Jonathan O'Dell will be our speaker in May. Click here to go to Mass Commission  website. Jonathan O'Dell, MCDHH

Jonathan O'Dell conducted an interactive workship on dealing with hearing loss on May 30th at Dennis Public Library. "A Different Take on Hearing Loss, -or, Why We Can Be Our Own Worst Enemies" focused on a cultural approach to hearing loss.  He will talk about how individuals with hearing loss are affected by it and how it shapes their entire lives, and rarely in a positive and productive way.  Your hearing loss should not be your most defining feature.  Could you be blaming hearing loss for changes in your life? Watch for more information.

TELEPHONE RELAY SERVICES with Moira Hennessey of MassRelay

Saturday, October 25


Moira Hennessey, MassRelay Community Relations Manager, explained the services of MassRelay, a part of the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety.  It is important for everyone to be able to use the phone in an emergency, and that is the reason for the existence of these services.

  • Captioned Telephone  (CapTel)
  • CapTel for Smartphones
  • Voice Carry Over (VCO)


 CapTel Captioning service transcribes the caller's spoken words into written captions, using voice-recognition technology. The captioning service is free to users; its cost is covered by the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) fund as part of Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Massachusetts Equipment Distribution program is for Mass residents who qualify.  A Doctor's signature documenting a hearing or vision loss, or other problem is required on the application.  Recipients receive FREE communications equipment.


Contact Moira by email at
or call or text  413-464-3392.

Moira Hennessey, Community Relations Manager,  MassRelay Moira Hennessey, Community Relations Manager, MassRelay

It was very useful to see the equipment in use.


Jonathan O'Dell

Assistive Technology Manager for the

Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


HELP!  Smartphones Aren't Making Me Smart!

 Jonathan will be sharing his program with us, and it will be here for downloading shortly.  Jon has moved to an Android phone from his Iphone and is very happy with it.  He warned us to check the service area maps on each phone carrier's website to be sure that the location you live in, work in, or travel in will have coverage.

March 29th Medical Insurance Coding with Marita Cable and Ken Cable-Camilleis


This fascinating peek behind the scenes of how the medical billing system works was quite a wake up call.  The amount of detail required from the doctor and long numerical codes required for billing explain why the system is so slow and medical insurance bills can be frustrating to make sense of. It's always worth making a call to get more information, either from the doctor's office or the insurance company if a bill seems incorrect.


Complete details will be posted soon.

International Image for Hearing Loss and Assistance International Image for Hearing Loss and Assistance

February 22

Better Communication with and for Family Members

Karen and Bill Olivier


A fascinating and informative meeting.  Bill is a LICSW, licensed clinical independent social worker.  He and his wife Karen, a special education high school teacher, raised a deaf son who is now a college professor studying for his doctorate.  They described how they adjusted to the news that Michael was deaf, how they advocated for him, and how Michael advocated for himself.  They also shared some of their many helpful contacts.  Watch this space for more details.



The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health offered free equipment to people who are deaf or severely hard of hearing in Mass. with a FEMA grant which expired at the end of 2013. There may still a limited amount of equipment available.

   The equipment is:  

  • Gentex Strobe Smoke Alarms
  • Lifetone Bedshakers
  • First Alert Smoke Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
  • Silent Call Strobe Carbon Monoxide Detectors


Contact:  Sheila Harris, Project Coordinator
MDPH Fire Injury Prevention
for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
250 Washington Street 4th floor
Boston, MA. 02108-4619


Phone: 617-624-5458

email is

Fire Safety -- January 25th, 2014.  Fire Safety Instructors Captain Buck Mabile and Firefighter Justin White, Harwich Fire Dept.



An excellent presentation and slide show full of tips.  

  • When cooking, stay by the pan.  If you have to leave the room, take a wooden spoon or a dish towel with you to remind yourself to return to the kitchen ASAP.
  • If you awake to a fire, do not sit up in bed because the smoke and heat rise.  Keep your head down and crawl to the door or window.
  • Do not try to open the door.  FIRST, touch the door with the BACK of your hand to see if it is warm.  The door handle can get very hot and burn you.
  • If the door is hot, go to an alternate exit like a window.
  • If you have called the Fire Department but cannot get out the window, SIGNAL to the firemen using a white cloth or towel.  l check around the building when they arrive at a fire, looking for people who are trapped.


