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This review is of the Geemarc 250 Single phone, which is a digital cordless phone but with built-in amplification for those with hearing problems.
Although I don't personally need the amplification offered by this phone, a relative has need for it, and I've been impressed at the quality of the phone and the features which it offers for those with hearing problems. The first thing is that it does look like an ordinary phone, and can of course be used as an ordinary phone if necessary, but there is the option of increasing the sound so that anyone with hearing problems will be able to hear the entire conversation more easily.
One feature which is missing is the facility to record message, as there is no answering machine facility within the phone, so users would have to use another product to help with this. Possibly as a more cost effective solution however, they could just use one of the answering machine facilities offered by BT instead such as 1571.
The phone doesn't have a large number of general features, the most useful it does have however is the capacity to store 50 numbers for quick dialling, which is probably enough for many people. Entering them can be a bit time consuming and fiddly, but once they're in, this is a very helpful advantage.
The features which the phone does have however are primarily to do with hearing, and it's compatible with hearing aids. I'm not an expert on this and am just going on what I've been told with respect to this feature, but apparently it's easy to use with hearing aids.
The unit is bright enough with its in-built light to be easily seen, and the ring is loud to alert users that the phone is ringing. The unit rings in both the phone and the base unit, as well as there being a vibration option, all essential features in a phone for this market. Extra headsets and units can also be purchased from the manufacturer if necessary.
It might be more useful if there is an option to just answer the phone when picking it up, without needing to press any buttons, although it's quite easy to get used to this quite quickly. The range of the phone is also reasonable, and the base unit beeps if the phone is starting to go out of range. Although we don't have these, additional handsets can be connected to the phone, which I imagine is relatively easy to install.
We've had this for a couple of years, and it cost around 70 pounds when originally purchased. The model seems to be harder to find now, and can be more expensive, although the additional hand-sets can be picked up relatively cheaply (for around 15 to 25 pounds) for those who already have the phone.
Although the phone is harder to obtain now, I'd recommend this product for those that can get it for a reasonable price. Ideal for those who are hard of hearing, the amplification is clear and effective, and there are useful features such as the vibration of the base unit. The unit seems robust and reliable, and hasn't become damaged even though it has been dropped onto quite a hard surface a couple of times. Overall, recommended.
After a Geemarc recall, this has been renamed the Amplidect 350. Although the product has been renamed, it still has all of the same features.
Working in a hearing aid centre, I have plenty of time to play about with these products and test their features. The 250/350 is one of my favourites as it looks like any other wireless landline phone. However, with an adjustable speech volume of up to 30DB, it is anything but ordinary!
The phone has most basic features, such as; a phonebook that holds up to 50 numbers, speaker phone and caller ID. However, it also has an adjustable ringing volume so that the hard of hearing will never miss a phone call again. Incase you still struggle to hear the phone ringing, there is a shaker option which makes the phone vibrate to alert someone of a call.
The phone can also have up to 4 additional handsets. You don't always know where the phone is so this can help if you have extra handsets upstairs, for example.
When discussing telephone options with customers, I tend to give them a demonstration of the phones. I will take one of these and call another of our phones in the reception from another room and have a conversation with the customer to show them how much difference an amplified telephone can make. We will then swap positions so that they can try the Amplidect 350. Most customers prefer this phone.
Speech can be increased to, up to, 30DB to allow an easier conversation without asking the other person to constantly repeat themselves. The phone is also hearing aid compatible, so you do not risk losing your hearing aid every time you use the phone!!