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Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative

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AT Messenger Logo - Bringing Technology to You

Volume 20, No. 1 - Winter 2012

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A CapTel phone.CapTel Captioned Telephone

Karen Latimer
Assistive Technology Specialist
DATI, Center for Disabilities Studies, University of Delaware

If you are hard-of-hearing and live in Delaware, you could be eligible for a FREE captioned telephone. There are phones that work with both analog and digital services, and they all provide both amplification and captions to individuals with hearing loss. You must have a form signed by a qualifying practitioner (doctor, audiologist or vocational rehabilitation specialist) and may have to show proof of income to qualify. There are no additional fees added to your telephone service, but you are still required to pay for your phone service and your long distance charges.

The CapTel works through the Delaware Relay Service, a federally mandated service that pays for a variety of telephone communication services. Basically, the telephone calls a toll-free number that is answered by a human “communication assistant” who will act as a captioner for the call. The captioner is only able to hear the side of the conversation that she is captioning. Your voice goes through the phone to the person you are calling as it normally would. When an individual wants to call your home telephone through the relay service, they will call the toll-free number first, and then enter your home number in order to access the captioner. There is a small delay between what you hear on the phone and what you see on the captions, similar to television captioning. It can take some time and practice to get used to!

We encourage you to borrow a phone from your local DATI office and spend some time deciding if it is the best fit for you before applying for the program or purchasing the phone. For more information, contact us the Delaware Relay Service at: http://www.delawarerelay.com/captel/

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