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Common FAQs About Captioned Phones for Hearing Loss

Find out more about CapTel hearing loss telephones.

CapTel captioned telephones for hearing loss work the same as a standard phone but with the added benefit of written captions.CapTel captioned telephones lead the way in captioned phone technology for hearing loss. These inventive phones for hearing loss make it easier than ever for people who are hard of hearing to stay connected over the telephone. Below, browse through common FAQs to discover everything you need to know about selecting and using a new CapTel hearing loss telephone.

About CapTel

What is CapTel?
CapTel, short for Captioned Telephone, is a type of hearing loss telephone that works the same way as a standard phone, but with the added benefit of displaying written captions of the conversation. When using a CapTel phone for hearing loss, you’ll be able to listen to your conversation partner, while also reading captions of every word they say. It is similar to closed captions on TV, for your phone conversations.

How does CapTel work?
When you make a call using a CapTel captioned telephone, your phone automatically connects to a no-cost captioning service. A captioning assistant will then use speech recognition technology to transcribe the conversation into captions that appear on your phone screen.

For most CapTel models, on incoming calls the caller dials your phone number directly like any other call. The captioning service connects automatically to the call over an Internet connection through the CapTel phone, letting you hear your caller and read captions on the CapTel display screen. The exception is for people who don’t have high speed Internet access, who would use CapTel model 840. For those using a CapTel 840 1-Line analog model, your callers dial the captioning service first and then enter your phone number in order for you to receive captions throughout the call.

How do I know if I could benefit from a CapTel phone?
If you are unsure whether you could benefit from a CapTel phone, here are a few signs that a captioned phone for hearing loss may be right for you:

  • You struggle to catch every word over the phone
  • You frequently ask your caller to repeat themselves
  • Caller voices seem too quiet or muffled, even at maximum volume
  • You avoid phone calls or ask others to make calls for you

If any of these signs describe you, then you may benefit from a CapTel hearing loss telephone.

Are your captioned phones compatible with hearing aids?
Yes, all CapTel phones are hearing aid compatible (HAC) telephones. This designation means that they work with your assistive listening device to help funnel sound directly into your hearing aid, while also reducing background noise and interference. All CapTel models come with a hearing aid compatible handset and one-touch customer support to help you feel more confident when connecting with others over the phone.

In addition, CapTel phones are designed specifically to provide powerful amplification and tone control, letting people with hearing loss adjust the sound quality to a level that best meets their individual hearing needs.

Learn more about hearing aid compatible telephones and the advantages of captioned phones for people with hearing aids on our blog.

Can I turn captions off on my CapTel phone?
Yes. If you don’t want to use the captioning service on a call, you can press the CAPTIONS button to turn captions off at any time.

How much does CapTel cost?
The Captioning Service is provided as part of a federally-funded program, regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and designed specifically to help individuals with hearing loss access the telephone. Because of this federal program, there is no charge to the user for using the captioning service, and your monthly telephone bill won’t change.

You may also be eligible to receive a CapTel phone at no cost or at a reduced rate through one of the following programs or you can purchase one directly.

  • Your State Equipment Distribution Program– Depending on your state, you may be able to apply for a free or reduced cost CapTel phone
  • Third-Party Certificationfrom your doctor or audiologist that enables people with hearing loss to qualify for a CapTel phone at no cost to the user (see more on third-party certification under Getting CapTel)

Choosing the Best Captioned Phone for Hearing Loss for You

What’s the difference between the CapTel models?
There are four CapTel models to choose from: models 840, 840i, 880i, 2400i. All CapTel models require telephone service. People who do not have high-speed Internet access should select the CapTel 840.  All other CapTel models require high speed Internet service in order to display captions.

For help finding the best phone for hearing loss for your personal situation, check out this in-depth hearing loss telephones selection guide covering the CapTel models on our blog. The diagram below also provides a quick overview of the features of each model:

This diagram provides a brief overview of the differences between the four CapTel captioned phones for hearing loss models. 

What other resources should I review before choosing a CapTel phone?
Before choosing a CapTel model, we recommend reviewing the hearing loss telephones selection guide and how-to videos on the CapTel website to become acquainted with the different options available to you.

