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Telephony for people with a hearing impairment

The University has recently undertaken a large project to replace the telephone system.  The new system is called Chorus, and it is a flexible tool which will allow you to handle telephone calls in some sophisticated ways.  However, Chorus is a VoIP telephony system, which means that existing analogue equipment such as amplified phones or in-line amplifiers will not work.

Consider your phone use.  Do you need to make confidential calls?  Do you work in a noisy environment?  You may need to try several options to find the solution that works best for you.  The costs of any additional equipment should be met by your department as a reasonable adjustment for disability.

With Chorus, phone calls can be made and received in several different ways:

  • Using a deskphone.
  • OpenScape desktop.  This is an application installed directly on your computer.  This will require a USB headset, which you can select from the following supported devices.
  • Using the web portal to select a preferred device to make and receive your calls.
  • OSMO (OpenScape Mobile).  This is an application you can install on your Android mobile or iPhone which will allow you to make and receive calls using your University extension number.

Deskphones

Three basic deskphones are being offered, the IP35, the IP55, the IP60, and CP600.  The IP60 and CP600 are Bluetooth enabled and offer the most options to support people with a hearing impairment, so we suggest that you request this. 

If you use hearing aids, you may find that you get noise interference if you hold the handset to your ear or try a headset.  A possible solution is to use a Bluetooth neck loop.  This will transmit the sound from the phone directly to your hearing aids.

Alternatively, some headsets are marketed as hearing-aid compatible, so you may want to try this.

Examples of Bluetooth hearing loop are the Artone or the CM-BT2 neck loop.  You may want to check whether your hearing aid supplier recommends a particular product.

Some hearing aid manufacturers offer their own products for use with phones.  For example, the Phonak EasyCall, or the Oticon Streamer Pro.

Please bear in mind that the chorus team cannot provide support for these 3rd party devices, because it is not their area of expertise.

Making calls through your PC: OpenScape desktop

Making phone calls through OpenScape desktop may allow the user a greater range of volume adjustment than with a desktop phone.  You would need to be able to use one of the USB headsets suggested above.  You would also need to contact your IT support team to ask them to install this application. 

Openscape desktop and the web client also offer an instant messaging service, so people with a hearing impairment may want to request that this feature is turned on for themselves and colleagues with whom they work closely.  Please contact the chorus team for further advice on setting this up.

The Web portal

You can use a preferred device to place an outgoing call via the web portal.  The advantage of doing this is that calls placed will appear in your call history as outgoing calls, and will display to the other person as coming from your Chorus number.  This is useful if, for example, you are working in a different location for the day and want to use a local desk phone to make calls but for recipients of your calls to see the displayed number as your Chorus number.  It also means that you can select your mobile as a preferred device.  You may find that the call clarity and volume is better for you on your mobile, or it may already be configured to work with your hearing aids.

Using OSMO

The OSMO (Openscape Mobile) application allows you to access the chorus features using your iPhone on a wireless connection.  You can make and receive calls, access voicemail and change settings such as the preferred device.  This may also be a useful option is you find that the speech quality is better on your mobile than on a deskphone.  Again, people may use a neck loop.

If you work in a noisy environment, you may find it useful to be able take your mobile to a quieter location for your call.  Similarly, if you do not have a permanent work location, or need to travel this may be a good option.

It is recommended that you don’t rely solely on forwarding calls to your mobile, but also use a web portal or desk phone as backup.

Need help in considering options?  Contact us

IT support: chorus@it.ox.ac.uk

The Occupational Health Service:  enquiries@uohs.ox.ac.uk

The Staff Disability Advisor: caroline.moughton@admin.ox.ac.uk

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 9 October 2018