NOT in person is right…meaning when I am not in plain live view of you. I had to dig back into my past and I mean WAY back in my past to find that first website and the page that talks about my hearing and how to communicate with me. Click here to see and read it….
Lets fast forward to today and here is a picture of my newest toy, the CapTel 800i telephone.
What this phone does is it displays what the caller is saying on the screen. The service is maintained and supported by Sprint Relay. I’ve been told that the service uses voice recognition software but there is still a human being on the line. When a call comes through or I make one, I always get an operator number as well as whether the caller is M or F. Then the text starts flowing.
It is not by any means perfect. Factors that can degrade the performance include heavy accents, fast talkers, soft talkers, use of highly technical words (I am a computer programmer, remember?), a slow internet connection, the length of the caller’s conversation, etc. In it’s ideal world, the text will start flowing 5 to 7 seconds after the caller starts talking. Its like the CNN anchor in Atlanta asking a reporter in Baghdad a question. Notice how the reporter is standing around as if they didn’t get it and then all of a sudden, answers.
Depending on the factors, the lag could stretch out to 10 to 15 seconds. One time, I used it for a conference call and at one point during the conversation, someone asked me a question. There was one small problem…everyone had already hung up! It turned out that the question was asked 5 minutes earlier.
But it is better than what I had which was…nothing! For those job calls, it will come in handy. In the meanwhile, if you are calling me please speak slowly and clearly. And please do understand that there will be a lag and I won’t answer right away. If you prefer, I can breathe heavily just so that you know I am still on the line.
There are other ways you can communicate with me. You can find me on instant messenger (Google Talk, MSN, yahoo). You can email me. You can visit me at home or work. You can bump into me on the street. If you are within driving distance, I can come out to you. If you aren’t, well…you can send me a plane ticket.
So as you can see, there are ways to communicate with me despite my hearing disability. And the same can be said for the countless others who have the same. There is one other thing I would like to point out. Nothing has stopped a deaf person from living life to its fullest. It’s just that the speed bump is a little higher….