Do you know how painful (difficult, frustrating, and intimidating) it is to tell someone that you can’t understand what they’re saying on the telephone? It’s not just humiliating: it’s a form of separation. Who wants to telephone someone when it’s going to be a one-way conversation?
I have quite a hearing loss in the low-medium range, and using a telephone is generally this side of a nightmare. Most of the aids I’ve had have been turned up so high (I do like to participate in
conversations!) that they whistle when my telephone ear gets within six inches of a phone. That might be a slight exaggeration. While visiting my hearing center last summer, I discovered that the State of Arizona has a program that loans assistive phones to qualifying residents.
Yesss! I contacted Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and asked about its distribution program (AzTEDP). Papers in hand, I went to downtown Phoenix and met my technician, Vicky. She helped me test several different types of phones, and we settled on the one that seems best. From there, I went to a distributor in Phoenix with my paperwork, and received a Clarity C420 phone that has a volume control and a “boost” feature. It also has Caller ID. Not only that, it has a nice loud ring, and part of the, um, antenna blinks when the phone rings. And the base unit has a large area that blinks red.
I keep it by my bedside at night and carry it around during the day. Yes, I still miss some words in a conversation, but it’s so much better than before. And my next aids may be compatible (in fact, not in advertising) with my other phones.
Why aren’t amplified phones advertised in more places? I know it sounds silly, but until recently, I didn’t know that I had any kind of a choice when it comes to phone. I’ve never seen an ad for an amplified phone in a newspaper or in magazines. I just bought phones with the highest gigahertz and was always frustrated at my inability to hear well. Until now.
Help me get the word out. Help is available. Surely Arizona can’t be the only state that helps people with hearing disabilities! To learn more about Arizona’s program, go to http://www.aztedp.org/index.asp