specializes in selling products made for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to see what types of cell phone amplifiers are currently available. Some examples of devices that are available include: • Plantronics’ MHA100 amplifier that is used with a headset (www.plantronics.com) • Audex’s CHAAMP (www.audex.com/chaamp.html) • Nokia’s Loopset is for people who have a telecoil on their hearing aid, and • Nokia’s HDA-9 adapter allows people to use a TTY or VCO transmission with their cell phone (www.nokiaaccessibility.com) • Motorola’s Hands-Free Neckloop accessory is designed for people who wear telecoil-equipped hearing aids. Motorola also offers products that are TTY and VCO compatible (http://commerce.motorola.com/consumer/QWhtml/accessibility/features.html ). There are a number of different features that may make it easier for hearing aid users to use a digital wireless phone. These features may include, but are not limited to: • “Clam shell" or "flip up" design which contains only the speaker component of the phone (this is really important for telecoil users) • Ability to turn the backlight off • Vibrating alert for incoming calls • Selectable ringer tones – different frequencies or patterns may be easier to hear • T-coil coupling • Limited or no interference between the hearing aid and wireless phone • Short messaging service (SMS) • Increased volume control • Headset • Compatibility with a neckloop. continued Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division 651-431-2351 (V) • 888-206-6501 (TTY) • 651- 431-7417 FAX • www.dhhsd.org Transmission Technology Anecdotal reports from hearing aid users, clinical experience and research evidence shows that CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and iDEN (High Speed Circuit Switched Data) transmission technologies seem to work better (although not necessarily interference free) than GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) transmission technology. Carriers using CDMA technology are Verizon Wireless & Sprint PCS. Nextel uses iDEN technology. Additional information www.accesswireless.org - Access Wireless is a source for the latest developments in the wireless industry's efforts to expand services and improve products for people with disabilities. http://tap.gallaudet.edu/ - Gallaudet University's Technology Access Program (TAP) is a research group focusing on technologies and services that eliminate communication barriers traditionally faced by deaf and hard of hearing people This information is available in other forms to people with disabilities by calling 651-431-2351 voice, 888-206-6501 tt; for speech-to-speech telephone re-voice services, call 1-877-627-3848.
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