How a captioned telephone changed the life of retired Air Force veteran, Kraig Ankiewicz.
Kraig Ankiewicz is a retired Air Force veteran and a married father who suffered a life-changing head concussion three years into his military career. In a video sponsored by our partner, Sprint CapTel, Ankiewicz explains that his injury caused hearing loss, making it difficult to communicate with family and friends, especially over the telephone.
“I couldn’t speak to my friends and family, and relied on my wife and children, “Ankiewicz explained. His daughter, Myah, recalls his frustration and worry over talking to people. “He was the main person at the house and he didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Ankiewicz’s experience is not uncommon. Let’s take a closer look at the prevalence and causes of service-related hearing loss in veterans, and how captioned telephones can help.
Hearing loss is one of the most common service-related injury affecting veterans. In fact, the VA reports that 190,000 veterans were diagnosed with service-related tinnitus and 103,000 were diagnosed with hearing loss in 2016. And in a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, researchers found that soldiers with combat experience have a 63% increased risk for hearing loss.
The cause of service-related hearing loss among veterans can stem from a traumatic head injury during combat, like Ankiewicz, or exposure to loud and persistent noises, including gunfire, bombs and blasts, aircraft, tanks, and other military equipment. Active soldiers and veterans may experience hearing loss symptoms right away or not until several years after their injury or exposure.
How captioned telephones can help
Captioned telephones are tools that people with hearing loss can use to connect over the phone. Available in several models with varying features, these hearing loss-friendly devices work like any other phone, except they also show captions of everything the caller says.
For the Ankiewicz family, the impact of a Sprint CapTel phone made a big difference. “I am able to hear the voices of my friends and family members on the phone. I am not just seeing a few words here and there. I am filling in the gaps,” Ankiewicz explained.
One of the first phone calls this veteran with hearing loss made was to an old friend from a previous assignment. When his friend answered, he was surprised and excited to hear Ankiewicz’s voice.
Ankiewicz’s daughter, Myah, is thrilled that her father can communicate better. “When I’m at school and need something that I forgot like my lunchbox, for instance, I can call him, and he’ll know what to say,” she said.
Veterans with hearing loss are eligible to receive a CapTel captioned telephone at no cost with a signed certification from their Veterans Service Officer or audiologist. Learn more here.
Every veteran with hearing loss has a uniquely personal story. If you or someone you care about has difficulty hearing over the phone, visit our website to learn more about how CapTel captioned telephones can help.