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Sunday July 5, 2015

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Simplified Cellphones for Seniors with Hearing Problems

Can you recommend some basic simplified cellphones for seniors with hearing loss? My 82-year-old father needs to get a new cellphone for occasional calls or emergencies, but he needs something that's easy to use and with which he can hear.

There are several simplified cellphones on the market today that are specifically designed for seniors - including those with hearing loss. These are basic cellphones that come with big buttons, easy-to-navigate menus, SOS emergency buttons, enhanced sound and hearing aid compatibility. Here are some top options.

Senior-Friendly Phones


If your dad isn't locked into a cellphone contract, there are three senior-friendly options to consider, all from no-contract cellphone companies.

A popular option is GreatCall's Jitterbug5 (greatcall.com, 800-918-8543). This custom designed Samsung flip-phone offers a backlit keypad with big buttons, large text on a brightly colored screen, and "YES" and "NO" buttons to access the phone's menu of options instead of confusing icons.

It also offers voice dialing, a powerful speakerphone, a built-in camera and a variety of optional health and safety features like the "5Star" medical alert button. This button allows your dad to call for help and speak to a certified agent 24/7 who can identify his location and dispatch help as needed. Other great features include "Urgent Care" which provides access to registered nurses and doctors for advice and diagnoses and "GreatCall Link" which keeps family members informed through your dad's phone activities.

The Jitterbug5 sells for $99 with a one-time $35 activation fee, no contract and calling plans that start at $15 per month.

If you're looking for something a little less expensive, the Doro PhoneEasy 626 sold through Consumer Cellular (consumercellular.com, 888-345-5509) is an excellent option.

This flip-phone offers a backlit, separated keypad that can speak the numbers as you push them, which is a nice feature for seniors with vision problems. It also has a big easy-to-read color display screen that offers large text with different color themes.

Other handy features include two speed dial buttons, shortcut buttons to texting and the camera, a powerful two-way speakerphone and an ICE (in case of emergency) button on the back of the phone that will automatically dial one preprogramed number.

The Doro 626 sells for $50 with service plans starting at $10 per month and no long-term contract. They even offer discounts to AARP members.

Another budget-friendly cellphone is the Snapfon ezTWO for seniors (snapfon.com, 800-937-1532) that costs under $20 with a $35 activation fee, no contract and monthly service plans that start at $10. If you don't want the Snapfon service plan (you can go through AT&T or T-Mobile), the phone is $80.

This is a bar-style phone that provides big buttons, a color screen, enhanced volume with a speaker phone, a speaking keypad and an SOS emergency alert button on the back of the phone that can sound an alert when pushed and held down for five seconds. It then sends a text message to as many as five emergency contacts and calls those contacts in order until the call is answered. For an additional $15 per month you can subscribe to their SOS monitoring service that will dispatch help as needed.

Shared Plan Options


If you want to get your dad a simple cellphone through your cellphone provider, most carriers - like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile - still offer a few basic cellphones that are inexpensive and hearing aid compatible.

AT&T offers customers the "LG A380." For Verizon users, there's the "Samsung Gusto 3" and "LG Revere 3." If you're a Sprint customer there's the "Kyocera Kona" and "Alcatel OneTouch Retro." And for T-Mobile users there's the "LG 450."

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published July 3, 2015

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University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
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