Free phones for hearing impaired

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

WELSH, LA.(KPLC) -You miss out on a lot if you can't hear but there's a program to provide phones that can help those with hearing loss. It's funded through the Louisiana Commission for the deaf.

At the Christmas Party for Welsh seniors, sponsored by the Jeff Davis Council on Aging you hear them playing bingo.  "N41, I16!  We have two bingos!" proclaims the caller.

At the party, bingo and the prizes are a big part of the fun. And if you cannot hear, well you miss out. It's even more important to be able hear your phone. That's why independent living specialist Daniel Daughenbaugh was at the party giving out special phones. "It allows them to have a home phone whether it be for their own personal safety, like to dial 911, or just to visit with friends and family because they can't get out on a regular basis to talk to them and be with them. It gives them a way to communicate with the rest of the community."

The phones have bigger numbers so it makes it easier for those who have trouble seeing but it's really designed for those hard of hearing like Mary Foreman. "My children and I are outside on the porch. The phone rings and I can't hear it. And they'll say, 'Your phone's ringing.' And a lot of time I miss my calls. That is very frustrating because I have to go on my recorder and see if anybody has called me."

Ginger Hargrave is hear getting a phone for her elderly relative aunt Alita Stewart. Explains Ginger, "She cannot see, she's blind and she barely can understand over the phone."  Says  Alita as she is handed her new land line, "I think it's nice. I can't see most of the time so the letters are probably big."

To qualify for a phone you have to show a driver's license, social security card and some proof of hearing loss. For more on getting a phone for the hearing impaired call or stop by the Southwest Louisiana Independence Center at 2016 Oak Park Boulevard. The number is 477-7194.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.