How We Found The Best Caption Phones for Seniors
23+ Hours of Research
13 Phones Considered
39 Reviews Read
9 Companies Researched

What You Should Know About Caption Phones

  • According to National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 1 out of 4 Americans aged 65-74 deal with hearing loss, and 1 in 2 aged 75+ have hearing issues. 
  • A caption phone provides instant on-screen text for those who struggle to hear during phone conversations and offers a way for the hard of hearing to stay connected with family and communicate for help when needed.
  • Caption phones and related installation and services are free of charge, covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).
  • Patients must qualify to receive a caption phone by working with their doctor and contacting a caption phone supplier.

Talking on a standard phone can be a challenge or even downright impossible for people with hearing impairment, a problem that affects many older adults. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, almost 25% of older Americans ages 65 to 74 have hearing loss and that percentage doubles to 50% for those who are 75 and older.

If you have senior loved ones that struggle or avoid talking on the phone, they may be coping with hearing loss. However, telephones or smartphones are essential safety and social connection tools for older adults, and not using one can lead to inconveniences, isolation, and, sometimes, safety risks. 

Fortunately, a particular type of telephone can be a solution for those with hearing impairment: caption phones.

Caption phones enable people with hearing loss to talk to a telephone and read the other person’s responses in real-time via transcriptions that appear on a display screen. This is made possible by connecting to a Captioned Telephone Service (CTS). Under the Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with hearing disabilities can access caption phones and services free of charge. Those who don’t qualify for a free phone can also buy one for a fairly low price.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the top-rated caption phone companies and their products with details about pricing, features, and requirements. This in-depth guide aims to help you find your best caption phone options and choose a device that fits your lifestyle and budget.

How We Chose the Best Caption Phones

Best Caption Phones

We evaluated 9 caption phone companies and considered 13 caption telephone products for the quality of the captioning service, ease of use, features, customer support, and availability. We chose the final list of products based on the following core metrics:

  • Captioning Capability: Only a few companies offer telephones with actual working captions to help people with hearing loss. Whether it’s through a captioning agent or speech recognition software, the phone device must be capable of providing word-by-word transcriptions of what the person on the other line is saying.
  • Costs and Availability: Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, caption phones and related services are free of charge for eligible individuals. To consider the company, they should have a streamlined application process and accessible customer support. Bonus points if the company offers fast and free installation.
  • Ease of Use: Since we’re making a list of caption phones for seniors, one of our top criteria is how easy it is to operate the device. Senior users should be able to operate the phone and use its features without assistance. 
  • Relevant Features: The more features catered towards people with hearing loss, the better. Features such as a volume amplifier, tone adjuster, and a loud speakerphone can go a long way in providing a better experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing seniors.
  • Service and Support Quality: All devices must not only have a working captioning feature, but the transcriptions should also be accurate and with little delay as possible. In addition, the companies must offer live customer support via chat, email, and phone.

The Best Caption Phones for Seniors of 2023



Touchscreen Enabled?

Built-in Phonebook?

Answering Machine / Voicemail?

Hearing Aid Compatible?

Adjustable Captions and Font Sizes?

Adjustable Volume / Tone?

High-Speed Internet Required?

CapTel 840


CapTel 840i


CapTel 2400i


CapTel 880i


CaptionCall by Sorenson

Free for eligible individuals

ClearCaptions Blue

Free for eligible individuals

Available for Internet and Landline connection

CapTel 840

Best for Seniors Without Internet Connection

CapTel 840

The CapTel 840 Captioned Telephone is CapTel’s most basic caption phone model that works with conventional analog telephone lines. Therefore, unlike the rest of CapTel’s lineup of phones, the CapTel 840 doesn’t require a high-speed internet connection.

The CapTel 840 looks and functions like a standard corded telephone. Thus, it is more accessible for less tech-savvy users and usable by people who don’t need captions.

What Makes the CapTel 840 Stand Out?

How It Helps

Adjustable Font Size and Colors

The font size and colors are customizable to make the captions easier to read.

