Discover interesting tidbits about the history and technology behind these life-changing devices.

To our readers: While the term “hearing impaired” is not a preferred reference in the hearing loss community or our company culture, you will find a few mentions in this article to help those using it in their online search access this information. We assure you that our limited usage in this piece does not reflect our values, views, or conduct. Respectfully, The CapTel Team

The first hearing impaired telephone was developed in 1960.If you’re considering a telephone for hearing loss, you may be surprised to learn that the very first model emerged nearly 60 years ago! In this post, we’re covering more on this truism and other interesting facts about hearing impaired telephones. From their historical roots to the technology behind them, here are five tidbits you may be curious to know:

  1. The first hearing impaired telephone was the teletypewriter (TTY)
  2. CapTel developed the revolutionary captioning technology for telephones
  3. Captioned telephones can be used with or without an internet connection
  4. There is no cost to the user to use the captioning service
  5. Captioned telephones can benefit people with any degree of hearing loss

Keep reading to learn more about these facts about hearing loss telephones.

Fact #1: The first hearing impaired telephone was the teletypewriter (TTY)
The first teletypewriter modem was developed in 1960 by scientist Robert Weitbrecht, who experienced hearing loss himself.  An avid ham radio enthusiast, Dr. Weitbrecht invented the modem to communicate with a close friend who was also deaf. His invention worked with large telegraph equipment that allowed people to type messages back and forth, rather than talking and listening. By 1990, Ultratec (which also invented CapTel), began producing smaller, portable text telephones (TTYs) enabling people with hearing loss to communicate more easily over the phone with family, friends, businesses and services.

Fact #2: CapTel developed the revolutionary captioning technology for telephones
Building on the expertise gained from developing TTYs, Ultratec invented the Captioned Telephone, or “CapTel” for short. CapTel captioned telephones emerged and became FCC approved in 2003. Its technology was – and still is – revolutionary in its field. This hearing impaired telephone works just like any other phone, but with the added benefit of displaying captions of everything a caller says. If you can’t hear something the other party said, a large easy-to-read text display provides a transcription of their words. In this way, captioned telephones help you read and understand while still hearing their voice.

Fact #3: Captioned telephones can be used with or without an internet connection
Hearing impaired telephones with CapTel captioning technology are available in four different models, each with varying features and capabilities to meet your needs and preferences. Three of the models require high-speed internet access. CapTel is the only company to offer an analog model that does not require a broadband Internet connection. Check out this article to find out how to choose the right captioned telephone for you here.

Fact #4: There is no cost to the user to use the captioning service
There are no monthly fees or service agreements for the captioning service when using CapTel captioned telephones. In fact, your phone bill shouldn’t change at all! As part of a federally funded program that supports telephone accessibility for people with hearing loss, the captioning service for this hearing impaired telephone is available to consumers at no charge.

Fact #5: Captioned telephones benefit people with any degree of hearing loss
From mild to severe and profound, captioned telephones are designed specifically for people who experience any degree of hearing loss that causes them to be unable to hear over the phone. CapTel phones can help you stay in touch with family and friends while making and receiving phone calls with confidence, knowing you’ll catch every word over the phone. Find out more about whether hearing loss telephones are right for you here.

Hearing impaired telephones with life-changing captioning technology can transform the way you connect with others over the phone. To learn more about CapTel captioned telephones, call us at 888-269-7477 or reach out online today.

CapTel Captioned Telephone