911 is Enchanced 911.  It can locate where you are if you call on a landline.


Board member John Tanner shares this scary experience:
Fire is one of the major concerns for the hearing impaired community because we are unlikely to pick up the sounds that warn us of a fire presence. This is especially true when we are not in our home. While our homes may have been specially wired to give us visual and/or vibrating clues that a fire detector has been activated, the homes of friends and of those business that cater to the traveling public may not have these visual and/or vibrating clues.

In my travels for the United States Department of Agriculture, my per diem allowance often meant that I was staying at hotels or motels that did not have equipment to aid the hearing impaired community. I have never been in a situation where any of these hotels or motels had a fire; however, I did have one of those “what if” situation at one of the hotels.

This situation occurred when I had my research crew doing some Japanese beetle Biological Control Research on the United States Air Force Base (AFB) in Dover, Delaware. Surprisingly,the hotel we stayed at was reasonably new. We all had our own room and when I checked in, I told the front desk staff that I was hearing impaired. I was told that all the smoke alarms had strobe lights and as far as I can remember, I was told that they did not have bed shakers.

One morning when I met the research crew to head to the AFB, everyone was talking about how they had to evacuate the building the previous night because lighting set off the smoke alarms. There was no fire but everyone was surprised when I said “what thunderstorm and what evacuation!”

When I mentioned this to the hotel staff, they were surprised that I didn’t know about the evacuation and it was then that I found out that yes, all the smoke alarms had strobe lights but that they were only located in the hallways. The rooms had smoke detectors but no strobe lights. However, I am not sure that having a strobe light alarm in my room would have awakened me, as I am a very sound sleeper.

Download and read the following article about safety in hotel fires.


How to Survive a Hotel Fire
Practical tips on surviving hotel fires, edited from from "Warning:hotels could be hazardous to your health" by Retired Captain R. H. Kauffman of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Downloaded fr
Adobe Acrobat document [219.1 KB]

Cynthia Stead, Director of Sight Loss Services, Inc of Dennisport.  Sept. 28, 2013

A short excerpt from her excellent talk:

This is that we feel is very important:  If you lose your sight, you are the same person you always were.  You aren't nicer, you aren't smarter, you're no difficult.  You have the same interest, you have the same love of activities.  You just can't see. 

And that's the other component that we stress, are adaptive aids, like this room.  That's something that's changing.  I think for a long time, a lot of people said, I can't do that, I don't want to ‑‑ I don't want an iPhone, a Kindle, it's just too hard.  No, I'm not going to do that. 

We have six ladies who meet in Eastham, all of whom are 80+, recently joined by a gentleman who is totally blind.  He was showing them how he is able to read e‑mails on his iPhone.  And one of the ladies said, if he can do it, maybe I should give it a try.

You have things like that available to you too.  I think older people with hearing loss do exactly as Bill McCormick said in the introduction ‑‑ they tend to avoid, tend to try to cope in their own way but they don't want to really go out there because it means accepting something that's very bad.  Same with visual loss.  They are very similar in a lot of ways.  Usually they aren't covered by insurance, they are not ‑‑ with medical doctors so much, but they are with ophthalmologists and audiologists, so there is a part of the AMA that needs training.
It is almost as if everything above the shoulders, teeth, eyes and ears, are all in their separate land, and they don't receive the same type of attention in medical circles.
There are two special agencies in the state, when you think about it.  There is the agency for deaf and hard‑of‑hearing and there is a commission for blindness, and neither one is a part of the Department of Public Health, which sets healthcare policy.
So you would have to be very effective advocates for yourself, and you are doing your job as evidenced by the fact that you have a loop system in this room. 

If you have any questions about vision loss, I would urge you to contact us, and I have one thing I want to say to this group, and again, I don't want to be nothing but the bearer of bad news, but I think it's something you should think about.
I asked Jerry yesterday, I said, this program for the deaf and hard‑of‑hearing is fine, but I will speak tomorrow to a hearing loss group that many ‑‑ as far as I know, they do not yet have blindness, or eye disease.  What information do you want them to have?  When you can't hear the talking watch and you can't see the dial, what do you do? 
He said, at that point about the only thing you can do is to learn Braille.  And he said, I understand a lot of people with eye disease, they don't want to run out and learn Braille anymore than they want to run out and rent a telly.
Just because you lost your sight doesn't mean you all of a sudden want to become a linguist, but it is about the only thing that the truly deaf‑blind can use to communicate, to use to make a note to themselves or anything else.

