In 2005, the World Health Organization estimated that some 278 million people worldwide had moderate to profound hearing loss. For these people using a telephone of any type can be a real challenge. Most mobile phones offer a range of features that can certainly make a noticeable difference to those with hearing difficulties, including:

  • A range of visual alerts to notify the user of incoming calls/messages
  • Adjustable volume control
  • Display of missed, received or dialed calls through call logs
  • Visual or tactile indicators showing what's been pressed on the keypad, and visual display of text
  • Text based messaging options
Two-way video conferencing is a promising new feature that can allow sign language to be used to communicate. This sort of facility will depend heavily on the network speed and video capabilities of the phone, and users should try to test the phone themselves to determine whether it meets their needs. Other features that may be interest include hearing aid compatibility and Text phone/TTY compatibility for those using such services. As the quality, immunity and customization of hearing aids vary greatly, hearing aid wearers should definitely test different phones before buying to ensure that the particular model of phone is going to work well with your hearing aid. There are also optional accessories from phone manufacturers that are designed to work well with tele-coil equipped hearing aids.