Technology Assistance

This is a convenient downloadable technology assistance summary for your reference. The list is not exhaustive, it is best for a CHS Communication Devices experts and employment consultants to help you match a communication device or system to the needs of your employees and organization.

Wireless Doorbell Notification Systems

Wireless doorbells can be installed outside any door and transmits the signal wirelessly to the accompanying receiver which flashes a powerful strobe light to notify that someone is at the door. Doorbell systems can also be linked to a personal pager for a tactile alert to a doorbell. Wireless doorbells can be used to alert to someone at an office door, a main door to a building or other area that an employee needs to be aware of the presence of someone at a door..

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

An ALD, using one of several platforms such as FM or infrared, brings the speaker’s voice (form a microphone) directly to the ear, helping to eliminate problems posed by distance and surrounding noise.  ALD’s help people with hearing loss to receive the information more clearly and completely in meeting or classroom situations. ALDs can be used alone or to complement hearing aids and visual cues.

  • Large-Area FM systems: FM systems are relatively inexpensive, simple to install, reliable and deliver high-quality sound to the listener and are the most widely used sys Using a receiver and headset, the sound from a microphone or PA system is transmitted directly to the consumer so they can hear from anywhere in the venue. This is good for conferences and larger meetings.

  • Personal FM systems: These are excellent for one-on-one interactions and small group interactions. For example, a presenter clips the microphone to her lapel, taking care to repeat any questions or comments from others in the small group, to ensure that persons who are hard of hearing do not miss any informat A conference table microphone can also be used as an alternative to the lapel mic.  The conference mic will pick up sound from around the table.

  • Personal FM can be incorporated into hearing aid or cochlear implant (CI) processors. A wireless microphone transmits sound to the hearing aid of the user. The microphone is for small group conversations with the option to zoom sound on a particular segment of the group.

  • Infrared Systems: Infrared systems operate through the modulation and transmission of infrared light, which is captured by a line-of-sight receiv Because the transmission does not pass through any opaque surfaces, such as walls, curtains or people, this system can provide meeting privacy and is good for court houses and board room meetings for example.

  • Portable Counterloop Systems: Speech is picked up by the microphone and the sound is carried directly to a telecoil enabled hearing aid or a receiver and headset by the hard of hearing pe This minimizes background noise. This is good for a close distance workspace and eases communication between employees or between an employee with customers (for a bank teller or salesperson at a desk for example.

  • Communication Access Realtime Translation Services (CART) known as Real-Time Captioning (RTC), much like court reporting, is provided by a professional captionist trained to convert speech verbatim to print, and is commonly displayed on a television screen, monitor or laptop making meetings, discussions and presentations accessible. A highly trained captioner records the communicated message that is read inst Captioners bring and set up their own equipment. This can be used in mid-size or large group meetings and conferences. RTC should not be used as a substitute for interpreter services between ASL and English. Some individuals prefer and ASL/English interpreters while others prefer real-time captioning.
On-site CART Services
  • a CART writer is on location for the meeting or other event
Remote CART Services
  • a CART writer has access to the meeting from an off-site location
  • Deaf or hard of hearing individuals log onto a secure website that carries the CART transmission
  • users can access the service from single or multiple locations
  • CART transmissions can be displayed on a laptop, large monitor or LCD projector for the benefit of all participants

CART Services are provided by CHS Interpreting and Translation Services.

  • Computerized Note-taking is provided by a trained typist who uses a laptop to summarize the key spoken message The person with hearing loss usually sits beside the note-taker and reads the messages on the computer screen.
  • Writing Notes can ease the flow of conversation when obstacles occu Key points should be highlighted to ensure that the important information is conveyed. Use either paper and pen, or type on a keyboard to display messages on a computer screen.
  • Open Captioning, whereby the dialogue and sound effects on a video are displayed across the bottom of the screen, works without the use of a “decoder”.
  • Closed Captioning (CC) appears only through the use of closed caption decoder circuit All TVs 13” and larger manufactured after 1993 have built-in decoder circuitry. Closed caption provides the option of selecting the captions or not.

Captioning In-House. You can caption in-house, training, PR and promotional videos that you post on YouTube. After you have added your captions to your video, list your video as “public”. Captions are of benefit with a limited budget. It makes spoken video more accessible to the Deaf community and sign language video more accessible to the hearing community. For YouTube captioning instructions, refer to the Deaf Artists and Theatres Toolkit, Website and Vlogs. That said, captions are not the answer for all. For many individuals, written English may be their second or third language.