There is a place called the Hadley school ‑‑ where they will teach you Braille online.  If any of you who are already hearing‑impaired are diagnosed with an eye disease, you ought to think about taking that step on your own behalf to begin to learn Braille so that you will be able to continue to be active and continue to communicate in the future. 

Q: when are your monthly meetings and where are they held? 
A: It is different in every town.  The Dennis meeting is on the third Wednesday of the month, and it is over at Church of the Nazarene. 
Also, while we do hold meetings in the different towns, you do not have to go to your town's group.  There is a gentleman who lives in Dennis who prefers to go to the Brewster group because there are several blind veterans as well, and he enjoys getting together with the guys.  The Brewster group is the first Wednesday of the month at the Brewster Ladies Library. 
[APPLAUSE] Now I will turn the meeting over to Janet Boudreau of the Lions Club.

March 23, 2013   Paula George  Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority


On, March 23rd, 2013 Paula George, Deputy Administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, presented a lengthy list of public transportation options available through CCRTA to residents and visitors of Cape Cod that will make life easier for many.  The prices are extremely reasonable, and senior citizens pay half fare.  "Charlie Cards" can be purchased at half fare for MBTA transportation.  Information and applications for identification cards are on the website,

We thank her for taking the time to come and speak to us so that we can investigate all the options.


The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority is the public transportation system for all 15 towns of Cape Cod. It is to Cape Cod as the MBTA is to the 60 communities that they serve. CCRTA support comes from your tax dollars; whether it is federal, state, or local.


Fixed Route (year round) Monday thru Saturday – hourly

(Sunday – summer only)


Sea Line Service travels from the Hyannis Transportation Center to the Woods Hole docks in Falmouth.


H2O Hyannis-Orleans travels from the Hyannis Transportation Center to the Stop & Shop complex in Orleans (east route) and to Star Market in Harwich Port (west route.) Transfers are available in Harwich Port.


Barnstable Villager Service travels from the Transportation Center to Barnstable Village.


Flex Route Service provides flexible bus service from Star Market in Harwich Port to Stop & Shop in Provincetown. (Flex means It deviates ¾ mile from the fixed route to pick up and discharge passengers.)


Bourne Route travels from Sagamore Park & Ride to Mashpee Commons in Mashpee via Bourne.


Sandwich Route travels from Sagamore Park & Ride to Hyannis Transportation Center via Sandwich.


Fixed Route has “flag down” service, which literally means if you are not at a bus stop when the bus comes by you can raise your hand and flag it down and the driver will stop to pick you up. Another good service is if you are waiting at a stop and the bus is late, call the 800 number with your cell phone and give the call taker your location. They have a GPS automatic vehicle locator to contact the bus, find out why the delay and when the driver will pick you up and where.


Demand Response Service (year round)


ADA Paratransit Service is door-to-door, shared ride service for eligible individuals who are unable to use the fixed route service. You must be covered by ADA. Applications are available from CCRTA. It is comparable to the fixed route service schedule in that it operates within the ¾ of a mile of the fixed route service areas.


DART Service (Dial A Ride) is a daily general public, door-to-door, by appointment, transportation service available to all Cape Cod residents for any reason. It is a shared ride service and priority is given to disabled, seniors and medical appointments.


Boston Hospital Transportation runs four days a week, by reservation, to fifteen Boston area hospitals. The BAT has bus stops in Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Harwich, the Barnstable Commuter Lot, and the Sagamore Commuter Lot.


Human Service Transportation: The RTA provides contracted transportation for the consumers of Mass. Health, the Departments of Development Services and Public Health, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Elder Services, Cape Cod Child Development and VNA of Cape Cod.


Accessible Transportation Program: RTA has coordinated with Habilitation Assistance Corp. to provide accessible transportation to anyone on Cape Cod who is severely handicapped to destinations on or off the Cape. RTA provides the vehicles, fully equipped, and Habilitation Assistance Corp. provides the trained drivers.


Mobility Assistance Program: Paratransit services, coordinated with Councils on Aging, provide Mobility Assistance Program vehicles to transport seniors to adult supportive day programs across the Cape.


