Phones for the Visually Impaired

Seniors often tell stories about "back in the day," when opening a window and shouting was the primary way they communicated in the old neighborhood. Nowadays, many of the people we want to stay in touch with are spread out over great distances. As a result, telephones are now an essential part of our daily existence. This is most true for seniors and others who are visually impaired and dealing with low vision, for a phone often becomes their main connection to the outside world. At the risk of overstating the point, phones can be a genuine lifeline for many people.

The best phones for seniors are often the same as the best phones for the visually impaired. For in many cases, amplified phones for the hard of hearing have a feature set that serves equally well the needs of those looking for low vision phones. There is often an overlap of desirable features needed by both groups which manufacturers satisfy in the same product.

Focusing on the main feature of low vision phones, the most prominent would be keypad size. Big button phones with large numerals are the hallmark for this category of telephone. Large number phones possess the major design accommodation needed to make this assistive technology effective for the majority of seniors and visually impaired individuals. Some phones have braille markings on buttons. Braille phones usually have more than just that one singular feature, which makes them useful even if the user is not blind.

When looking for either cordless phones for seniors or corded telephones, be aware that some vision impaired phones, in addition to being large number phones, also may have a talking feature. Phones with talking buttons announce which key you've pressed by speaking aloud the numbers as you dial. In addition to talking keys, these telephones may also have talking Caller ID, talking menu options, talking phonebook, and the ability to speak the time and date when requested.

Some models of big button phones have other popular features such as a speakerphone, built-in answering machine, and a visual ringer with blinking bright light. With modern technology, it has truly become a buyer's market with so many helpful features to choose from, all of which make using the telephone not a difficult chore but a joy.

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