Great news for the hearing impaired

By | March 28, 2013

Hearing impaired Kiwis can now use a caption-based telephone service that will allow them to easily take part in a telephone conversation at almost the same speed as ordinary conversations. Captions are generated and transmitted almost simultaneously over the internet, with a delay of around two seconds.

First introduced in the USA, the service has been available in this country since the beginning of March. Using a special Captel phone, the hearing impaired can now talk to someone and then read (on a small screen on the phone itself) word-for-word captions of the other person’s response.

The service is available every day between 8am and 9pm.

A Captel phone is available for a one-off loan fee of $323, a 50% discount off the full price; it’s subsidised by the government. The phone remains the property of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. There’s no cost for users to operate the Captel service.

To find out more, go to

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