Seasonal Service


Provincetown/North Truro Shuttle provides service from MacMillan Pier to the First Pilgrim Park, Herring Cove Beach, The Province Lands Visitor Center and Race Point Beach. This shuttle also runs from MacMillan Pier to Route 6A, North Truro.


WHOOSH Trolley provides trolley service that operates from Falmouth Mall down to the Steamship Authority in Woods Hole.


Hyannis Area Trolley provides free Trolley service from the Hyannis Transportation Center to Main Street, the Ocean Street Docks and the Steamship Authority Ferry Docks.


There is a new summer weekend TRAIN service (starting Memorial Day) called CAPE FLYER which is MBTA Purple Line service from South Station in Boston to Hyannis Transportation Center. It will make all the commuter stops down to Buzzards Bay and then continue directly to the Hyannis Transportation Center.


For further information and fares for any of these programs, contact the Transportation Center at 800-362-7155 or TTY-800-439-0183. Website:


Adjusting to Hearing Loss-- with Brainstorming  Jan. 26, 2013


At the HLAA national convention in Providence in  June 2012, Sam Trychin, Ph.D., presented a workshop on Loneliness Related to Hearing Loss.  He said that hearing loss is a communication problem and talked about a “centric circle” theory, which shows that your hearing loss is "not just about you.” Visualize an ever widening group of circles where the first, central circle, is “you” enclosed in a larger circle encapsulating your communication partners, i.e.: those people who are closest to you – family, friends, etc. Outside that circle is another, wider circle within which are the individuals you communicate with every day, but not as intensely as your communication partners, such as the people you work with. The final circle has those you have vital conversations with but not every day – doctors, audiologist, car repairman, etc. It becomes obvious there is a need to think about how to best handle communication in various situations in various ways.  There is no one best way, but the important daily communication with family should get a lot of attention because it is so easy to fall into bad habits and stop trying to communicate.


Then we did brainstorming to solve communication problems such as: what to do when going to a restaurant where there will be noise to contend with. Not ever going out to a restaurant is not necessarily a good solution!  In brainstorming, there is no one right or wrong answer.  Every response is written down as quickly as possible with no discussion. Some suggestions were: to call in advance and ask for a table in a quiet corner; to sit in a booth, to be willing to change seats in a group so that you are sitting next to different people at different parts of the dinner.  Another participant brought up the idea of getting tough with ourselves. For instance, admit you have hearing loss and ask for amplification and/or clarity when someone is speaking.


The small group brainstorming session consisted of four groups discussing one idea each with a leader and notetaker.   Again, there were no right or wrong answers; we were just looking for ideas and suggestions to jumpstart some creative thinking.


The first group discussed how to be more forthcoming about your hearing loss. “Don’t fake it” was the central theme. Admit you can’t hear and tell others so, then ask them to speak more clearly and slowly. Don’t pretend you can hear if you can’t as that only leads to misunderstandings which lead to frustration which leads to a desire to chuck it all. And that accomplishes nothing.  Be willing to say I have a hearing loss, please speak up.  Sit in the front row at lectures.  Wear a special button that says, "please face me--I lipread." Don't wait until people have been talking for a while, make your "confession' right away.  In a doctor's office, tell the doctor as soon as he or she comes into the room, I don't hear well and need to lipread.  Make sure the doctor faces you and speaks slowly.  Have a list of questions ready.  Maybe even give the doctor a copy of the questions.  Tell your friends to shave off their mustaches. 


Another group examined how to adjust to hearing aids. This question was the primary reason for our meeting and was proposed by John Tanner.  People have unreasonable expectations as to what a hearing aid will do. It will not return normal hearing. Use them for a while, then stop for a while. Discover the difference with and without the aids. Build up to the new sounds. Work with your audiologist for adjustments. Research shows that your hearing actually changes. Continue to see your doctor and audiologist for the life of the hearing aids, which is three to five years. If you don't get any satisfaction from your audiologist, try another one.  John provided excellent printed information about why adjustment to hearing aids was so important--the current research that indicates people can physically and mentally deteriorate by not treating their hearing loss.