Features Catered Towards Hearing-Impaired Users

The hearing-aid compatible handset and adjustable tone/volume are great additions for hard-of-hearing users.

Answering Machine and Voicemail

The built-in answering machine and voicemail works with the captioning feature. It allows you to save and display all the messages you’ve missed.

Built-In Phonebook and Caller ID

Stores up to 95+ contact names and identifies incoming calls.

Speed Dial

Quick access to frequently used numbers including family members and medical professionals.

How the CapTel 840 Caption Phone Works

As primarily a caption phone, the CapTel 840 comes with a built-in screen that displays the captions for people with hearing disabilities.

Seniors who make their calls using the CapTel 840 will automatically connect to the captioning service. However, incoming callers will need to dial the service first, then enter the recipient’s phone number to enable the captions. This can be an inconvenient step, but it’s the only workaround to ensure that the recipient with hearing loss can read the captions.

Pros and Cons of the CapTel 840


  • Doesn’t require an internet connection
  • Adjustable font sizes and colors
  • Built-in answering machine and voicemail that works with captions
  • Automatically connects to captioning service when placing an outbound call
  • Offered at no cost in some states for qualified individuals via state programs


  • No touchscreen display
  • ncoming callers need to dial the number of the captioning service first

CapTel 840i

Best for Seniors with High-Speed Internet Connection

CapTel 840i

The CapTel 840i is essentially the upgraded version of the 840 caption phone mentioned above. The most significant difference with the 840i is that it requires a high-speed internet connection to operate – that’s on top of the required analog phone line.

What Makes the CapTel 840i Stand Out?


How It Helps

Connects Automatically to the Captioning Service

Since the calls pass through the internet, it removes the tedium of dialing a toll-free number to initiate the calls.

WiFi Compatible

The phone is WiFi-enabled for wireless operation. 

Answering Machine and Voicemail

The built-in answering machine and voicemail ensures that no messages and voicemails will be missed. Plus, the voicemail feature also supports captioning.

Built-In Phonebook and Caller ID

Stores up to 95+ contact names and you’ll know who’s calling.

Speed Dial

Quick access to frequently used numbers including family members and healthcare professionals.

How the CapTel 840i Caption Phone Works

Through the internet, the CapTel 840i boasts real-time, word-by-word transcription of everything the other person is saying. However, the 840i still uses the CapTel service, and live operators provide the captions. Because the calls go through online, there might be a slight or considerable delay with captioning, depending on the connection quality.

The device can connect to a WiFi network but it must be within the effective wireless network range to minimize captioning delays. Otherwise, you’re better off connecting to the internet via an Ethernet cable.

Overall, the 840i is virtually the same telephone as the CapTel 840 but with the ability to connect online.

Pros and Cons of the CapTel 840i


  • Captioning happens in real-time
  • Incoming callers dial your phone number directly
  • WiFi compatible
  • Captions can be turned on/off as needed
  • Installation assistance available


  • No touchscreen display
  • Reported captioning delays with a spotty internet connection

CapTel 2400i

Best Cutting-Edge Caption Phone

CapTel 2400i

Seniors that regularly use touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablets should have no trouble operating the CapTel 2400i that features a large touchscreen-enabled display. However, the touchscreen input could be a bit more snappy and responsive.

What Makes the CapTel 2400i Stand Out?


How It Helps

Large Touchscreen Display

The large touch-sensitive display screen looks bright, crisp, and easy to read.

WiFi Compatible

The phone can connect to a WiFi network for wireless operation. 

Intuitive Standard Home Screen Interface

Seniors used to modern smartphones and tablets will find the 2400i easy to use. Users can quickly access the Contacts, Favorites, Call History, Answering Machine, and Settings from the main screen.

Volume Adjuster

The volume adjuster helps hard-of-hearing users, and it automatically returns to the mid-range level after hanging up.

Custom Tone Control

Enhance many different sound frequencies and find the range that works best for senior users.

