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      Using your home phone

      Using a home phone can be a challenge for people with hearing loss. But there are products that can make calls on your landline louder and clearer – whether you already have a home telephone, or you're buying a new one.

      Corded and cordless phones – what's the difference?

      A corded telephone can only be used near your telephone socket (or the socket on a phone extension). Some are also mains powered.

      A cordless (DECT – Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) telephone has two parts: a cordless handset and a base. The base plugs into the phone socket and is mains powered. The base is also a charger for the handset. The cordless handset is wireless and gives you the freedom to make and receive calls anywhere in your home.

      Making your phone louder

      You can make your corded home telephone louder by using a telephone amplifier. The amplifier connects to the phone and will make the caller's voice, coming through the handset, louder. For corded and cordless telephones there are telephone amplifiers with built-in amplifier and speaker that fit over the telephone handset earpiece using a strap.

      Hearing your phone ring

      If the ringer on your telephone isn't loud enough, first check if your phone is set to the loudest ringer-volume setting. On some phones you can also change the pitch of the ringer, which may make it easier to hear. An extension ringer may help: you can have an extra ringer where you can hear it more easily. It may be much louder than the ringer on your telephone. There are also telephone call indicators that have a bright flashing light to attract your attention.

      Amplified telephones

      An amplified telephone is an alternative to using a telephone amplifier and extension ringer. If you have hearing loss you can choose from corded and cordless models: they look and work just like a normal phone but have additional features. They have a handset volume control and a volume-boost button to make the caller’s voice louder. And, depending on the model, they may have a tone control to help to make the call sound clearer.

      The ringer on an amplified phone is usually much louder than on a normal phone. Some have a bright light that flashes when the phone rings. Other features may include large, well-spaced-apart dial buttons to make dialling easier, and hearing aid compatibility: this means the phone will work with most hearing aids that have a hearing loop (T) setting.

      Some corded amplified telephones have an emergency or assistance button on the phone, or on a 'pendant' that you wear as a necklace, or on a wriststrap. When the button is pressed the phone dials the pre-stored numbers of relatives and friends so that you can get the help you need, quickly.

      Hearing safety

      Amplified telephones can be very loud. Always start at a low volume and gradually increase to a level that is comfortable.