Phones For The Elderly
‘My dad is getting on a bit, and we rely on the phone to make sure he is ok, but he is struggling to hear me. He won’t get a hearing aid, and I cant go on “speaking up” down the line, so I’m looking for some help with what to get for him’ It seems there are many people looking for solutions to making communication with their older relatives a little bit easier. I deal with this type of query on a daily basis, and have complete empathy with the situation. Practically all my extended family live thousands of miles away at the bottom of Africa, and I’m sure the pangs of homesickness would be overwhelming if I wasn’t able to talk to them on the phone. When people are searching for ‘phones for the hard of hearing’ and end up contacting us, they often mention that it is difficult to know what to choose, particularly as they hadn’t realised how many options are out there. There are a few questions that we ask to try to guide the decision-making process: • Is a mobile phone or house phone required? • If it’s a house phone, should it be cordless or corded? • Is a built-in answering machine needed? • Almost all the amplified telephones we source are designed with big buttons, but we also ask whether it would be helpful to have preprogrammed one-press buttons to call emergency or often-called numbers? These pre-programmed buttons can be different colours, or numbered 1-3 or even have space for photos of particular people to be inserted into a space on the button. (e,g, Photophone 100 or PowerTel 48) Although ‘amplified’ does of course imply more volume, how much amplification to get can be equally confusing. All the phones state how many ‘dB’ they offer. This is all very well, but feature statements such as ‘up to 15dB,’ ‘up to 30dB’ or ‘up to 60dB!!!’ mean very little to many of our customers. Basically these numbers refer to how many extra decibels (dB) of sound can be added to the incoming voice on the phone call. By way of comparison, most standard telephones, if they offer some form of volume control, will usually only offer increases of around 8dB. Without going into too much technical detail; the decibel scale is a logarithmic one, meaning that as we add extra decibels, the resulting perception of the increase does not go up in a 1-1 relationship. So, although it may not necessarily sound like a big number, a phone with extra amplification of 60dB is suitable for use by someone with even a very severe hearing loss. The extra volume can be controlled on all the phones by a volume control, so that even if a highly amplified telephone was purchased, individuals within the same household without hearing loss can still use the same handset. Once people have come to a decision about what to purchase, some may still worry ‘about what to do if mum or dad wont end up using the phone….’ Having a 30 day money back guarantee is instantly reassuring, as the phone can be tried out in their loved one’s home with no added pressure. Nothing to lose, but hopefully many conversations to gain.