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According to the NHS, over 9 million people people in the UK suffer from hearing loss. It’s easy to think of hearing loss as an inevitable part of old age – however around 50% of those who suffer with hearing loss are of working age.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty to make adjustments in the workplace to help those suffering hearing loss. One such adjustment is:
“Installing equipment for employees with hearing loss, such as amplified telephones and flashing-light fire alarms.”
Fortunately, many big telephone suppliers produce excellent models to assist those with varying degrees of hearing problems. That said, some are deliberately basic, as they’re designed for older people who may also be suffering sight and mobility issues.
It's not just about purchasing louder phones. You can also purchase phones that are capable of producing HD voice sound. Most VoIP phones have built in HD voice capabilities, and will offer crystal clear sound, as long as you have a speedy internet connection to support it.
We’ve cross-referenced features and customer reviews to find the amplified cordless telephone models which will benefit the hard of hearing, while still having many of the key features of a regular telephone. They’re all suitable for home and office use.
Here's our top 5 telephones for hard of hearing
Best cordless amplified phones for the hard of hearing:
The best amplified phones for the hard of hearing are: the Polycom VVX 301, Yealink SIP VP-T49G, Doro Magna 2005, Panasonic KX-TGE233B and Amplicom Big Tel 1200.
|Polycom VVX 301||Best basic HD VoIP Phone||Read Review|
|Yealink SIP VP-T49G||Best high spec HD VoIP phone||Read Review|
|Doro Magna 2005||Best amplified phone for offices||Read Review|
|Panasonic KX-TGE233B||Best multiple handset amplified phone||Read Review|
|Amplicom Big Tel 1200||Best multiple handset amplified phone||Read Review|
1. Polycom VVX 301
Best for basic HD VoIP phone
The Polycom VVX 301 is a VoIP phone, which means it's capable of receiving HD voice calls over the internet. Thanks to the Polycom's HD voice technology, those who are hard of hearing should be able to identify words and sounds more clearly. And because the phone supports up to six lines its ideal for both offices and homes. Prices start at £75.
- Promises crystal clear calls
- Acoustic echo cancellation technology
- Benefit from HD calls whether you're using the handset or speakerphone
- Functionality could be too basic for some offices
- Not the cheapest home phone option
2. Yealink SIP VP-T49G
Best for high spec HD VoIP phone
The Yealink SIP VP-T49G phone is super high-spec, offering not only HD voice calls, but HD video calls, too. This phone is all about clarity, with an eight inch touchscreen displaying video conference calls in full HD, and the latest Bluetooth technology allowing quality call transfer to paired audio devices. Prices start at £275.
- HD voice and video calls
- Supports 16 lines
- 8" display for video calls and clear user interface
- Too expensive for home use
- Not the easiest phone to navigate at first
3. Doro Magna 2005
Best cordless amplified phone for offices
The Doro Magna 2005 is perfect for most people who are hard of hearing. Why? Because it offers unbeatably high voice volume with the ‘booster’ setting, and a model that’s sleek rather than clunky. It’s hearing aid-compatible and very reasonably priced. Prices start at £60.
- Very high voice volume of 40 decibels (dB)
- Sleek design
- Five polyphonic and five monophonic ringtones
- Remote access to answerphone messages
- Reasonably priced
- The display is a bit basic
- Buttons are quite small, making it unsuitable for anyone who is also visually impaired
3. Panasonic KX-TGE233B
Best multiple handset amplified phone
At just £57 for four handsets, this phone is certainly a bargain. It has plenty of useful features that make it suitable for both home and office, and it looks modern and compact. The downside, however, is that it’s not actually as loud as other models. It’s suitable for those with partial hearing loss, but those with more serious hearing issues will most likely find it inadequate. Prices start at £57.
- Having four handsets means you can benefit from amplified volume, no matter where in the building you are
- Modern design and easy setup
- Nuisance call block and caller ID
- Built-in answerphone
- With four handsets for £57, it’s a bargain
- Not as loud as other models
- Some reviews suggest the sleek design means the handset is prone to slipping out of the holder if replaced in a rush
4. Amplicom Big Tel 1200
Best amplified phone with visual alerts
This very affordable phone is hearing aid compatible and suitable for people with severe hearing loss. It has a very loud ringer (80dB on the loudest setting – around the sound of a vacuum cleaner), and also gives a visual alert (flashing light) for incoming calls. Prices start at £50
- Very loud, with a ring volume of up to 80dB and a voice volume of up to 30dB
- Visual alert for both calls and alarms
- Large buttons and amber backlight makes it suitable for those with impaired vision, too
- Very affordable
- Basic functionality and interface, but gets the job done
All of these phones have a lot to offer those who have difficulty hearing, whether at home or in the office. The best one for you will depend on the severity of the hearing loss being catered to, and what other features you’re looking for.
If you have one or several employees who suffer from hearing loss, let us help you find the solution that’s right for all of you. Fill in this short form with your requirements, and we’ll put you in touch with the best suppliers to meet your individual needs.
1. What are textphones and who are they designed for?
Textphones are for people with profound hearing loss, who are unable to hear amplified telephones. They allow you to send and receive calls by typing and receiving text. They usually need an analogue line. Expect to pay between £250 and £300 for the models described below.
This phone has a full-size keyboard and a large, clear screen displaying multiple lines of text. With a simple on-screen menu, it is one of the easiest textphones to use.
The Screenphone is a flexible phone suitable for all hearing levels. It is hearing aid compatible and can be used as an amplified phone, standard phone, or textphone with an optional keyboard. Easy to use, it has a large screen which can also display answerphone messages.
This textphone sends and receives messages on a two line, 80 character display. It can be connected to a voice telephone so that you can speak your call and receive text back, or type the call and listen to the response. An additional software package is available for connecting the phone to the computer.
Talk by Text
For under £50, this software is a cheaper alternative to a textphone. It allows you to make and receive real time text calls over the internet from your computer. There is an optional pre-pay account for calling ordinary phones and textphones.
2. What are the best amplified mobile phones?
There are several amplified mobile phones on the market, which are hearing aid compatible and mostly suitable for people with moderate hearing loss. Some also have Bluetooth to give connectivity to neck loops and ear hooks. Prices range from £60 to £170.
This phone has a loud adjustable ringer, plus a vibration alert. It has strong amplification for people with moderate hearing loss and does not create much hearing aid interference. There is a large screen and the text is clear. It is Bluetooth compatible, with 230 hours standby time.
This model has all the features of the PhoneEasy 510, plus Bluetooth, and is suitable for people with severe hearing loss.
3. How else can employers support employees who are hard of hearing?
The NHS recommends several ways employers can help those with hearing difficulties be happy and productive in the workplace.
- Ensuring there is good lighting in the building, particularly around the employee and in any meeting rooms, to aid lip-reading
- Moving the person with hearing loss to an office with good acoustics
- In cases of severe hearing loss, providing a speech-to-text reporter or interpreter
- Providing employees with portable hearing loops for off-site training and away days