How the CapTel 2400i Caption Phone Works

Like the 840i, the CapTel 2400i connects to the captioning service through the internet. Calls automatically connect both parties without dialing a toll-free number of the captioning service. The captions can appear on-the-fly and in real-time if you have a good internet connection. However, a spotty connection may cause delays between what’s being said and the captioning.

Menu navigation is relatively straightforward, complete with a Home button that sends you back to the main menu when pressed.

Pros and Cons of the CapTel 2400i


  • Touchscreen enabled display that works well
  • WiFi and Bluetooth compatible
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Volume and tone adjustment for the hard of hearing


  • The touchscreen could be more responsive
  • Potential captioning delays with spotty internet connections

CapTel 880i

Best for Users with Vision Impairment

CapTel 880i

Designed for people with vision impairment or having difficulty reading standard-sized captions, the CapTel 880i stands out with its extra-large display screen. Hardware-wise, the CapTel 880i is essentially the same device as the 840i, apart from the accessibility features for people with low vision.

What Makes the CapTel 880i Stand Out?


How It Helps

Extremely Large Display Screen

The 7″ x 10″ screen is the star of this device, and it looks bright, crisp, and a lot easier to read.

Extra Large Font Sizes

Users can use extra large font sizes and text colors for better contrast. All adjustable based on preference.

Low-Vision Friendly Hardware

The extra-large console buttons and backlit dial pads add more accessibility for people with low vision.

Powerful Volume Amplification

Provides a robust volume amplification of up to 40dB gain by configuring the volume bar under the number pads. Default settings can also be saved to ensure optimal volume levels for all incoming and outgoing calls.

Tone Control

The 880i includes a tone control feature to help people with hearing loss to hear sounds in certain frequency ranges.

How the CapTel 880i Works

The 880i requires both a high-speed internet connection and telephone service (can be analog line, VOIP, FIOS, DSL or digital cable phone service). This also means that both users and incoming callers only have to dial numbers directly to connect to the captioning service. Again, there might be some delay between the other party’s dialogue and the captions – this largely depends on your internet connection.

We highly recommend hooking up the telephone directly to a wall outlet through the included Ethernet cable instead of using the WiFi connection to minimize latency.

Pros and Cons of the CapTel 880i


  • Large 7″ x 10″ screen for users with low vision
  • WiFi and Bluetooth compatible
  • Numerous options to customize the screen
  • Ability to amplify volume and adjust the tone
  • No need to dial a toll-free number to use the captioning service


  • No touchscreen support
  • Slight delays when using WiFi connection

CaptionCall by Sorenson

Best for Advanced Captioning Service

CaptionCall 78T

CaptionCall by Sorenson provides free services to eligible individuals with its caption telephone device. The current model is the third iteration of the CaptionCall phone and the latest and greatest device with a touchscreen interface.

What Makes the CaptionCall by Sorenson Stand Out?


How It Helps

High-Resolution Touchscreen Display

The CaptionCall boasts a slick design and relatively sizable high-resolution touchscreen display.

Robust Touchscreen Interface

The CaptionCall comes with a versatile touchscreen interface that works similar to a smartphone or tablet. 

Cutting-Edge Captioning Service

CaptionCall uses a combination of live agents, speech recognition software, and a transcription service to provide fast and accurate captions.

Adjustable System and Caption Fonts

Users can adjust the system and caption font sizes, in addition to the screen brightness. However, there seems to be no way to adjust font colors.

Hearing Aid Compatible

This phone works on most hearing aids. CaptionCall by Sorenson is compliant with the Telecommunications Industry Association standard TIA-1083 for hearing aid compatibility.

How the CaptionCall by Sorenson Caption Phone Works

The touchscreen display is the main interface where you can find helpful shortcuts like Recent Calls, Contacts, and Settings. Under the screen are the telephone keypad, voice messages buttons, a speakerphone button, and the volume knob.

