Nowadays, communication is one of the most important things for every people. Everyone has a right to have easy access to communication. No exception to people with specific needs such as people with hearing problems. That is why the government provides Telecommunication Equipment Distribution Program (TEDP). This program is valid in several states which include California. The purpose of this program is to help people who are in need and with hearing issues to improve their access to use the phone. As we know, most of the people with hearing problems are seniors people. So, this article should help you out to find the best free phones for hard hearing seniors in California.
Telecommunication Equipment Distribution Program (TEDP)
The government offers a program called Telecommunication Equipment Distribution Program (TEDP). This program provides free or low-cost specialized telephone equipment. The equipment is only for qualified individuals with specific needs. As mentioned before, everyone has a right to get easy access to communication, especially the access for using a phone. Unfortunately, some people don’t have this privilege due to their specific needs. One example of the specific needs is hearing loss. Hearing loss may be caused by some causes.
It can an accident or is related to age. People with difficulties in hearing tend to have many difficulties with a phone. A phone is very useful and it is a basic communication tool that people used daily. Comparing to the text message or email, communication by phone is more real-time.
The main purpose of this program is to help people with hearing loss improve their access to the phone. It is very beneficial, especially for seniors with hard hearing. They can stay connected with family, friends, and also for emergency services. Most of the states in America provide this program. Except for 5 states such as New York, Michigan, Idaho, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. In California, this program is called the deaf and disabled telecommunication Program (DDTP). But you have to be qualified to be in these programs.
How do we know if we are qualified?
Before applying for the program in California, you have to make sure that you are eligible. The first requirement is you have to live in California or California citizen. The second is you have to have a telephone service. The majority of this program equipment only functions with a landline. So you must have access to either cell phone or landline services. The third is you have to be certified as having hearing disabilities. You can get certified by getting a signed form from the authorized certifying agent. This certifying agent will verify your eligibility for a specialized phone. For hard hearing, you can get signed by one of the following certifying agents:
- Licensed Medical Doctor;
- Licensed Physician Assistant;
- Licensed Nurse Practitioner;
- Department of Rehabilitation Counselor [VRC, RCB, or RCD];
- Licensed Audiologist;
- The superintendent or school audiologist at the California School for the Deaf. Located in Riverside and Fremont; and
- Licensed Hearing Aid Dispenser.
If you’re not able to qualify through one of these programs, consider getting a free phone for seniors with Medicare instead.
3 Easy Steps to Apply
If you tick one of the boxes on the eligibilities list, you can apply for this program. There are 3 easy steps to apply for the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunication Program (DDTP). Check the following steps:
Fill in Section 1 of the certification form
The certification form is available online. You can download the form from the DDTP’s official website. Print the form and fill it with your data. The form is available in 6 languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Hmong, and Vietnamese. You can also request the certification form in your desired language by mail. Send it to the State of California CTAP Contact Center at P.O. Box 30310 in Stockton, CA 95213. You may also call these numbers:
- English: 1-800-806-1191
- Spanish: 1-800-949-5650
- Russian: 1-855-546-7500
- Vietnamese: 1-855-247-0106
- Hmong: 1-866-880-3394
- Chinese: 1-866-324-8747
Complete the Section 2 form by Contacting your Doctor
To fill the section 2 of the certification form, you need to get the signature of your doctor. It is to verify your hard hearing disability. You can’t continue to the next process if you are not completing section 2 of the form.
Send your complete certification form
After completing the certification form, you may send your form by fax or mail. You can send or drop it off to the States of California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) contact center.
Once you are approved, you will get a letter or a call from the CTAP contact center. It will instruct you on the things you have to do next. Then you will able to choose the best equipment that meets your needs. California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) provides many types of equipment. It will take a lot of time if you do some research about it one-by-one. This equipment is also loaned for you as long as you need it. So make sure that you will get the best equipment. To help you out with the selection, here are the 5 best free phones for hard hearing seniors in California.
