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Mobile phones 'have useful features for people with impaired hearing'
(31/01/2011 12:37:30)

People with hearing impairments who are thinking of recycling their mobile phone have been encouraged to buy a handset with a speakerphone function.

According to Which? Mobile, this can significantly increase the volume of a call and thereby enable a person with reduced hearing capacity to hold a conversation.

The consumer group acknowledged that this would mean their call would not be private, but said it could still be a very useful function.

"Many very basic phones won't have a speakerphone feature, so check before buying to make sure," it commented.

Which? Mobile also suggested that people with impaired hearing look for a mobile phone with easily accessible volume controls.

This, it said, could be important as they may need to alter the settings on a regular basis, depending on whether they are in a noisy or quiet location.

Consumers were then advised to make sure the ringtone will be loud enough for them to hear.

However, Which? Mobile noted that a vibrate function now comes as standard in nearly every new device, which means they will not need to hear the tone to be alerted to a new message or incoming call.

The organisation said these features could open up mobile phone usage to people who cannot afford specialised handsets that have been designed with the hard of hearing in mind.

Which? Mobile added that many of these handsets are inferior to regular devices, as they often lack "basic features" such as touchscreen displays and access to the internet.

According to charity group RNID, more than 8.9 million people in the UK are either deaf or hard of hearing.

Figures from the organisation also show that over 8.2 million Britons live with mild to moderate deafness.

As a result, about two million people are required to use hearing aids.

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