Although the touchscreen interface is responsive and easy to use, there might be a bit of a learning curve for seniors who aren’t used to touch-enabled devices. The CaptionCall is a robust caption phone with many options to customize the user experience. While that’s a positive, less tech-savvy seniors may find these options and menus confusing. Fortunately, Sorenson provides hands-on training at delivery and unlimited phone and email support access.

CaptionCall uses voice recognition technology, live operators, and a fast transcription service to ensure maximum speed and accuracy of the captions. Also, you may pair a Bluetooth device, such as your hearing aids, headphones, and any other Bluetooth-enabled listening devices to listen to phone call audio.

Overall, CaptionCall is one of the best caption phones for seniors in terms of versatility and number of features.

Pros and Cons of the CaptionCall by Sorenson


  • Large, high-resolution touchscreen display
  • Hearing aid compatible
  • WiFi and Bluetooth support
  • Wide range of options and menu shortcuts
  • Users can dial the phone numbers directly


  • Only one caption phone model to choose from
  • The touchscreen interface requires a bit of a learning curve

ClearCaptions Home Phone

Easiest Caption Phone to Use

Clear Caption Blue

ClearCaptions is a no-charge call captioning service geared towards people with hearing loss. This free service provides almost real-time transcriptions of a caller’s words during phone calls. Like CaptionCall, ClearCaptions also offers just one captioned telephone model called ClearCaptions Blue.

Compared to the other units featured on this list, the ClearCaptions phone looks basic with a modest 7-inch touchscreen display. To the left of the screen are your standard dial pads, the volume adjuster, speakerphone/mute/amplify toggle buttons, and the blue caption button.

What Makes the ClearCaptions Phone Stand Out?


How It Helps

Portrait Mode Display Screen

The display screen is mounted in portrait mode, so you see more of the interface, making navigation more intuitive.

Built-In Answering Machine

The phone comes with a built-in answering machine that records the calls you missed. These messages are captioned like live calls, so you don’t miss a word.

Built-In Flasher

A valuable feature for seniors with hearing loss is the built-in call flasher that activates when someone’s calling you.

Built-In Help Feature

The built-in help feature includes videos about using certain features and functions of the telephone.

Connects Automatically to the Captioning Service

No need to dial a toll-free number to enable the captioning service.

How It Works

The touchscreen home interface is straightforward, with only six primary icons for navigation: Contacts, Favorites, Call Log, Messages, Help, and Settings. Most seniors will likely use Contacts and Favorites for calling family, friends, and other important numbers. Your contacts and favorites can be organized, so the most frequently used numbers are always ready to dial.

Placing a call is as simple as dialing the numbers, and you’ll automatically connect to the other party with the captions enabled. There’s a slight delay to the captions as it’s being transcribed, but nothing too major. The captioned texts can be customized, but people with low vision may have difficulty reading the screen

From registration to the installation and operation, ClearCaptions Blue is a no-fuss caption phone that gets the job done.


  • Easy to use and navigate
  • The touchscreen interface works well
  • Hearing aid compatible
  • Available for both internet and landline connections


  • Only one caption phone model to choose from
  • App is not compatible with Android devices

How Do Caption Phones Work?

Caption Phones

Ideal for people with some degree of hearing loss, caption phones work just like a standard telephone with one crucial additional feature: it shows every word the other person says during the phone call. With caption phones, seniors can listen to the person from the other line and read the written captions displayed through a bright, easy-to-read screen.

Dial the other person’s contact number precisely the same as you would with a standard telephone to start a call. Once a number is dialed, most captioning phones will automatically connect to a Captioned Telephone Service (CTS). The service will be facilitated by a captioning agent or an automated speech recognition program, or both.

At this point, the senior will simply talk on the phone like usual as the captioning service transcribes the other person’s dialogue. The captions will then appear through the built-in screen for the senior caller to read.

In some caption phone models, the caller can directly dial the other person’s number, which will be captioned without further steps. However, in some models, the caller has to dial the captioning service’s toll-free number first, then dial the other person’s number.

