Accesibility Features for Hearing Impaired Users – Cisco 7900 Phones

This post is dedicated to a request that was sent to me, and this is what I did in order to make it more understandable for my customer and Client Manager.

The request was basically that the client needed to support Hearing impaired users and needed to find a way to do it. In all the aspects I found out that Cisco provides a vast majority of features that are very accessible friendly that I did not noticed before.

I got most of the information from the following page:

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/cuipph/all_models/accessibility/english/user/guide/access_70.html

Our client wanted  a way do voice to text. Now there are few things that we need to point out for voice to text and other options:

1. Visual Message Indicator:
– On this one the user can go to the following page in order to change the settings: https://XX.XX.XX.XX/ccmuser (Where XX.XX.XX.XX is the IP address of CUCM)
– In order to configure access for the user to this page the user needs to be part of the following groups: Standard CCM End User and Standard CTI Enabled – Under User Management – End User
– The phone needs to be assigned to the user under Controlled Devices, also under End User – User Management

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2. Acoustic Coupled TTY Support (Handset):
http://www.weitbrecht.com/ultratec-st120.html
http://www.boundlessat.com/Hearing/TTY
http://www.assistech.com/tty/
This is a listing of some vendors that offer TTY devices.

****One more interesting finding, Cisco has a link that refers to the Accessibility Q&A

http://www.cisco.com/web/about/responsibility/accessibility/products/accessibility_qa.html In another note I wanted to mention the following two Q&A sections that would help tremendously,

Please read:
Q. Do TTY and TDD work over an IP telephony/voice over IP (VoIP) network?
A. Yes. Poorly designed IP networks with packet loss can degrade TTY and TDD performance. However, Cisco IP telephony networks provide reliable and comprehensive support for TTY and TDD services when the network is designed with quality of service (QoS), or prioritization, features.

Q. How do TTY and TDD devices connect to a VoIP network?
A. There are two types of connections for TTY and TDD devices: direct connection and acoustic coupling. The preferred method is a direct connection, where a TTY with an RJ-11 analog line option is plugged directly into a Cisco foreign exchange station (FXS) port. A TTY or TDD device can also connect by acoustic coupling, where the phone handset is placed onto a coupling device on the TTY or TDD.

3. Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) Handset:
– Plantronics webpage for HAC http://www.plantronics.com/us/support/kb/detail.jsp?vfurl=/articles/en_US/Product_Information/Headsets-for-Those-Who-Wear-Hearing-Aids&region=us&c=All
– Products: http://www.plantronics.com/us/support/kb/detail.jsp?vfurl=/articles/en_US/Product_Information/SSP-2714-01-Product-Information&p=&c=All&k=&t=&lang=en_US&popup=false
http://www.plantronics.com/africa/product/supraplus
https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=plantronics%20H261H

****Special considerations on this one, see Cisco’s disclaimer: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/collaboration-endpoints/unified-ip-phone-7900-series/prod_bulletin0900aecd8025f09b.html

4. Inline Amplifier Support (Handset):
– Cisco supports only two devices for this one (looks like they are the same), I see the same brand on both pictures: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/802116/Clarity-HA40-In-Line-Amplifier-For/
http://www.shop.bt.com/products/plantronics-eha40-in-line-amplifier-63Y0.html

5 Inline Amplifier Support (Headset)
– Cisco Unified IP Phone supports third-party Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) headsets that increase the volume range. Users connect the headset to the phone and then attach the inline amplifier to the headset cord. Same idea than number 4. Only that in this case we will be using a headset.
– Cisco refers to http://www.Plantronics.com for these devices, but they are the same on the previous bullet point.

6. Visual Notification of Phone State
– This one references the fact that you have lights or visual aids for every action you need on your phone live:
– Toggle the Mute and Speaker buttons on and off to indicate the state of the phone.
– Use the Mute button to toggle the microphone on or off. When the microphone is muted, the button is lit.
– Use the Speaker button to toggle the speakerphone on or off. When the speakerphone is on, the button is lit.

7. Adjustable Ring Tone and Volume
– Using the User Preferences menu on their phone.
– Adjusting the volume level for the phone ringer: while the handset is in the cradle, and the headset and speakerphone buttons are off, press the volume button to increase the volume.

8. Third-Party Accessibility Applications for the Hearing Impaired
– Cisco refers at technologies such as Paging http://www.singlewire.com
– Visual Notifications, also provided by http://www.singlewire.com
– Ability to provide single number services to support Video Relay, Text Relay, TTY Traffic or even voice services also provided by (www.singlewire.com)

There is also another Third Party, which I have never used http://www.nextalk.com – they are specialized on software geared toward hearing impaired and other disabilities. http://www.nextalk.com/Software/ACCESS/access.html

I hope this information helps simplify these type of engagements with clients and that you may find value on this article.

About the Author:

Andres Sarmiento, CCIE # 53520 (Collaboration)
With more than 13 years of experience, Andres is specialized in the Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies. Consulted for several companies in South Florida, also Financial Institutions on behalf of Cisco Systems. Andres has been involved in high-profile implementations including Cisco technologies; such as Data Center, UC & Collaboration, Contact Center Express, Routing & Switching, Security and Hosted IPT Service provider infrastructures.

You can follow Andres using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook

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