The Truth About Telephones

Picture of a black cord telephone.

We live in a world that relies heavily on auditory communication on a constant basis. While, I can understand that most people prefer phone calls.  Not everyone can rely on auditory information, but they can process visual information and use electronic communication. For this reason, this is why it is important to not assume that people do not want to use the phone because they are lazy or ” that’s just a part of being a millennial”.

As a person who is hard of hearing, it can be frustrating to use the phone, although I can manage phones a little better with the help of captioning phones and captioning phone apps.

What is a captioned phone, if you may ask?

Healthy Hearing explains what is a captioned phone is:

“Captioned telephones are special phones that can be used in a home or place of employment and have a built-in screen that displays text captions of the conversation during the call in near-real time. ”–Susanne Jones

These phones are not perfect by any means.  Captioned phones can be prone to make errors. Sometimes, the captions lag and  captioning mistakes do happen. Not all HOH/Deaf/deaf people use the same telephone tools, as there are many other types of assistive technology tools for them to use when it comes to phone calls. The more notable ones are video relay services, which signing Deaf users use this for communication over the telephone.  However, assistive telephone devices are not perfect, but there is a need for alternatives, in case, these devices aren’t enough.

In 2017, organizations and businesses need to move towards to opening all lines of communication preferences. In Svetlana Kouznetsova’s article, A Note to Businesses-Why Voice Phone Calls are a Thing in the Past explained, how it is important for businesses to use email and video communication to reach the D/deaf, HOH, and the hearing populations. Svetlana Kouznetsova’s article also pointed out that Dan Zarrella’s research has shown requiring phone numbers produces lower conversion rates for leads. This shows that the telephone is not enough to reach customers and job seekers, regardless, whether or not the person is deaf or not.  Wouldn’t it be better to cover all bases channels of communication?

In conclusion, businesses and organizations are missing a huge opportunity to not open different channels of communication.  It is time for business and organizations to think out of the box about communication strategies to reach out to the D/deaf, HOH, and hearing populations.


7 thoughts on “The Truth About Telephones

  1. Just this morning I read a similar opinion piece written by someone who is sight impaired about how businesses need to consider there needs on their websites. In this case, the person hit a wall when they tried to open an account and the Captcha didn't recognize the tool they use to help them read online date/text. Their response was to get angry and post a scathing review on Yelp about how people who are sight impaired are being discriminated against.

    Here's my thinking on this – I don't believe most businesses intentionally make it difficult for people to use their services – like it or not, it almost always comes down to ROI.

    Where I see an incredible opportunity would be for a group of like-minded individuals to sit down and consider all of these special needs and come up with a plan that would make it possible for businesses to upgrade their equipment all at one time rather than in bits and pieces. I believe many, many more businesses would invest in this type of equipment upgrade if they had a blueprint that would enable them to handle the transition in a cost effective way. Just my opinion.


  2. Communication is vital in this world, it is also a necessity to be a person. Any form of technology that can enhance communication is worthy of being developed.
    I hope that our technology speeds up and that captioned phones no longer suffer those errors.


  3. Hello; This is certainly sound advice. Recently, I contributed to a radio interview. I was very impressed with the fact that the host not only posted th link to the audio but also supplied the visitors to his site with a complete transcript. It not only had our voice exchanges but included images and links wherever appropriate. We have to all get used to the fact that everyone takes in information in different ways. This is true of the death as well as those who aren't hearing impaired. More often than not videos are accompanied with audio and text options. As an example I know braille and can use it, but its not my first language. I do much better with audio. Text is okay but sometimes navigating the website where it is found is difficult. I love being able to listen instead. Hope people take your advice, Max


  4. I'm a member of the “hearing population” (my longstanding tinnitus condition notwithstanding), and I much prefer to communicate by email versus by phone. An email query allows me to craft a deliberate, intelligent response; in contrast, a phone call requires me to think on my feet, which I am not so good at.


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