Learn about free equipment and services you can access as a deaf or HoH individual living in the US. Find more about it right here!
From working from home to forming social connections, our world heavily relies on telecommunications. And for the deaf or hard of hearing community, this involves seeking and acquiring the right assistive technology, such as captioned telephones, video relay services, or text-based communication devices, to access information, connect with others, and thrive in both personal and professional spheres.
Fortunately, there’s free equipment options for deaf and hard of hearing individuals that can make a real difference in your life and go beyond your typical "free" stuff. These resources are high quality, so you don't have to settle for anything less.
Let's explore a few free equipment options for deaf and hard of hearing people and shed light on important industry terminologies such as TRS, VRS, CTS, TTY, RTT, and Relay.
The industry terminology associated with these services may initially seem overwhelming, but understanding them is crucial to accessing the right equipment. So, before we dive into free equipment options for deaf and hard of hearing, we'll help you familiarize yourself with the following industry terminologies:
Nagish is a free app that captions phone calls using AI, converting text-to-speech and speech-to-text in real time. You can download Nagish for free without proof of eligibility. The app can be used as free equipment options for deaf and hard of hearing to easily communicate and interact with the world.
iCanConnect provides free equipment options and training for people with significant hearing and vision loss who meet the program’s disability and income eligibility guidelines.
This program aims to equip eligible participants with the necessary telecommunications equipment, services, and training to improve their communication experience. They provide telephone equipment for the deaf and hard of hearing and equipment options for deaf children.
Although landlines are in decline, they are still a viable option. A caption phone transcribes live phone conversations so it appears in easy-to-read text on a large screen.
Captioned phones are deaf equipment for home that is provided for free to qualifying individuals through a program funded by the FCC called the Intrastate Telecommunications Relay Services program.
Several participating phone companies provide captioned phones, such as CapTel, CaptionCall, and ClearCaptions.
InnoCaption is free equipment options for the deaf or hard of hearing that offers real-time captioning to facilitate phone calls. Eligible users in the United States can use the InnoCaption app at no cost because they are funded by the FCC's Telecommunications Relay Services Fund.
The availability of free equipment options for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the US is a game-changer. These resources go beyond the typical notion of "free" and offer high-quality assistive technology that bridges the communication gap and makes a real difference in the lives of individuals.
Thanks to technological advancements, free apps like Nagish are constantly evolving to provide the best experience in real-time captioning and communication assistance to those who need it most for free.
Additionally, captioned telephones, such as CapTel, CaptionCall, and ClearCaptions, are readily available and can greatly enhance communication.
With the increasing user-friendliness and privacy of relay services and assistive technologies, the deaf and hard of hearing community can now thrive in personal and professional areas with greater ease and accessibility.