Hamilton CapTel and Hamilton Relay, a division of Hamilton Telecommunications, Aurora, Neb, report that, starting on August 1, for the first time, captioned telephone services will be available to the residents of Massachusetts. Now, individuals who are hard of hearing will be able to see what they say on the telephone and not miss a word of their telephone conversations.

“Captioned telephone service has never before been available in the state of Massachusetts and we are thrilled to finally be able to offer this service to meet consumer demand,” said Frank Pozniak, executive director of the State 911 Department “This service is unprecedented in our state and we have worked for years to make captioned telephone a reality for those who need it.

"As a result of legislation passed in 2008, starting today we are delivering enhanced technology options to make lives easier for those individuals in Massachusetts who are hard of hearing," he added. "This truly is an important milestone for our state, and we are happy to be a part of this groundbreaking offering.”

Captioned telephone is similar to closed captioning on the television. Using a CapTel phone and a standard telephone line, users can listen and read what the other person on the telephone is saying to them on a large, bright screen. Captions are available in English or Spanish. The CapTel phone is free to Massachusetts residents who qualify, ensuring that everyone who may benefit from Hamilton CapTel will have access to the service.

“Relay services for individuals who are hard of hearing have been available in Massachusetts for years,” said Monna Wallace, director of programs, for the State 911 Department “We are now taking the next step forward by delivering captioned telephone services throughout the state. We are excited to add Hamilton CapTel to our list of available relay services, addressing the requests of many users throughout the State.”

For more information about how to access Hamilton CapTel and apply for a CapTel phone in the state of Massachusetts, call (800) 300-5658, or visit www.HamiltonCapTel.com or www.MassRelayEDP.com.

“We are thrilled to offer this service in Massachusetts and to deliver freedom and greater independence for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone,” said Dixie Ziegler, VP of Hamilton Relay. “Captioned telephone exists because every call is important. Our mission is to provide users with a top-quality telephone experience, eliminating the frustration of trying to understand what is being said during a call.”

MassRelay is a 24/7 service that enables people using a standard telephone to communicate with people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing individuals, or those who have difficulty speaking. CapTel service in Massachusetts will be funded by the E911/Disability Access surcharge that is assessed on landline and wireless phones, and is part of the disability access program administered by the State 911 Department.

[Source: Hamilton CapTel]