What is assistive telephone equipment?
Assistive telephone equipment is made available to individuals with disability-related needs. This equipment includes voice activated, touch activated, large number keypad, amplified and TTY equipment for those with hearing loss.
DRA is an approved testing site in Jefferson County. We have samples of many of the choices of assistive telephone equipment. You can make an appointment to come try out different phones to find the one that best suits your needs.
What are the different types of assistive telephone technology?
Amplified Ringers: Various types of ringers can be attached to a telephone line to inform a person who is hard of hearing that the telephone is ringing.
Amplified Telephone: Numerous telephones have built-in amplifiers that vary in range from 25 to 55 decibels. Many of these telephones have variable tone selectors and loud ringers.
Portable Phone Amplifier: A lightweight battery-operated device with an adjustable volume control that fits over the listening end of the handset.
TTY (sometimes referred to as TDD): Has a keyboard with a visual display screen that allows people to communicate with each other over the telephone lines by typing and reading their conversations. With appropriate software and equipment, computers can function as TTYs. Portable and wireless TTYs are also available.
Video Phone: A telephone with a video screen which is very useful for those who use sign language to communicate. Using video phones, two people who know sign language can communicate directly with each other, or a person who is deaf and knows sign language can call a non-signing person through the video relay service (VRS). An interpreter at VRS facilitates communication between the person who uses sign language and the person who does not use sign language. Many people are using video phone technology rather than a TTY.
Voice Carry Over (VCO) Telephone: For people who are unable to hear over the telephone but prefer to use their voice to communicate. VCO telephone calls must be made through a relay service. This connection allows the person with the hearing loss to speak to the other party and read their incoming message on the telephone’s display screen. There is also a portable VCO device, which can be attached to cell phones, pay phones, or cordless phones.
CapTel: For people who are unable to hear over the telephone but prefer to use their voice to communicate. CapTel calls also must be made through a relay service. This connection allows the person with the hearing loss to speak to the other party and read their incoming message on the telephone’s display screen. Today, many people are using CapTel rather than VCO telephones.
How much does this service cost?
This service is provided free of charge.
The TAP Program through the State of Missouri also covers the cost of the phone/device for those who qualify.
Because grant funds only cover a portion of the cost to actually provide these services, donations are always welcome to allow DRA to provide this service for all who need it.
Who qualifies for a free TAP phone?
To qualify for a TAP phone, an individual must reside in the State of MO and have an annual income of less than $60,000. Some of the devices on the program require documentation of need from a doctor.
How do I sign up to use this technology?
DRA staff can help set-up and train consumers on how to best use and become comfortable with assistive telephone equipment. Call DRA for an appointment today at (636) 931-7696. Or fill out this Program Request Form today.