The third group’s topic was the hearing impaired and how they are accepted in the workplace. Or not accepted, as the case may be. This group decided to analyze the situation of hearing impaired people not given opportunities within the workforce. Hearing loss does not mean mental impairment but jobs are lost because of it. It appears to be the social issue that causes them to be at a disadvantage. Hearing impaired people need to be out in the workforce and, thereby, visible, to dispel the idea that they cannot communicate in a professional way.  They should contact Human Resource departments at work, and local, state and federal authorities when necessary.  Be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legal help.


The final group discussed what can the Hearing Loss Association take part in? The main goals of the organization are advocacy and education. Encourage CART and other assistive hearing devices be used at public meetings in each town. Get information out to the public, for instance, there is now captioning with eyeglasses at Regal Theatres and more to come. Go public by advertising in newspapers and magazines like VITALITY. Tell speech teachers and school systems. Make our voice heard!  Its a communication problem, not just YOUR problem!


Anyone can brainstorm solutions by sitting down with a piece of paper and a pencil.



Safety First--with Det. Sgt. David Jacek, Harwich Police

in which we discuss dangers on the road, at home, in emergencies and from financial scammers.


Dave Jacek, Detective Sergeant on the Harwich Police Force for over 32 years and a director of the Citizens Police Academy in Harwich, spoke about how to increase safety at home and in your car.


This covers a number of circumstances such as what to do when in an emergency with a hearing loss. What to do when you are stopped by a police officer and can't hear them? What to do when you call 911 with an emergency and you can't hear them over the phone? Some people with hearing loss cannot read lips. One question that comes up is, what do you do when you get pulled over by a police officer and you have a hearing loss?


Sgt. Jacek suggested to have a card made up and clipped to your registration form in your glove compartment. This card has in bold letters, I am deaf or hard of hearing. I can read lips a little but not all. Hand this card to them with the registration and most times if not all, 99% of all officers he says, will just say have a nice day or the officer will just hand it back to you and give a warning to drive safely. Many in the group agreed the signs would help. Vice President Anne Saimeri offered to make helpful cards for our chapter. Great idea!  If you're a member of the group - come to a meeting - and get your very helpful postcard.


House break-ins are the next worry for people affected with hearing loss. Here on the Cape because of the drug problem, we have had many house breaks in the last few years. The number of robberies is increasing, due to drug addictions like heroin, in which addicts steal enough to buy a day's worth of drugs, so they are always looking for a fast easy way to get into your house. They may knock at the front door, and if no one answers, go around to the back to break in.


Many of us may not hear a knock at the door, so it is important to be watchful of unusual activity in your neighborhood and call the police. Do not worry about whether you're wrong. Dave suggests to keep your doors locked at all times -- when you are in the house and when you leave the house. Keep an eye on your neighbors' homes at all times. Anything suspicious, don't hesitate to call your local police. Even if it looks like a worker at a house, if you havenʼt seen it before and your neighbor hasn't told you they were expecting workers, or a car is in the driveway you don't recognize, call the police. The police will come and if its a legitimate work call, then they will just leave, but it pays to be alert and notice differences in your neighborhood. It's not being nosy, it's being careful and helpful to your neighbors.


You should also get a light that goes off when the phone rings, a flash that keeps going off to let you know your phone is ringing. Use that same device, wire, when a window is broken or a door is open- have that same light flash to let you know if someone is getting into your house. Because most of us can't hear if someone is making a noise in our home.


An audience member suggested keeping your car keys close by at night and hitting the PANIC button if you have an intruder.


Massachusetts 911 fund gives free equipment, assistive devices, including a captioned telephone, if you meet financial guidelines. Contact information is:

website with applications

Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program, Taunton MA


telephone 800-300-5658 V/TTY Fax: 508-828-2595


If you call 911 from the Cape,the call first goes to Bourne, then the call is transferred to your town. It's very fast, just a few seconds. And if you have a cell phone, because most people donʼt use a land line anymore, that call goes to Framingham or Middleboro first, then sent to your town. A bit disturbing, but he just wanted us to know that fact.


There is a 711 number to use if you are hard of hearing or calling people who are hard of hearing, or to call a person with a TTY. It is the Massachusetts Relay Service, in which there is an operator who lets a hearing person know there is a relay call. The operator reads what the TTY is typing. End your sentence with “go ahead” so the deaf person knows you have finished talking. A great service to use, at no charge.


Also, for everyone, not just the hearing impaired, use 211 for non emergency calls. This is where to make reports of problems, and also to get information, rather than calling the police.