How to Get a Free Caption Phone

Unlike many other products and services that may require Medicare or Medicaid coverage, you can get a caption phone free of charge if you qualify for it. This service is provided by a fund created by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), working in conjunction with the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) to ensure phone access to those in need. In fact, caption phones can only be used by those who need them—the phones and related captioning services are prohibited for use by unauthorized users.

To obtain a free caption phone, follow the simple process outlined below:

Step 1: Discuss your hearing loss with a doctor

Not everyone with hearing loss is unable to use a typical phone. However, some people have severe impairment that requires a caption phone as the only reasonable tool for communicating over the phone with friends or family.

Discuss your level of hearing loss with your doctor. They can run tests to see if you are a good candidate for a caption phone.

Step 2: Fill out a certification form

In order to receive a free caption phone, you must certify that you have a hearing impairment that is significant enough to require this type of phone and captioning service. Some companies that provide these phones and services allow for self-certification, while others require a professional certification form to be filled out. 

Below are links to third-party/professional and self-certification forms for each of the three caption phone companies discussed in this guide :

Typically, it’s best to go through the third-party certification process. That way, your doctor can certify that you need a caption phone, and the company is much more likely to trust the recommendation.

Step 3: Wait for certification to be processed

After submitting a certification form online or through the mail, the caption phone company of your choice will determine your eligibility. For most caption phone companies, your doctor can send the certification via mail or fax. Some companies allow for a phone call or web submission of the form, too. 

Once the certification arrives and is approved, the caption phone company will send their device to your home.

Step 4: Receive and set up the phone

When your request is confirmed, the caption phone company of your choice will send you a phone, along with instructions on how to set it up. The phones typically work just like typical landline phones, connecting with a power cord and a phone line. When you make or receive a call, the captioning service activates and begins typing the caller’s words, making them appear on your caption phone screen.

What To Do If You Don’t Qualify for a Free Phone

For those who do not qualify for a free phone, CapTel sells its caption phones for $75 directly through its website. Some users of older caption phones may also sell their phones on various websites such as Amazon or eBay.

Certified Captioned Telephone Services for Seniors

You’ll notice that the best caption phones listed above come from a few companies that specialize in caption phones for people with hearing loss. Here you’ll find a rundown of the major players in the industry. It’s likely you’ll need to choose a phone provided by one of these three companies when you buy a caption phone, so read on to see if any stand out as the best option for you. 


CapTel is the country’s leading provider of caption phones and currently has the most advanced telephony technology catering to those with hearing loss. Regardless of the individual’s degree of hearing loss, CapTel has several phone models that meet various needs.

CapTel offers four different caption phone models, three of which are internet-based, while one is a classic analog model. The hallmark quality of CapTel phones is their crisp and easy-to-read display that helps seniors read what the other person on the line is saying.

The CapTel 840 phone is perhaps the most popular unit because it’s offered at no cost to eligible individuals through state programs. A $75 value, the CapTel 840 is available free of charge by sending an application to your state’s program agency or getting a third-party hearing loss certification. The CapTel 840 is an analog model and doesn’t require an internet connection, just an analog phone line.

For a complete list of state programs that provide CapTel phones free of charge, please visit CapTel’s State Program page.


Sorenson has earned a reputation as one of the leading providers of communication tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Through its captioned call, video relay and business interpreting services, the company offers its solutions to a variety of industries, including education, government, healthcare and hospitality. Although Sorenson does not have a wide range of caption phones, it does offer a dedicated calling device that works like a standard phone but with internet capabilities.

The CaptionCall by Sorenson phone connects users to a live captioning agent whenever a call is initiated. The company prides itself on having the most accurate captions possible, thanks to the combination of voice recognition technology and human involvement. Moreover, Sorenson offers a “Red Carpet Service,” which streamlines the process of delivery, installation, and personalized training on using its caption phone.


ClearCaptions is a company specializing in call captioning services for individuals with hearing loss and is certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the same vein as CaptionCall, ClearCaptions offers only one phone model.

