These revolutionary phones help people with hearing impairments

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Relay Utah is a state program managed by the Public Service Commission that was created to help provide the hard of hearing, and deaf, in our state with hearing assistive phones and technology for cell phones to help them communicate and regain their independence. It is a vital program because as of 2019, Utah is home to more than 290,000 individuals that are hard of hearing or deaf. That’s about 1 in 10 people who have some level of hearing loss.

One thing we don’t think about with hearing loss is the isolation from friends, family and loss of independence of calling to make a dinner reservation, doctor appointment or order a pizza. Relay Utah provides hearing assistive phones to help the hard of hearing communicate and regain this independence and connection.

Jodi Goodenough, Telecommunication Relay Specialist, is not only a hearing specialist, but is also hard of hearing herslef. She said she lost her hearing as a child went completely deaf. She has a cochlear implant to help me hear now.

“I understand the struggle with trying to maintain independence and the phones have been a great help. I use the CapTel captioning phone. I can hear what is being said while also reading the captioned text on the screen,” says Jodi.

Relay Utah offers the Captel phone as well as a brand new phone that amplifies speech and it’s the first of its kind that is able to slow down live speech. Another awesome feature of the amplified phones is that it doesn’t just make things louder. Louder isn’t always the problem. It has tone control that allows you to adjust how the caller’s tone of voice sounds. Example a Female vs. a Male. You can easily adjust the high tones and low tones making it easier to understand the caller.

Relay Utah has a demo center in Salt Lake City where you can come in and meet with Jodi Goodenough. You can try the different type of phones and find which one works best for your hearing needs.

The demo center is open by appointment Monday-Friday. Located at 168 N. 1950 W. Ste. 103 in Salt Lake City, call 801-715-3470 to schedule your appointment.

Relay Utah is free service. Hearing assistive phones are provided to any hard of hearing or deaf Utahn whose income qualifies. Most people who already qualify for public assistance programs are eligible. All the qualification information is on our website, RelayUtah.gov.

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