Facebook Twitter

Hearing-impaired get help with wireless device

SHARE Hearing-impaired get help with wireless device

DENVER — With a flip of a switch on his hearing aid, lawyer Sam Cheris now can use a telephone much as he did before he experienced hearing loss.

Fort Collins-based Able Planet's newly launched technology is being offered in two products, a telephone and a hands-free set for a cell phone. The patent-pending technology works by communicating wirelessly with a telecoil in hearing aids and is designed to eliminate interference.

In tests conducted at Colorado State University, people using Able Planet phones had scores of 81.6 percent when it came to discriminating words, compared with 52.6 percent using traditional handsets that are compatible with hearing aids, inventor Jo Waldron said.

Waldron, who is deaf and uses Able Planet to talk on the phone, doesn't promise to help everyone, but says it is another choice for the estimated 34 million Americans with mild to profound hearing loss.

Able Planet's hands-free product for cell phones costs $34.95. The land-line phone runs $65.95.