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Assistive Devices for People with Hearing Loss

Many devices that are designed to make life easier for individuals with a hearing loss are on the market today.

A state law established the KCDHH Telecommunications Access Program (TAP), to offer amplified phones, TTYs, Voice Carry-Over Phones, wireless devices, CapTel phones, speech aids and other equipment free of charge to assist deaf and hard of hearing Kentucky residents with communication.

If you are interested in purchasing assistive technology, many providers (Accessible PDF) of such equipment are available. KCDHH is not allowed to distribute vendor catalogs, so you may want to contact vendors and ask them to mail you their current catalog. The inclusion or omission of a vendor name on this list does not constitute and endorsement by KCDHH of that vendor.

Phone and Light Flasher.

Alerting Devices/Systems

The various alerting and alarm systems include: doorbell alerting systems, telephone signaling systems, smoke alarms, security alarms, wake-up alarms, baby-cry alarms and paging devices. These devices use flashing lights or a small vibrating device instead of ringing bells and chimes.

FM System

Assistive Listening Devices

In a classroom or meeting room, a hard of hearing person, even with a powerful hearing aid, may have difficulty understanding the voice of the speaker. A number of electronic systems can help overcome this problem by bringing the speaker closer to the ears of the hard-of-hearing person, and by eliminating some of the background noise. Each system has a transmitter which sends the signals, and a receiver which picks up those signals and delivers them at increased sound levels into the ears of the hard of hearing persons, wherever he or she may be sitting.

Amplified handset

Amplified Handsets

Telephone handsets may be wired with an amplification device including a volume control. It may be used with or without a hearing aid. Some phones are compatible with a hearing aid telecoil switch (T-Switch). The telecoil picks up the signals from the telephone earpiece and transmits them to the amplifier.

Silhouette of woman with a laptop.

Computer Assisted Notetaking

CAN is the process of projecting the typed words of the speaker on a computer monitor or on a screen through an overhead projector. The typist uses the computer keyboard to type the dialogue in a meeting, conference or other event. C-Print is also another type of method used for note taking.


Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD or TTY)

Permits conversation in text instead of voice. A caller may communicate over regular phone lines with another TTY user or through the relay service. A TTY has a typewriter keyboard and the typed conversation appears either in a readout displayed on a panel or printed on paper, or both. TTYs are available for those who do not have access to high speed internet.

Various wireless devices.

Wireless Devices

Cellphones allow callers to use text messaging and a variety of applications to help reduce communication barriers in the hearing community. The Telecommunication Access Program (TAP) provide wireless communication device to residents of Kentucky who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Silhouette of a man conversing with a video relay operator on a videophone device.

VRS Videophones

Videophones, accessed through high speed internet, are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals that use American Sign Language to communicate. Videophones allow for direct calls to another videophone or through an interpreter via a Video Relay Service.