Dave wants everyone to be aware of the Citizen Police Academy in your area. Ask about it and possibly get involved. You get a chance to ride in the cruiser and see what an average day in a policeman or woman's life is. And you go to a driving range to learn how to shoot a gun. Learn about narcotics on the Cape. Accident investigations -- what we can do and what we can't.


One person in the group wanted to remind Dave as a liaison from hearing loss to his police department and others to remind them of people with hearing loss and to pass the word-- that safety is a special concern for those of us with hearing loss.

Distraction from a passenger while driving was another issue we discussed. It's hard for us to drive and look at the person(read lips) at the same time. So someone suggested to put a pin on your visor, I'm hard of hearing, donʼt talk, be quiet. It seems that older people are distracted when driving and this is a major accident problem. So keep a good plan in place to be tactful to your passengers to remind them for you and your safe driving.


Anne asked about text 911. They do not have in our area or anywhere on the Cape. At the convention, a program called Next generation 911 was mentioned- reaching out to communicate with disabilities. Verizon is moving ahead to using 911 text, but not every family area will be capable of receiving this. Ask your local fire department/police department if they have it and how they can get it in your area.

A more direct number to call in your area that will go directly to your dispatcher in your town is 508-432-1212 (that is for Harwich only). Call your local police department for their number and that will get you through to your area quicker than 911- here on the Cape. If you call from a cell phone, but have an area code that is different than where you live, how will they know where the emergency is? Your cell phone has a GPS in it and they will know where you are with your cell phone and the phone that is making the call.


Dave also said that if a police or fire truck with a siren is coming from the opposite direction from where you are driving, you do not have to pull over. They donʼt have to try to get by you because they are driving in a different lane than you. Your driving is not interfering with them. Many people in the group did not know this. They were grateful for this clarification.


In Harwich you can sign up with the water department to get a direct call about an emergency situation.. Call your local town to find out how to get a direct call in case of weather emergency and any kind of emergency. You have to fill out a form to let the town know your phone number(cell or land line) and an automated call will go right to that phone.


FYI those of us who have children in schools, there is a school reach program that calls all the students in the schools on the Cape to let them know of cancellations, information, meetings, weather, emergencies. An automated phone call that the principal can pre-record and send out to all students. Another great service.


There are a lot of scams out there and geared toward senior citizens, Dave says. You have to be careful. Many have to do with sending money that was received through an email or phone call. One in particular was from a person who emailed to an aunt stating he was in jail, in Georgia and needed $2000 to get him out of jail. She went to the bank and was ready to send it but the bank teller asked her to whom she was sending it and they followed up on it and it was a scam. Her nephew was from Georgia so that made sense for her to send the money. If an email says you won the lottery and you never signed up or entered it, it's a scam. In the Nigerian check scam, a check is sent to you in the wrong amount and they tell you that's okay just send me the balance and deposit the rest. Then the check bounces and you are out of some money. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isnʼt true. Always run things buy a young neighbor or family neighbor, they are usually in the know about what is true and what is a scam. Never do something on your own. If you don't know something, ask a friend, neighbor, the police-- people will help you and check the internet for information-- Google it!


When someone calls and says 'Grandma' and you just automatically call out a name and now they have a name and it sounds like you know them. If that happens, ask, “now which one is this?” If they can't answer - hang up. Try and reverse the number and call the police. Or when you get a call collecting money for the police relief association department, ask where they are from or collecting from-- it may be another state which you donʼt live in. They may pressure you, but just simply say, no thank you and hang up. Donʼt send money to someone you donʼt know, or a company, or association. Look it up online to find out if it's a legitimate company, or call your local police department and ask them. Ask first, because once you send your money, it's gone. The federal government will not chase the money once its out of the country. And most scams send money out of the country.


Word to the wise....if you get a check in the mail, and it says "you won the lottery, cash this check and send back the rest"- donʼt do it, call the police, throw it away. It's not true, its a scam. When in doubt, throw it out! Be aware, ask someone, donʼt just do it because it sounds good, ask questions, you may be able to help stop the scamming.


Sgt. Jacek certainly gave us a lot to think about, and we are very grateful he took the time to come and speak to us. It was a very interesting and useful meeting.