5 Best Free Phones For Hard hearing Seniors in California
There are several types of free phones that CTAP provides. For the hard hearing seniors, these 2 types of phones are the best. As we know, hard hearing seniors need a phone with louder sounds. So, an amplified phone is one of the things they need, because it allows the user to increase the incoming sound. There is also captioning phone. This phone provides real-time word-to-word caption on the screen to the user. So if they can’t hear the words properly, they can read the caption. Here are some best free phones for hard hearing seniors in California that you shouldn’t miss.
Clarity XLC3.4 is a very reputable brand and a big player in the market. This type is one of the best-amplified phones. Powered by a dual battery, it stays full even when the power is out. This phone has 4 tones setting that can be customized. It allows users to have more listening options. Included with this phone is an extra 95dB loud ringer.
The hard hearing seniors will never miss the call. It amplifies the incoming sound for up to 50dB. It ensures that hard hearing seniors can the conversation over the phone. This is a cordless phone. It can be handy but also tricky especially for forgetful seniors. But overall, this type of phone is worth to be considered.
Clarity JV 35
One more specialized phone from Clarity. This one is also an amplified phone, but it comes with a cord. This Clarity JV 35 phone amplifies incoming sound for up to 50dB with more clear sound. It provides extra big buttons with braille dots on them. So it is ideal for hard hearing seniors with low vision. There is also a visual ring indicator that will light up every time the phone ring. The phone is also provided with an adjustable volume and tone control.
It has an electronic voice that repeats the number that the user dialed. So it will decrease the chance of dialing a wrong number. This phone is also compatible with hard hearing seniors who use a hearing aid.
This one is an amplified phone that provides loudspeaker mode. It will be helpful for seniors that unable to hold the phone for a long time. Besides, it provides a screen that displays the caller ID. It may help seniors if they want to avoid certain caller. This phone comes with 1-inch large buttons and 3 emergency buttons. It may be used fully when an emergency happens. There are also 8 memory dials button on the side of the phone.
This feature might be confusing for users who do not get used to it. Because it offers too many buttons and can be hard to remember. But this phone is compatible with a hearing aid, bed shaker, and headset accessories.
With the modern design, this phone lights up the room. Based on their tagline “easy to see, easy to use”, it comes with many features. It has bright LED visual ringers on the base units and the handset. So it will clearly show when the phone is ringing. The ringer tone can be adjustable for up to 100dB.
The voice amplification is up to 40 dB. One of the great features is the “slow talk”. With one button, it can automatically slow the speech of the caller. It also can be used for voice messages. But their size buttons are not the best feature. The buttons are quite small comparing with other specialized phones.
Captioned Telephone (CapTel) 840 Plus
The last one is a captioning phone. It looks like an ordinary phone but comes with a screen on top of it. This screen will display the words that the caller says. It can help hard hearing seniors if they have a problem hearing the conversation. They can read the written caption to know what the caller is talking about. Although not as high as the amplified phone, this phone also boasts an incoming sound of up to 35dB. It also has an adjustable tone and volume control. Despite the clear screen, there is one issue with it. Some users may find that the words on the screen are not big enough.
The government provides a program that gives free or low-cost specialized telephone. This program is for people with specific needs, such as hearing difficulties. Most of the states provide this program, one of them is California. There are many types of phone that California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) provide. But since there is no trial time, it is better to pick one of these 5 best free phones for hard hearing seniors in California. The first phone is Clarity XLC3.4 with a dual battery and comes in cordless. Then, we have JV 35 with an extra-large button and an electronic voice repeater. Next is Geemarc ampli500 that comes with a caller ID display and 3 emergency buttons.
Another amplified phone is Panasonic KX-TGM430BC cordless phone. This phone has a modern design and has a “slow talk” feature. This feature can automatically slow the speech of the caller. The last one is Captioned Telephone 840 Plus. It comes with a screen that displays the caller’s words. All these phones are highly recommended for hard hearing seniors in California. It’s suitable for what hard hearing seniors need. If you don’t find the one you like, check out our article on best free cell phone for seniors and disabled next.