Text to Text

  • Face-to-Face Communication devices allow two users to type conversations back and forth, in real time. This can also be done using cell phones and laptop computers. Text to text is helpful at counterpoints, deskside conversations and in loud environments.

Voice to Text Apps

Voice to text apps convert spoken words to written words.

  • Apps are available on any device that allow each person logged in to the conversation to see what the other participants are saying (speech to text). The cell phone or tablet is used as a microphone with the translation showing up on all the participant’s phone.

  • Some voice to text apps can translate voice into text in English or other languages and is available over all platforms. It can be used with a powerpoint program for business use. It has a mode for one to one conversations and one for group conversations.

  • Cell phones and some computer programs also have embedded voice to speech support programs which can translate voices when used in a notes, text or other programs.

Please be advised that speech to text is a very useful tool, however, it is limited by the noise in the environment, distance from the microphone, and clarity of voices and accents of the speaker. It does not replace an interpreter, captioner or other live supports.


Distance Communication

Telephone System Amplification

  • Hearing aid compatible telephones: Many hearing aid users find they can hear better over the telephone by using the telephone program (T-switch) on their hearing aids. The T-switch picks up the magnetic field produced by the receiver of telephone.
  • An in-line amplifier device can be plugged into a single or multi-line telephone handset, significantly increasing the volume of the existing telephone.
  • Some hearing aids have Bluetooth capabilities through the use of a streamer. Bluetooth allows the sound from a telephone to transmit directly to the hard of hearing staff member’s hearing aids, emphasizing clarity and volume control. Bluetooth can be connected to a Bluetooth enabled telephone or via devices used to Bluetooth enable a standard business phone.  A CHS Employment Services staff can help you to understand the Bluetooth needs of your employee.
  • Telephone Ringers: Ringer volumes are adjustable on some phones, including tone ringers that convert the ring of telephones into a more easily heard frequency range. Adjustable add-on loud ringers are available, although loud ringers may not be appropriate in an office environment

Text Telephones

  • TTYs (Teletypewriters - also known as text telephones): TTY or TTY-compatible devices are telephones that use typed conversation to communicate on standard phone lines between TTY users. TTY telephones consist of a keyboard and small LED display. Some TTYs are used in conjunction with conventional phones, while others plug directly into the phone jack. Computers can be configured to function as a TTY through TTY software. There are many styles of TTYs.

    TTY’s are not used as commonly in the Deaf community today since text messaging, emails, video relay service and remote CART services exist.

    Relay calls using a TTY: If both the caller and the receiver have a TTY, the call can take place directly person to person. If, however, one of the parties does not have a TTY, they can still communicate through a telephone relay operator using a toll-free number.

    Please see your telephone service provider for the 1-800 number used to access the Relay operator, then ask to be connected to the phone number of the Deaf or hard of hearing person.

    • Relay service operators have a strict code of ethics to ensure confidentiality.
    • Telephone or TTY Alerting Devices: alerting or signaling devices indicate that the phone is ringing through a visual signal such as a flashing light, or through vibration. 

    Video Relay Services and Video Remote Interpreting

    Video Relay Service (VRS) allows ASL users and hearing individuals who are in different locations to communicate over the telephone and video in real-time, using a sign language interpreter.  Calls are placed by either party through a VRS interpreter, the ASL user connects via video and the hearing caller uses the landline or cell phone.

    Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), (in contrast with VRS) has both the deaf and the hearing person located in the same room and the sign language interpreter is located in an offsite office and interprets via video.  Please contact CHS Interpreting Services for further information.

    For detailed information see SRV Canada VRS.


    • Videoconferencing is an effective way of connecting staff and clients when travel time and expense are issues. Interpreting and Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) can also be incorporated into videoconferences, via Skype, Zoom, Facetime and Cisco Webex.


    Computer technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Here are some adjustments that are currently available to enhance computer communications for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

    • Auditory cues, such as beeps and bells, can be replaced with visual cues - screen or cursor flashers, pop-up windows, etc.
    • E-mail and chat software can be installed to allow Deaf and hard of hearing workers to communicate easily and in real time.

    E-mail and Social Media

    • E-mail and social media have helped create a level playing field for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Email communication is a valuable tool for instant, inexpensive access to people and information. It is used in the Deaf community (by DeafConnect for example) for instant mass e-distribution of information.

    Paging Systems

    • Many types of paging systems are available, providing text, numeric and email services. Some workplaces use a paging system strictly for emergency situations.