By Kathryn Menue
BOONE COUNTY – Hearing loss can be a life altering affliction that is a common occurrence for people worldwide.
According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, “48 million Americans have significant hearing loss,” 14 percent of which are in the change of life between 45 and 64-years-of-age.
The odds of hearing loss only increase with age. One out of three people will experience some degree of hearing loss after the age of 65 and two out of three people will experience certain degrees of hearing loss after the age of 75.
In Illinois alone, there is an estimated two million people who have some degree of hearing loss.
Fortunately, there are services that cater to people experiencing hearing loss. There are even services available in Boone County that will help make hearing a little easier on the ears.
Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation (ITAC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing free specialized telephone equipment to people with hearing loss.
The new telephone is the Clarity BT914, a cordless phone that “amplifies sound up to 40 decibels. According to ITAC, this phone can pair with just about any landline and multiple cell phones via Bluetooth ®, and is hearing aid compatible so users can enjoy clear amplified calls on either their standard or cell phones.”
The telecommunications technology also features a “large, easy-to-read Caller ID [for the visually impaired], digital answering machine, tone control and amplified ringtone options that can be programmed for different lines and devices.”
The new phone system pairs with over 200 phone services, so residents are almost guaranteed the new product will work in their homes.
This new device can come at no cost to senior citizens and other people suffering from hearing loss in Boone County. All Boone County residents interested in the new telephone system can go to ITAC’s website at: to submit an application for the product.
To be eligible for this phone product, Boone County residents must apply, show they are legal residents of Illinois, have a working phone service in their residence, and have an application signed by a medical professional indicating they are unable to use a standard phone system.
Once approved and residents receive the new product, they can travel to the local RAMP facility, located at 530 S. State St. in Belvidere, to have the phone tested. Please make an appointment ahead of time by calling (815) 544-8404.
Residents of Boone can also visit the Belvidere location to pick-up an application for the phone system.
“Our programs are free and our goal at ITAC is to enhance the lives of Illinois residents with hearing loss, by providing them with the latest, most-effective communication tools at no cost,” Trudy Snell, executive director at ITAC, said.
“We are excited to offer Boone County residents the BT914—this new amplified phone can truly make a difference for those with varying degrees of hearing loss.”
For more information or to view the available equipment, go to The website features more information about ITAC, equipment programs, applications for products, and additional resources, because, “ITAC programs are required and governed by state and federal law.”
To find out more information, please call toll-free at (800) 841-6167.
About ITAC
ITAC “is a not-for-profit corporation that has been issuing free equipment since 1988 with the purpose of providing telephone access to Illinois residents who are hard of hearing, late deafened, deaf, or deaf-blind.
We have 40 selection centers around the state where you may test and choose the equipment that works best for you.
State law requires all Illinois landline phone companies to distribute free, specialized phones to the hearing disabled.”
ITAC “set up by those Illinois landline companies, is distributing the phones to Boone County residents” at the RAMP location in Belvidere located at 530 S. State St. They can be reached at (815) 544-8404.

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