Free amplified phones available to some Ill. residents

October 21, 2012 7:13:42 AM PDT
Having a hard time hearing on the telephone because of some hearing challenges? If so, you could qualify for a free amplified telephone.

Through the Illinois Telecommunication Access Corporation, Illinois residents who are deaf and hard-of-hearing can receive adaptive phones for free.

The process is simple.

In the Norwood Park neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side, staff from the mayor's office for people with disabilities, help seniors sign up for their free amplified phones program.

Karen Tampley is the commissioner of MOPD.

"As part of the application, they have to meet three criteria. One is that they're an Illinois resident. Two, that they have a medical need. Obviously, that they are documented hard-of-hearing, and three, that they also have land line service because this is a land line phone," Tampley said. "Once they get the documentation, then they can come in and select the phone with the appropriate amplification for them."

"We have a lot of different choices for them to come in and try out, and whichever is the best one for them," said Tampley.

Tampley says they office does a lot of outreach.

"We are making a big effort to get out to the senior centers throughout the Chicago area working with the Department of Senior Services on outreach effect," she said.

"One great thing we're doing now is that we having a nurse practitioner on many of the sites that we go out to do outreach and what that does is enables us to have more of a one stop shop," said Tampley. "But it will also take time for individuals to recognized that they are in need of a phone and so that again is a part of what we're doing to try to educate the public that these are available , they are free of charge."

Carol Scriven was tested at the site. Her hearing has decreased.

"When I use the phone at home, if I put it to my right ear, I'm going to hear what you're saying, but I always, I don't want to hear over, so I'll put to the left, and then you're very faint," said Scriven. "It's a very grateful program, and it's good for the seniors, and even if you're a non-senior, too, it's great."

TTYS and Captel phones also offered to deaf and hard-of-hearing people, but for most seniors, amplified phones work the best. For more information go to www.itactty.org or the city's website for the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities at www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mopd.


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