Get Smart About Telephones


The topic of our May 26th meeting was GET SMART ABOUT TELEPHONES and we were treated to not one, but two communication specialists, keeping us up to date on the latest technology.


Karen Keefe of Sorenson Communications, Inc., showcased their newest telephone service, Caption Call. Similar to captioned television, CaptionCall uses voice recognition technology and a transcription service to quickly display written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. The free, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-funded service is delivered through the state-of-the-art CaptionCall telephone, which works like a regular phone. Customers make and receive calls as they always have.  All that is required to use CaptionCall is a high-speed internet connection, a standard home phone line and an ordinary home electrical outlet. A communications assistant listens to the caller and repeats the message into Dragon software which transcribes through the internet and pops up on the phone screen.


The phone can be hard wired to the internet near your computer or wireless, so long as there is a phone jack in the room. If you do not have a land line, it can be used with Vonage, Magic Jack Plus, or Yuma.


If you have caller ID with the telephone company, you can use the same access number and then read the messages on the screen. If you have an answering machine, just put the receiver on the mike and the message will show up on the screen. After a call is finished, the captioning can be re-read by using your finger to scroll down (or up). You can also download pictures the same as an iPhone or Android, along with contacts.


A communications trainer must install the phone which takes about one hour. This includes making the internet connection and then using your computer to register the phone for captioning to work. At the same time an account is created for you so you can add names and contacts on-line.


At present there is no charge for the instrument, the captioning services and installation. All of this is federally funded by the FCC, at least until the end of the year. However, the phone is loaned to you for as long as you want it.


Karen brought a phone and demonstrated its features. The phone is used with an internet connection, which makes both incoming and outgoing calls captioned at high speed. It will take messages and caption them for you, often a source of frustration for the hearing impaired.  Contact for information or check out the informative website,  which has captioned videos and directions on how to request a phone.  At the present time, there is no cost for the phone or the captioning. Karen or another representative will come to your home to set up the phone service.


Karen graciously fielded what seemed like hundreds of questions with knowledgeable responses. Karen or another trainer responsible for the Cape Cod area will make an appointment to come to your home and install the phone.




Following a 5-minute break, Jonathan O’Dell, the MCDHH Assistive Technology Manager and Training Specialist, brought us up-to-date on cell phone and smart phone technology. He focused on the few phones and services available to us here, on Cape Cod.


After describing the instruments to choose from; i.e., the cell phone, which is basically a wireless device that allows connections to a cellular network, and the Smart Phone, or iPhone, which is a computer with “remarkable capabilities,” it was obvious Jon would choose, and, in fact, has an iPhone. However, he did say if you only want to make calls and do texting, a cell phone would be the best choice. If you want computer access for e-mailing, surfing the web, music, pictures and all things computer based, the smart phone is your best bet.


One of the more important things to look for when purchasing a smart phone is the rating system, “M” for microphone and “T” for telecoil. FCC regulations are 50% of smart phones must have M4 or T4 rating so be sure it is not M3 or T3, which are older models. Along with ratings, be sure it has text and/or e-mail capabilities. In an emergency situation, if cell towers are inoperative you can still text so this becomes a safety feature.


The iPhone3G (meaning 3rd generation iPhone) is the standard today and means you can download at a specific amount of speed. Verizon is now pushing “4G” which is faster, but technically, 4G doesn’t exist. The ITU (International Trade Union) has a specification for what constitutes the next generation of phones and 4G does not meet it.


Before purchase, find out who serves the area you’ll be in. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have websites with coverage maps. Don’t get caught out in netherland with a dead spot -- make sure there is good coverage where you live and work.


When choosing a phone, there are different plans. A phone with no contract is called “unlocked.” Usually more expensive but not locked into a contract. A “subsidized” phone is covered with a contract, usually two years, but the instrument is less expensive. Read the terms carefully. There could be an early termination fee. Be sure you will remain in the area for the term of the contract. Check the small print to find the 30-day return policy which has no surcharges or fees. Then take the phone to different areas to be sure the coverage is complete for your use.


Apparently, the choice of phone is reasonably simple. Cell phone for calling and texting, smart phone for all things computer oriented. The many different plans, nevertheless, need to be examined carefully and thoroughly. Recommended: iPhone with an APP store contract, which should take care of most, if not all, your needs.


He will make his slide show available on our website shortly.