Discover the answers to common questions about hearing loss telephones with captions.

Find answers to these FAQs about captioned phones for hearing loss.Are you or someone you care for ready to consider captioned phones for hearing loss? To help take that next step, here are answers to some of the common questions people have about CapTel hearing loss telephones, including:

  • How does CapTel work?
  • Is amplification available?
  • Can I use CapTel on my current phone?
  • What are the differences between the various CapTel phone models?
  • What equipment do I need?
  • When is the captioning service available?
  • How much does CapTel cost?
  • Can I use CapTel with a VoIP?
  • Are captioned phones for hearing loss compatible with hearing aids?
  • How do I know if a CapTel captioned phone is right for me?
  • What are the benefits of captioned phone technology for hearing loss?

Keep reading to discover the answers to these common questions about hearing loss telephones with captions.

How does CapTel work?
With a CapTel telephone for hearing loss, you’ll be able to listen to your conversation partner and read captions of every word they say. When you make a call, your phone automatically connects you to a no-cost captioning service, where a captioning assistant uses speech recognition technology to transcribe the conversation into captions that appear on your CapTel phone screen.

Incoming calls work differently based on the CapTel model you have. In most cases, with internet or 2-Line analog models, callers dial your phone number directly like any other call. For those who have a 1-Line analog phone (CapTel 840), your callers need to call the captioning service first and then enter your phone number in order for you to receive captions.

If you don’t want to use the captioning service on a call, you can press a button to turn captions off at any time.

Is amplification available?
Yes, all CapTel captioned phones for hearing loss amplify a caller’s voice by up to 40dB gain. In addition to amplification, some models allow you to adjust the tone and frequencies to match your personal audiogram, meaning the sound quality is customized for your specific hearing levels. In addition to amplification, the tone control lets you screen for different sound frequencies, providing even more sound clarity beyond amplification.

Learn more about amplification and amplifier phones here.

Can I use CapTel captioning technology on my current phone?
The majority of people with hearing loss find it easiest to call using a dedicated CapTel phone that handles both the captions and the voice part of the call all in one.  You can, however, use your current phone and then view captions of the call on a separate laptop or computer device connected to the internet using WebCapTel, as provided through one of our Service Partners.

What are the differences between the various CapTel phone models?
There are four CapTel models to choose from: 840, 840i, 880i, and 2400i. A more in-depth comparison of CapTel models can be found on our Choosing a Phone page, but here’s a quick overview the features of each model:

 CapTel 840CapTel 840iCapTel 880iCapTel 2400i
Volume and sound frequency controlXXXX
Hearing aid compatibleXXXX
Built-in phone bookXXXX
Turn captions on or offXXXX
Adjustable volume control (40dB gain)XXXX
One-touch access to customer serviceXXXX
Easy-to-follow yes/no menu systemXXXX
Caller ID capableXXXX
Captioned answering machine messagesXXXX
Adjustable font sizes & colorsXXXX
Requires high-speed internetXXX
Wi-Fi compatibilityXXX
Touch-screen displayX
Bluetooth wireless technologyX

What equipment do I need?
To use CapTel hearing loss telephones, here is what you’ll need to get started:

For internet-based phones (models 840i, 880i, 2400i), you’ll need:

  1. A high-speed internet connection (WiFi or an Ethernet cable)
  2. A telephone service (can be analog, digital cable, DSL, VoIP, or FIOS)
  3. Electrical power outlet to plug into

The analog phone (model 840) requires:

  1. Electrical power outlet
  2. Traditional analog telephone service (can be DSL with a filter in place)

When is the captioning service available?
Whenever you need it! You can use the CapTel captioning service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, all year round—including weekends and holidays.

How much does CapTel cost?
There is no charge to use the CapTel Captioning Service, so your monthly telephone bill won’t change. CapTel Captioning Service is provided as part of a federally-funded program, regulated by the FCC, designed specifically to help individuals with hearing loss access the telephone.

To get a CapTel phone: You may be able to get a CapTel phone at no cost or at a reduced rate through one of the following programs:

Can I use CapTel with a VoIP?
Several CapTel models work with VoIP telephone service, including the 840i, 880i, and 2400i. The analog 840 model will not support a VoIP unless you use 2-Line CapTel with the VoIP as Line 1.

Are captioned phones for hearing loss compatible with hearing aids?
Yes, all CapTel captioned telephones are hearing aid compatible (HAC). This designation means that they work with your assistive listening device to help funnel sound directly into your hearing aid while reducing background noise and interference. Learn more about hearing aid telephones in this article.

How do I know if a CapTel captioned phone is right for me?
If you struggle to catch every word over the phone, the voices on the other end sound too quiet or muffled, you frequently ask callers to repeat themselves, or you avoid phone calls because they’re too hard to hear, a CapTel captioned phone may be right for you. Learn more here.

What are the benefits of captioned phone technology for hearing loss?
There are many benefits of using CapTel captioned telephones. To start, you can be sure of every word your caller says. If you can’t quite hear it over the phone, you can read the captions.  CapTel phones are convenient and easy-to-use, helping you to stay in touch with friends and family over the phone. You’ll never have to wonder if you heard something correctly – you can simply check the captions! Many find CapTel phones to alleviate safety concerns, knowing you can call for help in an emergency and understand what is being said over the phone. CapTel even makes calls more enjoyable for the person on the other end of the line, who can be confident that you are “getting” what they say.

Still have questions about CapTel captioned telephones for hearing loss? Browse through our Knowledge Base or email us at We’d love to help you find a hearing loss telephone that suits your needs and preferences.

CapTel Captioned Telephone