Local News

Device Allows Hearing-Impaired People To Listen To Cell Phones

Posted June 7, 2002

— If you have a cell phone, you know it can be hard to hear the person on the other side. Imagine what that is like for people who are hearing-impaired. There is new technology that is designed to keep phone conversations coming in loud and clear.

With a severe hearing loss since birth, Dan Coutcher relies on two digital hearing aids to help him work as a minister.

"If I lost just a little bit more, then I would have to use sign language," he said.

Coutcher does read lips, but you cannot read lips on a cell phone. With the new Hearing Aid Telephone Interconnect System (HATIS) headset, he does not need to.

The HATIS headset gives hearing-impaired users clarity.

"[I] put my hearing aid in a telephone mode and it cuts out all the sound, and the HATIS device makes it sound like I am talking to you right in your ear," Coutcher said.

"The HATIS headset eliminates electromagnetic interference between the cell phone and the hearing aid, so that's going to be a big benefit to our customers," said Carol Fink of Verizon Wireless.

Coutcher thanks the technologies of digital hearings aids and the HATIS device for making his life better.

"It can't take the place of normal hearing. It can only give me some tools to help me get where I need to get," he said.

The only place you can get the HATIS headphone right now is through Verizon Wireless and assistive products distributors across the country.

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