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Landline Not Required! Use Your Favorite Amplified, Emergency, and Mobility Phones-Part One

Cobra PhoneLynx with HD50JV

PhoneLynx with HD50JV Phone and Android Phone

What do you do if the best phone that works for your needs was made for a landline and you only have cellphone service? At IPAT, we work with many people who need specialty landline phones in the areas of amplification, no-fee emergency pendants,  and phones for people with physical needs , but they only own a cellphone.  Bluetooth (BT) landline adapters change the game and allow one to use these specialty phones when only cellphone service is available.

How Do They Work?

These adapters connect to a regular landline phone via standard phone cord and connect to a cellphone via BT-see picture.  As long as you have service to your cellphone and a power source for the landline phone and BT adapter, you can set this system up just about anywhere.  Once they are paired via BT, then all the user has to do in the future is bring the cellphone within range, and it should automatically connect to the adapter.

To answer, hangup, or initiate a call, you would use the landline phone just like you normally would if it was hooked up to your home service. The difference being that the calls are actually passing through your cellphone, which can be Android based, a basic phone or an iPhone.

XLink with Emergency Pendant Phone

XLink with Emergency Pendant Phone CSC600 and Android phone

Our Experience

From our research, BT landline adapters all provide the basic ability to connect to a landline phone and use it to make and answer calls. They allow you to make use of all of the features of most landline specialty phones such as amplification and clicking on a emergency pendant.  They also alert the user by using the ringer of the landline phone, which will really come in handy if a person has a hearing loss or they have silenced their cellphone.  In addition, many adapters have other features such as the ability to hook up to more than one cellphone and the ability to use the voice commands of the cellphone or smartphone.

We tried the following two adapters with a basic feature Samsung phone with StraightTalk and a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon:

  • Cobra PhoneLynx (approx. $18) This adapter can link to 2 different cell phones and comes in a version that works with an Android App to control the voice commands of your cellphone.
  • XLink (approx. $45) This adapter can link up to 3 cellphones and allows one to use the voice commands of either Android or iPhone.

We have found that these two BT landline adapters allowed us to use all of the features of the following specialty phones:

During the first experience, we noticed a lot of white noise on the line when using both adapters; however, the people on the receiving end of the calls reported clear sounds and good quality.   Use of a DSL filter between the adapter and the phone reduced the white noise.  Further testing revealed that this noise was eliminated when we moved out of range of other devices that used 2.4 MHz.

We tried to use the voice commands and hands-free mode of an Android cell phone with several of the specialty phones and found it to work well with either adapter, but only if the cellphone was not password protected. Standard swipe-away lock screens worked fine.

Bluetooth Connection

Many of you are probably wondering about the Bluetooth connection; does it automatically connect when the user comes within range?  We found the answer to be “yes” for both adapters and phones after some experimenting.  The Galaxy Note II had no problem connecting unless it was connected to something else prior. If this was the case, I had to go to the Bluetooth menu and choose the BT adapter.  The Samsung basic phone needed the standard lock screen to be off in order for it to connect automatically.  In addition, we found that BT headsets cannot be used simultaneously with these BT adapters.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Bluetooth landline adapters are a great solution when one only has cellphone service and wants to use a specialty landline phone.  After testing these for the last couple days, I feel it is important to remember that whatever phone/cellphone/adapter combination you use, you will need to experiment to get the best connection and the best function of all the features.  Always check to make sure you are connected each time, usually indicated by a signal light on the adapter, especially when using it with a safety pendant.

These adapters are now available through our Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program, iCanConnect Program,  and available for demonstration at our centers. Call 1-800-895-4728 for more info or email ipatinfo@ndipat.org.

Check out Part 2!

Further Reading

Landline Not Required! Part 2: Landline-Style Phones for Hearing Loss

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Emergency Alert Pendants without monthly fees have been available for several years; however, they did not have Fall Detection. Up until recently an emergency pendant with fall detection was only available...


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Amplify Your Cell Phone at Home

The number of older American adults relying on their cell phones over the use of a landline to make calls at home is growing.  Those older American adults that have a hearing loss can now enjoy amplified...


4 Comments on “Landline Not Required! Use Your Favorite Amplified, Emergency, and Mobility Phones-Part One”

  • david carthy March 13th, 2015 5:48 am

    Are the BT adapters available in Ireland or the UK. If so where?
    Cheers
    DAVE

  • IPAT March 13th, 2015 9:26 am

    Hi David-you would have to contact the companies to see if they would ship to you. For the Cobra Phonelynx I would contact the main company: https://www.cobra.com/contact-us
    For the Xlink here is their contact page: http://www.myxlink.com/contact_us.aspx

  • Colin June 19th, 2015 3:44 am

    Hi I currently have an a Med-El ABI Sonnet processor with Phonak Euro-Port Wireless which communicates to an FM device. For me it is a a trial -anything to get the best from my ABI. The Phonak receiver (Phonak Rodger Pen) has Bluetooth and connectivity to android and ipones. My precept with phone conversation if the first in many years. I have a Captel phone and am interested in you mention of Captel for connectivity. Could I use the configuration I have described of Phonal / Med-El ABI and use one of the adaptors you describe to interface between the Captel and my receiver. I look forward to your reply. Regards Colin

  • IPAT June 29th, 2015 9:00 am

    Hi Colin-The potential is there, but without having your device, I could not say for sure. I will email you with more information. Jeannie