The ClearCaptions PHONE is a caption phone device with a built-in touchscreen. Qualified seniors with hearing loss will get the phone equipment and captioning service at no cost, courtesy of the ADA. ClearCaptions also provides free installation and ongoing tech support.

Eligible individuals can get certified for ClearCaption services by either self-certifying or a healthcare professional or audiologist. Applicants can download the Professional Certification Form and send it to their healthcare professional’s office to certify their hearing loss.

What Features Make a Good Caption Phone for Seniors?

Caption phones are essential tools for seniors with hearing loss to stay connected with their support groups, including family, friends, caregivers, and healthcare practitioners. Standard telephones make it challenging for those with hearing loss to make or receive phone calls.

Caption phones are designed for people with hearing loss that come with specialized features to make phone calls more accessible. When looking for a good caption phone for seniors, there are several features you should keep an eye out for.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Caption Phone

Buyers Guide for Caption Phones

1. Determine If You’re Qualified for Captioned Telephone Services

The good news is that captioning services, equipment, and support are available to qualified individuals at no cost.

Courtesy of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) fund has been established to help people with hearing loss to use the telephone.

In this case, the qualified individuals are U.S. residents with professionally-certified hearing loss. To be eligible to use caption phones, you must have some degree of hearing loss that necessitates the use of caption phones. In fact, anyone but registered users with hearing loss are prohibited from using these phones with the captions enabled.

The easiest way to receive a caption phone at no cost is through third-party certification. Eligible seniors must complete and submit a Third Party Certification of Eligibility, signed by a qualified healthcare professional, like a doctor or audiologist. If you’re unable to visit your doctor’s office, you may download and complete a third-party certification form and send it to the doctor’s office via email, fax, or mail.

Below are the direct links to download a third-party or self-certification form from the companies featured in this post:

Mail the completed forms to the respective companies, or you may request for your doctor or audiologist to complete and send the documents on your behalf.

2. Ensure the Installation Requirements are Met

Do you or a loved one have access to a reliable internet connection? Whether or not you have access to the internet can significantly influence your choice of caption phone.

Caption phones require an internet connection or landline, or both. Some people on a fixed income or in rural areas may not have internet access. In this case, your best option is the CapTel 840 because it only needs an analog telephone line and standard electrical power to operate.

However, internet-enabled caption phones can directly connect both parties without dialing a toll-free number. With landline-only caption phones, your incoming callers will need to connect to the captioning service via a toll-free number so you (the call recipient) can read the captions. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

3. Look for Hearing Aid Compatibility

If you or a loved one uses a hearing aid, look for a caption phone model with hearing aid support. Fortunately, since caption phones are designed for people with hearing loss, they’re usually hearing-aid compatible out of the box. Feel free to ask the customer support representative if their phones are compatible with hearing aids.

Modern caption phones have Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can easily pair your hearing aids, provided that they’re Bluetooth-enabled. With captioned services and hearing aid use, you can take charge of your hearing impairment and gain more freedom while using the telephone.

4. Consider a Larger Display Screen

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), approximately one in three elderly persons has some vision-reducing disease by the age of 65. Unfortunately, many older Americans are suffering from both vision and hearing impairments. Therefore, it’s best to choose a caption phone with a larger display screen to make the captions easier to read for people with low vision.

CapTel caption phones have reasonably large displays, but the CapTel 880i is undoubtedly the best model for seniors with low vision, thanks to its sizable 7″ x 10″ display. On the other hand, the ClearCaptions phone has the smallest display out of the featured models and can be challenging to read for low vision users.

5. Determine Whether to Go Touchscreen or Not

Many people believe that a touchscreen interface is a great solution to make technology more accessible. Although that may be the case for most of the population, research shows that seniors have difficulty using touchscreen controls. Older adults can be slower and less accurate when performing complex touchscreen manipulations.

