Phone Captioning for Employees with Impaired Hearing

Duke offers confidential captioning for employee phones

To assist employees with hearing loss, Duke's Disability Management System now offers secure and confidential captioning on Duke-owned Cisco phones.

The captioning service, called ClearCaptions, allows an employee to turn on the captioning service and see a script of what the other party is saying on the phone's digital screen. Like closed captions on TV, this allows an employee to hear and read the conversation. No extra equipment is required, and the captioning can be turned on and off by the user.

Bianca Taylor, assistive technology coordinator for Duke's Disability Management System, said about 20 percent of the U.S. population has some level of hearing loss. 

"Phone use can be very frustrating for people with hearing loss because they have no visual cues such as body language or lip reading to help them catch the message," she said.

The ClearCaptions service combines automatic voice recognition software and live interpreters to provide real-time, highly accurate captioning. The captioned information is handled confidentially, and is not stored once the conversation is completed, Taylor said.

Employees can register for Clear Captions at no charge. The form requires an employee to identify as having a hearing loss. The Duke's Disability Management System keeps this information confidential.