- Written by Jim Miller Jim Miller
Dear Savvy Senior,
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 one that he can hear on.
– Looking Around
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, and enhanced sound and are hearing aid compatible too.
Here are some top options.
If your dad isn’t locked into a cellphone contract, there are three senior-friendly options to consider, all from no-contract cellphone companies.
One of the best is GreatCall’s Jitterbug Flip (www.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 versus confusing icons.
It also offers voice dialing, a powerful speakerphone, a built-in camera, and a variety of optional health and safety features:
• The 5Star medical alert button would let your dad call 24/7 for help and speak to a certified agent who could identify his location and dispatch help as needed.
• The Urgent Care service provides access to registered nurses and doctors for advice, diagnoses, and prescription refills.
• GreatCall Link is a free app for family members. If your dad calls 5Star from his Jitterbug, app users will receive an alert on their smartphone.
If your dad prefers a smartphone, Jitterbug’s Smart2 has a 5.5-inch screen, front-facing speaker, a simplified menu, a voice-typing option, and a 13-megapixel camera with flash.
As with the flip phone, Smart2 includes the 5Star urgent response button and the safety features listed above.
Another excellent option is the Doro PhoneEasy 626 sold through Consumer Cellular (www.consumercellular.com, (888) 345-5509).
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 preprogrammed number.
Another budget-friendly cellphone you should look into is the Snapfon ezTWO for seniors (www.snapfon.com, (800) 937-1532).
This is a bar-style phone that provides big buttons, a color screen, enhanced volume with a speakerphone, and a speaking keypad.
There is also 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.
Or, for an additional monthly fee, you can subscribe to their sosPlus monitoring service, which will dispatch help as needed.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.