Voice Technologies Power Hamilton Captioned Telephone Service
Beginning tomorrow, Hamilton Telephone Company will provide Captioned Telephone (CapTel) service in Louisiana following an agreement it reached with the Louisiana Relay Administration Board. Similar to closed-captioning provided on most television programs, CapTel service is designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone.
CapTel technology, developed by Ultratec of Madison, Wis., allows individuals with hearing loss to view word-for-word captions of their telephone conversations using a CapTel phone. This device is ideal for individuals who use their own voices while conversing on the telephone but may have trouble deciphering the words of the other party.
"We are thrilled to provide CapTel service to the residents of Louisiana, as many across the state have expressed interest in the service," says Dixie Ziegler, vice president of Hamilton Relay. "Hamilton's goal is to provide its customers with the latest developments in telecommunications technology, resulting in services that are functionally equivalent to traditional telephone services."
Individuals with hearing loss in Louisiana have been looking forward to the service's launch. "You could not have given me any better news. I was just thrilled to learn that Louisiana will be offering CapTel services beginning in August to its citizens who are hard of hearing," said Ann Boyd, who is deaf. "I am really looking forward to being able to use CapTel when making and receiving calls. With both volume control and captions, the CapTel phone is an effective and comfortable way for those with mild to profound hearing loss to make phone calls to businesses, doctors, dentists, family members, grandchildren, and friends with greater ease and understanding."
To make a call, the CapTel user dials the number of the person he wants to call on the CapTel phone. The call is then connected to the service, which provides the captioning. Using state-of-the art voice-recognition technology, a specially trained operator "re-voices" everything said, converting the speech into text. The captions appear almost simultaneously with the spoken word, allowing CapTel users to understand everything that is said by listening along with reading the CapTel phone's screen. The CapTel phone features adjustable levels of amplification, which extend to an additional 35 decibels, and works with a hearing aid's telecoil.