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      Communicating online

      In the 21st century, online communication has become almost universal. For people with hearing loss, the benefits are huge; with the right technology (and a bit of practice) you'll find it easy to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world – and establish new relationships.

      What is communicating online?

      Traditionally, online communication was only available on a computer connected to the internet through your phone line. Now with the growth of wireless internet, smartphones and tablets, the online communications world has opened up.

      You can still use a PC or a laptop to connect via the internet either through wired internet connections or, more commonly, through wireless Wi-Fi connections. You can talk to people either through voice and video call services such as Skype, or through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. And now they're available as apps (applications) on smartphones and tablets.

      Apps are very user-friendly. They work better on faster internet connections, with the introduction of 4G-compatible smartphones and tablets ushering in much faster internet speeds for on-the-move devices.

      Devices for communicating online

      The most popular devices for smartphones and tablets include Apple’s iOS compatible devices, such as the iPhone and iPad and the Android devices which include Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony and Motorola that use Google apps. Windows and Blackberry devices also have apps however these are less common.

      These devices can be expensive. Shop around and talk to phone providers about affordable options – and it is advisable to try these devices before you buy them.

      The T519 Amplicomms Powertel M9000 phone, which uses the Android operating system, has been designed for people with hearing loss. It has an integrated loop system, for hearing aid compatibility, and an amplified speakerphone – which you use with the camera when video calling – making it very popular with hearing aid users.

      At home, and at work, you might prefer to use a PC or laptop to communicate online. Before you buy one, make sure you find out if it matches your communication requirements. Most new devices will have a built-in camera and microphone. We recommend you try out the device in the shop to make sure you're comfortable with the buttons and systems, and are sure that the screen is suitable for you.

      Apps

      Apps can help make communicating online easier. To find out more about the various apps available, visit our Apps page.

      Phone, tablet and computer apps for people with hearing loss and tinnitus.