By Adan R. Penilla, Angela Lee Taylor

Making phone calls as a Deaf person is an interesting event. Some Deaf people use a videophone to see who they are conversing with while other Deaf people would rather talk to other people using a traditional telephone. The question is, how do Deaf people use a house phone/landline if they cannot hear?

Deafness comes at different levels. While some Deaf people have less residual hearing than other Deaf people, still others can hear clearer than others and may speak for themselves without an interpreter.

Nonetheless, there are phone devices that allow Deaf people to read what is being said by the other party and verbally enjoy phone conversation. What’s more, if you have a smartphone, you can download an app to receive phone captioning. Or you can purchase a home phone with call captioning or even enable this feature on your personal computer.

Call captioning allows a person to read what is being said. The subtitled conversation appears across the phone screen, enabling anyone to have uninterrupted conversation. Some phone devices will allow the caller to increase sound volume, store phone numbers, show previous calls, show who is calling, and speakerphone options to allow the caller to make lunch and still be engaged in chitchat.

For call captioning, there are two avenues: 1-line mode and 2-line mode. Either way, it is a simple process. If a person calling does not have captioning capability, they call an 800 phone number to reach a call center, and then they enter the phone number of whom they are calling. The call is connected and captioning may begin. The captioning is typed by a specially trained person. If both parties have captioning capability, this is a 2-line mode and a caller does not need to call a call center for captioning service.

There are many companies that act as providers for captioned calls. Make sure that whichever company you choose is registered with the FCC, which means they follow standards of practice that ensure quality service and privacy.