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Verizon Wireless Enables Hearing Impaired Consumers To Experience Wireless Communications


National Hearing Awareness Month Provides Opportunity for Exclusive In-Store Product Demonstrations of HATIS Communication Tools for Hearing Impaired

BEDMINSTER, N.J./PRNewswire/ --
Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, announced it will provide the opportunity for hearing-impaired consumers to test and own a headset that makes it possible to use a wireless phone -- in many cases for the first time. Together with Hearing Aid Telephone Interconnect Systems® (HATIS®) and in honor of National Hearing Awareness Month, Verizon Wireless underscores its commitment to this customer segment by providing communication tools that are specifically designed to notably reduce interference and background noise for the hearing impaired when using wireless phones.

The HATIS Freedom™ model will be available for customers to sample in more than 1,200 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores beginning May 15, 2002. Verizon Wireless is the only service provider with HATIS devices in stores for demonstrations and sale.

HATIS, a leading assistive communications company, develops headsets and earpieces to work with T-coil hearing aids, giving hearing-impaired customers with such hearing aids the convenience and security of being able to use a wireless phone.

The Freedom is a Behind the Ear earpiece with a solid cable connection -- which prevents loose connections and enhances sound quality. The Freedom model is priced at $119.99. The Verizon Wireless online store at http://www.verizonwireless.com also sells another HATIS hearing-enhancement device for wireless phones -- the Producer™, an In the Ear boom microphone headset that can be tailored via volume control to the user's degree of hearing loss, so the user can leave their hearing aid in place when talking on their wireless phone. The Producer offers a lightweight hands-free communication package to the hearing-impaired and retails for $189.99.

"Approximately 30 to 40 million of the U.S. population is hard of hearing and we're proud to offer one of the best devices on the market to a segment of this population, giving them the chance to experience the convenience of wireless communications," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless. "Our relationship with HATIS enables us to offer more ways for the hard-of-hearing to communicate, so whether talking or text messaging, they can be in touch wherever they go."

"By including HATIS in its product offering, Verizon Wireless is providing an important market segment with access to wireless telecommunications," said deaf CEO William L. Morgan, of HATIS. "It is important to partner with Verizon Wireless and bring simple, affordable, wireless solutions to the hearing impaired community. The mobility and convenience of wireless telecommunications experienced by hearing people, can now translate into empowerment, self-reliance, and independence for hearing aid users. It's a giant step forward to complete telecommunications access for the hearing impaired."

Consumers with a T-coil hearing aid interested in trying the HATIS Freedom can visit one of the more than 1,200 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores starting May 15, 2002 for free product demonstrations. If the consumer chooses to order a HATIS communication device, a Verizon Wireless representative will help the customer facilitate the order, either in the Verizon Wireless Communications Store or through the company's online store.

Customers interested in ordering the HATIS Producer or Freedom models online can go to the Verizon Wireless Accessory Access(SM) Home page at http://www.awpheadset.com/Verizon/hearingaidproducts.asp. Customers can enter the brand and model of their wireless phone and the site will display compatible hearing aid products to meet their needs and phone requirements.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE:VOD; LSE). Find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.

About HATIS Corporation

HATIS introduced the first hearing-aid telephone interconnect headset in 1991 and is recognized as the standard in telephone headsets for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. HATIS is the only patented hearing disability product of its kind currently available for hearing aid users to test in advance on cell phones through a wireless carrier's national stores. HATIS provides hearing aid users communication access for mobile, corded and cordless phones. A privately held company, HATIS is the foremost supplier of specialized telephone and audio headsets designed to meet the comfort, clarity and compatibility requirements for hearing aid use. The company's products eliminate electromagnetic interference and distortion created between hearing aids and digital cell phones. HATIS products are sold through a global distribution network of authorized HATIS dealers to meet the needs of a worldwide hearing-impaired population estimated to exceed 560 million in 2005. Customers include Fortune 500 companies as well as government disability programs. Learn more about HATIS at http://www.hatis.com.

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective manufacturers. Portions of this document may constitute "forward-looking statements" as defined by federal law. Although the company believes and such statements are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that actual outcomes will not be materially different.

 
 

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