Clarity, a division of Plantronics, and ClearCaptions have announced the launch of the second generation Ensemble telephone, a captioning phone that displays text of conversations in near-real time on a large color touchscreen while also amplifying voice so users can see and hear what callers are saying. The Ensemble phone’s touchscreen is designed to make phone calls more accurate and understandable, says the company, reducing the anxiety that many people with hearing loss feel around using the phone, and also reducing the risk that critical information is missed.

“If you have hearing loss, phone conversations can be frustrating and have a large impact on feelings of isolation and disengagement,” said Carsten Trads, president of Clarity. “We’ve teamed up with ClearCaptions to create a sophisticated home phone using the latest in tablet technology, captioning and amplification to make conversations more accurate, understandable, and ultimately enjoyable for millions of people across the US. For these individuals, this is really much more than a phone—it is a lifeline connecting them with the world.”

According to Clarity, when an individual places or receives a call on the Ensemble telephone, the other party’s words are transcribed through ClearCaptions, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-certified telephone-captioning service that is similar to closed captions for television. As the user listens, the conversation automatically appears on Ensemble’s touchscreen display in a large, easy-to-read font. There is no fee for using the ClearCaptions service.

Clarity reports that, through Ensemble’s voicemail and Call Log, users can go back to previous conversations to review what was said—a feature designed to ensure that details, such as addresses, phone numbers, or doctor instructions, are not missed. Additionally, the Ensemble speakerphone is said to be loud and clear, allowing for hands-free conversations where individuals can use both ears to hear the caller while also reading the captions.

“If you have hearing loss, captioning is vital to normal life,” said Bob Rae, CEO and president of ClearCaptions. “Whether it’s a conversation with a doctor or a call with a financial advisor, ClearCaptions on the Ensemble makes it absolutely certain that you hear and understand the conversation correctly. In the end, that not only means you can understand the medication instructions from your doctor, but you can hear about your grandchild’s day, listen to loved ones wish you happy birthday, or simply enjoy a chat with an old friend.”

In addition to captioning, the Ensemble telephone amplifies the incoming voice so users can clearly hear and understand the conversation. It features a patented digital sound processing technology that functions like a hearing aid to make soft sounds audible and keep loud sounds in a comfortable range. The makers report that users can adjust the tone or amplification settings to customize Ensemble to their unique degree of hearing loss.

More information about the Ensemble, powered by ClearCaptions, may be found at

Source: Clarity, ClearCaptions