Consumer Information Energy Telecommunications
Elizabeth S. Jacobs
Nick Wagner
Board Member
Sheila K. Tipton
Board Member

Captioned Telephone Service (CapTel™ Relay)

The State of Iowa offers a service designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone. The captioned telephone service, called CapTel™ Relay, provides captions for the telephone similar to the closed captioning provided on most television programs. CapTel is a technology that allows individuals with hearing loss to view word for word captions of their telephone conversations. CapTel phones are useful for individuals who have good speech but do not hear well over the phone. For more information about CapTel, check out the CapTel web site at, or call CapTel customer service at 888-269-7477.

Similar to a traditional telephone, the CapTel™ phone allows callers who are hard-of-hearing to talk and listen to individuals who use a traditional phone. The CapTel phone also allows the user to read word for word captions of the other party’s conversation on the CapTel’s built-in screen while listening to the voice of the other party. Captions are provided by a specially trained operator who “re-voices” everything they hear from a hearing user into the voice-recognition technology, which converts speech into the text so that it can be read on the CapTel phone’s screen. The captions appear almost simultaneously with the spoken word, allowing CapTel users to understand everything that is said - by both hearing it and reading the display.

How to Apply for a CapTel Phone

Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI) administers the Iowa Utilities Board’s equipment distribution program and provides equipment to qualified individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking, to enable them to use the telephone. The CapTel telephone is available to qualified individuals through  the TAI program. For more information on how to apply for a CapTel phone, or other types of specialized telephone equipment, contact:

Telecommunications Access Iowa
6925 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322
800-606-5099 Toll-free Voice
515-282-5099 Voice
515-282-5130 TTY
866-954-4107 Videophone
515-237-3917 FAX

*CapTel is a trademark and service mark of Ultratec, Inc.

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