In addition, our blog offers plenty of resources to help you find the best captioned phone for hearing loss for your individual needs and preferences.

Getting CapTel

How do I get a CapTel phone?
There are two options to receive CapTel:

  1. Order a CapTel phone today for only $75 online.
  2. Receive CapTel at no cost to you by visiting your hearing health professional first. When you submit a signed professional certification, we’ll contact you to arrange free delivery and installation support.

Who qualifies for a CapTel phone at no cost?
Individuals with hearing loss may be eligible to receive an internet-based CapTel phone at no cost if they complete and submit a Third-Party Certification of Eligibility. This certification must be signed by a hearing health professional such as a doctor or audiologist.

How can I get my hearing loss certified for a no-cost CapTel phone?
Download, print, and fill out the Third Party Certification Form. Have a hearing professional such as an audiologist, primary physician, or doctor sign and date the form. You can then fax the completed form to 1-608-238-3008 or email it to us at Once we receive your completed form, we will contact you to arrange for free delivery and installation support.

Where is CapTel available?
The Captioning Service is currently available throughout the United States. This program is funded through the federal government’s Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service fund and administered by the FCC.

What equipment is needed for a CapTel hearing loss telephone?
For internet-based phones (models 840i, 880i, 2400i), you’ll need:

  1. A high-speed internet connection
  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)

Learn more about the equipment requirements for CapTel captioned phones.

Do I need to register my new CapTel phone?
Because of regulations by the FCC, all users of internet-based captioned telephones must register their device. CapTel users with phone models 840i, 880i, and 2400i will need to register their phone in order to receive captions.

How do I register my new CapTel phone?
Registration will appear on your hearing loss telephone during setup. You can register your phone at that time, or you can easily complete registration online through the CapTel website. Just fill out the online form and you’ll be all set! All information gathered is secure and confidential in accordance with FCC requirements. Your information will not be used for marketing or promotional purposes.  Captions will not appear on your phone until the registration process is completed.

A copy of the CapTel Privacy Policy is available at

Do you have any tips for using my new CapTel captioned phone for hearing loss?
If this is your first time using a captioned telephone, we recommend reviewing the settings and features available. Personalizing your phone’s font size and color, adjusting the sound settings, and setting up your voicemail are a few simple ways to make your new phone feel more comfortable for you.

Technology and Features

Is amplification available?
Yes. All CapTel hearing loss telephones amplify a caller’s voice by up to 40dB gain. In addition to amplification, all CapTel models allow you to adjust the tone. Tone control lets you screen for different sound frequencies (low, medium and high), providing even more sound clarity beyond amplification. The CapTel 2400i even allows you to program your phone to match your personal audiogram. This means the sound quality can be customized to your specific hearing levels. Learn more about amplification and amplifier phones here.

I have low vision. Will I be able to read the captions?
All CapTel models offer adjustable font sizes and colors to help you customize your phone screen to a level that you see best. To ensure maximum readability, the CapTel 880i model offers extra large font sizes and display options. This model is designed specifically for people with low vision to aid with easy reading.

How do I add contacts to my CapTel phone?
All CapTel models provide a built-in phone book that allows you to easily store and dial up to 100 names/phone numbers. The steps for adding a contact may vary slightly depending on which model of phone you are using. Below are links to the user manuals for each of the CapTel captioned phones:

Can I review a conversation after I hang up?
Yes. Captions from previous phone conversations are saved within your call history. Because the steps vary depending on which model of phone you are using, we recommend reviewing your phone’s user manual for complete instructions on accessing your call history.

What captioning languages are available?
Captioning for CapTel hearing loss telephones is available in English and Spanish. By default, the captions will be set to English. You can change your captions to Spanish at any time by following the directions in your user manual.

Get in Touch with CapTel

For customized assistance in choosing a CapTel phone for hearing loss or for assistance with operating and using your new hearing loss telephone, reach out to us by:

  1. Pressing the blue CUST SERVICE button on your CapTel phone to be directly connected to our friendly, helpful team
  2. Calling us at 888-269-7477 (customer support) or 800-233-9130 (sales)
  3. Live chat or email

Our customer support team is available 24/7 (excluding major holidays) to answer your questions or trouble shoot any issue with your CapTel phone.

Learn more at