Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Phone captions for deaf and hard of hearing people.

phone captions deaf and hard of hearing people
Phone captions versus Texting ? Both ? Do you find the phone difficult or frustrating to use? Your feedback is needed for a UK-wide survey on phone captions for deaf and hard of hearing people.


Historically, phone captions in the UK have been provided by Action on Hearing Loss via TypeTalk, then Text Relay and Next Generation Text Relay service (NGTS). 

The Next Generation Text Relay service allows people who are deaf and speech impaired make phone calls via a trained operator who types what they hear or speaks what the caller types to the called party. The text output is streamed through to a smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop. The deaf person can use voice over, they can speak during the call and listen, and read the captions at the same time.

A few years ago, CapTel for telephones (then WebCapTel for computers and smartphones) was introduced to the UK but was withdrawn due to lack of funding. One of CapTel’s and WebCapTel’s first users was Tina Lannin, who worked as the Finance Manager for Hearing Concern (now Hearing Link). Tina’s job entailed daily phone calls to payroll and clients, discussing numbers over the phone, so the captioned telephony service had to be very accurate.

I loved CapTel. It was so fast and accurate that no one even realised I was almost totally deaf and was relying on reading the captions appearing on my telephone screen.

We look at the USA and their captioned telephony services with envy. They have so much more choice than we do. UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD) are carrying out a survey to find out about your experiences of telephone communications in the UK, and whether they can be improved or if you are happy with them.