Furthermore, new research reveals that various physical and health factors can create accessibility barriers to touchscreen use. These factors include:

  • Thick and dry skin
  • Cognitive decline
  • Other physical barriers (i.e., multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and arthritis)

Although the touchscreen is generally easier to use because it requires fewer inputs than traditional screens, you must ensure your loved one can operate touch-enabled screens correctly.

Fortunately, most touchscreen-enabled caption phones have simple touch-and-go interfaces, unlike modern smartphones and tablets that use more complex gestures like pinching, dragging, and swiping. For older adults who have had experience using a touchscreen smartphone or tablet, touch-based caption phones should be simple for them to use.

One good way to test your loved one’s proficiency in touchscreen manipulation is to teach and let them use a tablet device. If they can operate a tablet properly, they’ll likely be able to use touchscreen caption phones without issues. Otherwise, a caption phone with standard navigation buttons may be a better usability option for older adults who can’t use touchscreens.

6. Look for Relevant Telephone Features

Extra features can make for a better telephone experience for older adults. A built-in answering machine is at the top of the list of phone features to consider. If you can, look for answering machines with voice messaging features and calling IDs so they don’t miss out on any calls, and they’ll know who’s on the other line. Obviously, the voice messages should also support captioning.

Another feature that makes sense for seniors is a built-in phonebook for saving important numbers from family, friends, and healthcare professionals. The caption phone should have a simple interface for storing important contacts and their respective numbers. Fortunately, most caption phones should have a built-in phonebook to store up to 90+ names.

Lastly, look for a caption phone with a volume amplifier and tone adjuster. Volume amplifiers are designed specifically for people with hearing loss, allowing them to turn the volume up or down to hear speech more clearly. Meanwhile, the tone adjuster lets the user configure the handset sound to a frequency range that’s better to hear.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a caption phone?

There are several ways to get a caption phone for eligible seniors.

  • You can navigate the caption phone provider’s website and sign-up/register. You’ll need to complete a short form, and customer service will get in touch with you and explain how to proceed.
  • You may ask your audiologist or healthcare provider to help you order the caption phone on your behalf.

For CapTel products, you may order the phone directly from WCI or through your state’s Equipment Distribution Program.

Are caption phones really free?

Although there are marketplaces where you can directly buy caption phones (i.e., Amazon, eBay), the devices are offered at no cost from FCC-authorized companies like CapTel, CaptionCall, and ClearCaptions. These companies offer their equipment, captioning services, and delivery/installation at no cost for qualified applicants. There are no monthly fees and no changes to your telephone bill either.

CapTel also offers its phones for purchase for $75 for customers who do not wish to go through the no-cost certification process. CaptionCall and ClearCaptions do not offer a direct purchase alternative; customers are required to go through certification to receive a phone.

Who’s qualified to get caption phones?

Thanks to a federally-funded program, caption phones are available at no cost for people who can’t hear well over the phone. You need a signed certification from a healthcare professional qualified to evaluate hearing disability like your doctor or audiologist to be eligible.

Federal law prohibits anyone without hearing disabilities from using caption phones with enabled captioning.

How does a caption phone work?

Most if not all captioning services use a combination of advanced speech recognition technology and live operators to provide written captions of every word the other person is saying on an easy-to-read screen.

Caption phones with internet capabilities enable you and incoming callers to simply dial the contact number to connect to the captioning service. For landline-only models, incoming callers may need to dial a toll-free number to make sure the recipient can read the caption.

Do all caption phones need an internet connection?

Most caption phones require a high-speed internet connection since a free online service provides the captions generated on the screen. In some models like CapTel, both high-speed internet and a home telephone service are required.

If you want a model that doesn’t require the internet, you should consider the CapTel 840, which only requires an analog telephone line and standard electrical power.

Are my conversations private?

Yes. Captioning services are regulated by the FCC and are bound to strict obligations for confidentiality. As soon as you hang up the phone, the captions will disappear from the live operator station. Also, in keeping with FCC regulations governing Relay Services, none of your calls are recorded or saved by the captioning assistants.