Chattanooga, Tenn. –– Plantronics’ Clarity division and ClearCaptions have teamed up to launch the second-generation Ensemble captioning home phone for the hearing impaired.
The Ensemble displays a text of conversations in near-real time on a large color touchscreen while amplifying voice calls so users can see and hear what callers are saying.
The phone 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.
Users adjust the tone or amplification settings to customize the Ensemble to their degree of hearing loss.
“If you have hearing loss, phone conversations can be frustrating and have a large impact on feelings of isolation and disengagement,” said Clarity president Carsten Trads. “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 U.S. For these individuals, this is really much more than a phone — it is a lifeline connecting them with the world.”
When an individual places or receives a call on Ensemble, the other party’s words are transcribed through ClearCaptions’ FCC-certified telephone-captioning service, which is similar to closed captions for television. As the user listens, the conversation automatically appears on Ensemble’s touchscreen display in a large font. There is no fee for using the ClearCaptions service.
Through Ensemble’s Call Log, users can go back to previous conversations to review what was said — a helpful feature to ensure details, such as addresses, phone numbers or doctor instructions, are not missed, the company said. Additionally, Ensemble’s speakerphone allows for hands-free conversations so the user can use both ears to hear the caller while reading captions.
The phone is also equipped with voicemail that plays back messages with live captioning.
Ensemble’s retail price is $75, and high-speed Internet and land-line service are required.