A July 18 article on the Pennsylvania State University website reported that a new phone system that includes a text-to-speech option helps hearing impaired staff members stay connected. Cheri Banks, who works in the Libraries’ Digitization and Preservation Department, was one of the first to get the new Internet-based call captioning service available on the University’s phone system. Banks, who is hearing impaired, said that although she graduated with a 4.0 GPA in business administration and additional training in accounting, she felt that she had trouble getting a job or being promoted because of her hearing impairment. “I was very honest in job interviews about not being able to use the telephone,” Banks is quoted in the article. “But marketing is very communication-oriented and being a Certified Public Accountant requires one to talk to clients on a daily basis, so I had trouble finding work or advancing in my careers.”
The calls are routed through a call captioning center, where a trained voice recognition captioner provides text captions on the telephone display. Banks said that she doesn’t have any qualms about security because she knows the service’s call captioning agents are working in regulated call centers that have been bonded and are under full non-disclosure agreements.