Laura O. Robertson, Au.D

Doctor of Audiology

(603) 528-7700 • Toll Free (800) 682-2338
Fax (603) 528-9623

211 South Main Street
Laconia, New Hampshire 03246


Having Trouble Hearing Phone Conversations?

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Many people have trouble understanding conversations over the phone.  There are ways to help!  Some options are FREE.

For your phone at home, there are a number of phone models available where you can read what people say, yet talk back just like you always have, through the handset.  These phones give you a screen where you can read the text.  Some even allow you to read messages left in voice mail.  This is called a Voice Carry-Over phone and it can significantly help improve your understanding of a conversation and answer questions accurately. It’s a bit like having captions turned on for your TV. Understanding what is said over the phone, and giving accurate responses, is especially important in case of emergency.

If you have a computer modem in your home already, and you have trouble hearing clearly over the telephone you can visit your local audiologist for a hearing evaluation.  If that evaluation indicates you have hearing loss, he or she can set the process in motion for you to receive a VCO phone.  VCO phones that work through a modem don’t cost you any additional money. All expenses for VCO phones are paid for by the taxes we all pay on our phone bill.

If you do not have a computer modem, there are still options available to you.    Please contact Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Inc.  This organization houses the state-funded NH-TEAP and Relay NH programs.  They are located in Concord and can be reached at: 603-224-1850 (Voice) or 603-968-5889 (Front Desk Videophone).  Their website is:  The people at NDHHS and Relay NH will help you find a phone that works for your needs. Their program provides assistance for any costs incurred.  For some people, it will be free and some people will receive a  telephone at a reduced price.

There are several suppliers of VCO phones.  I have been advised by my patients that some suppliers and products are more efficient than others at captioning a phone call.  This efficiency affects both how quickly the captions appear and how true to the conversation they are. 

The options described so far all require that you have a land line.  Some people have given up their land line and thus are unable to use the VCO phones described here.  A patient recently advised me of an option for captioning calls that come in via a mobile phone.  If this is something you feel you need, contact  The service was well appreciated by the patient who told me about it.  It works for Apple phones and phones using Android.  Their website indicates the service is free but only works within the United States.

Especially for many seniors, the only way they have to keep in touch with family members is via their phone.  These caption services can make communication easier for both sides who are trying to communicate.  Please don’t put it off any longer.  See your audiologist to learn more about your hearing and to get what you need to better understand conversations.

Lastly, you should know that the newest models of hearing aids work very well with cell phones and tablets.  They can behave like a Bluetooth headset, to allow you to hear voices directly within the hearing aids, amplified for your hearing needs.  This is a great way to enjoy face-time over a tablet, as well as to conduct a phone conversation.  See your audiologist to learn more.


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211 South Main Street • Laconia, New Hampshire 03246

(603) 528-7700 • (800)

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