Accessibility in VoIP: Empowering Every User

As a relatively new communication technology, VoIP has become central to many business telephony operations. With this in mind, organisations should consider how they can make VoIP accessible for everyone. Doing so ensures nobody is left out when it comes to collaboration, training or even remote working. In this article, we’ll look at the challenges and solutions around accessibility in VoIP.

If you’d like to learn more about VoIP technology, what it is and how it works - our article ‘What is VoIP?’ has everything you need to know.

Compare Business Phone Systems
Rated 4.9
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
Google Logo

Trusted Partners

Challenges and Strategies for VoIP Accessibility

Before looking to improve VoIP accessibility, we need to understand the challenges, who they affect and the solutions available.

Hearing Impairment Challenges

If your business centres around your phone system, you’ll understand how essential high-quality audio is for communication across your workforce. It’s even more vital, however, for hearing-impaired people; as low-quality audio can present a range of challenges.

Difficulty understanding speech

Many hearing-impaired individuals require clear, distinct speech to comprehend what is being said. Low-quality audio can introduce distortion and muffled sounds into calls, making it difficult to pick out words and sentences.

Increased stress

Poor audio quality requires extra effort to make out what’s being said. Hearing-impaired individuals may need to concentrate harder, strain to catch words or ask customers or colleagues to repeat themselves. Over an extended period, this can lead to mental fatigue, lack of productivity, low job satisfaction and overall poor well-being.

Misunderstandings and errors

A drop in call quality can sometimes lead to distorted audio. The more distorted or muffled calls are, the higher the chance of hearing-impaired call handlers misinterpreting what’s been said, impacting both individual and team performance. 

Situations like these can also result in information being recorded incorrectly, or the wrong action being taken. This may lead to a domino effect of inefficiency, poor customer service and even reputational damage.

Lack of workplace involvement

Drops in audio quality may prevent hearing-impaired individuals from fully taking part in meetings, conference calls, or group discussions. They’re then unable to contribute ideas, collaborate with colleagues, keep up to date with important decisions and developments and feel part of the workforce as a whole.

Compliance issues

As a business, you have a legal duty to make your workplace accessible for disabled employees, including hearing-impaired staff. Not providing reasonable accommodations such as high-quality phone lines not only puts your staff and business at a disadvantage, but may result in legal issues around non-compliance with disability and accessibility laws.

What are the Strategies?

Audio amplification

For hearing-impaired staff, providing additional audio amplification may also help with issues around clarity and comprehension. Some of the options available include headphones with amplification settings or external volume-boosting devices. 

Bluetooth access

You’ll find that a lot of VoIP solutions are also Bluetooth-friendly, allowing users to pair hearing aids or other assistive technology with your system.

Video calling

Many VoIP software packages include video calling features with real-time captioning. This provides hearing-impaired individuals with the visual option of lip reading, alongside accurate captioning if needed.

Text telephone

Moving away from audio and video solutions, Text Telephone (TTY) users can communicate through text rather than voice. It both removes the pressure of speaking or listening, while ensuring seamless and accessible communication for all participants.

Visual or Cognitive Impairment Challenges

Many VoIP systems like T2K’s Gamma Horizon, are designed to make life as stress-free as possible for users. However, for businesses using less intuitive technology - complex interfaces packed with hidden menus and features can be overwhelming for users with visual or cognitive impairments.

These complexities make it especially difficult for people to access VoIP systems on mobile. This is reflected by 71% of visually impaired people preferring to access VoIP systems on their desktop computers.

Even with the correct training, some users may find navigating these interfaces daunting, limiting their ability to use VoIP services to their full capability.

What are the Strategies?

Simplified interfaces

If you’re working with a bespoke VoIP interface, stripping back your interface will make it easier for users to find what they need without wasting time. If possible, clear labelling and logically organised menus help users navigate systems without difficulty.

Customisable options

Consider offering customisable system layouts too. By allowing users to adjust font sizes, colour schemes, and layout options - they can create a personalized experience that works best for them. 

Screen magnifiers and readers

Screen magnifiers and readers are widely used tools in the modern workplace, allowing users to enlarge on-screen content, while also having it dictated back to them. These tools can also be used alongside VoIP platforms, allowing for easier navigation and clearer access to information.

Mobility Challenges

Some users have mobility conditions, affecting their ability to operate devices or access certain system features. It’s important to consider if your existing telephony system is compatible with assistive devices and accessible to individuals with these conditions.

Device compatibility

Users with physical disabilities may find it difficult to use standard input devices such as keyboards and mice. If your system doesn’t support accessibility-friendly inputs, users may be restricted from performing their role. Doing this not only disadvantages the individuals, but creates inefficiencies; requiring staff to perform additional tasks.

Button Size and Placement

Users with mobility issues may experience difficulty pressing small buttons or navigating menus. It may seem like a fairly minor concern, but for these users, it could result in a high error rate, leading to an eventual drop in confidence.

What are the Strategies?


When reviewing the accessibility of your VoIP system, consider its compatibility with a variety of input devices, such as specially designed keyboards or voice commands. This means users with mobility conditions can access your VoIP system, while using a method that they feel comfortable with.

Voice functions

By integrating support for voice commands and tools like text-to-speech, users can navigate your VoIP interface and perform actions hands-free. This allows greater autonomy for users with mobility impairments.

Language Barrier Challenges

Language barriers can limit accessibility too. This is especially true for users whose primary language differs from your VoIP native language.

What are the Strategies?

Multilingual options

Introducing support software or add-ons like multilingual chat or language detection programs allows your staff to use VoIP in their preferred language. These tools let users from different linguistic backgrounds navigate your VoIP interface, communicate with others, and access information in a language they understand. 

Translation tools

You can also Integrate translation services, such as Google Translate or Microsoft Translator, into the VoIP platform. This allows real-time translation of text-based communication, letting users chat with others in their preferred language and streamlining communication.

These tools also allow businesses to hire people outside of their local area or even country; giving them access to a global pool of talent without the need to speak the same language.

Accessibility Training For Your Workforce

If you’re planning to invest in the accessibility of your VoIP system, providing accessibility and assistive technologies training is a must. Rolled out across your entire workforce, it allows everyone to take part in making your workplace more inclusive.

It’s also worth conducting regular accessibility audits. This allows early detection of issues while promoting the continued development of inclusivity within your business systems.

How Accessibility In VoIP Can Benefit You

Reviewing accessibility within your VoIP telephony operation is essential. It lets you pinpoint areas of improvement while ensuring that your workforce, regardless of ability, can access your systems without restriction.

By conducting regular system audits, while considering the needs of your staff, you’ll be able to easily identify and resolve the accessibility issues that affect them the most. 

Whether within your VoIP system, or across your wider business; addressing accessibility allows for an inclusive working environment that values collaboration and workforce wellbeing.

If you’d like to know more about accessibility within VoIP phone systems, contact T2K today.

Lee Clarke
Sales Director

Having worked for T2k for nearly 25 years, it's fair to say that Lee is an expert when it comes to all things telephony and business communications. Overseeing the commercial side of the business, he has helped the company evolve and grow through the decades. In recent years, and with the advent of VoIP and hosted telephony, Lee has made sure that T2k is at the forefront of technological developments. With a firm interest in helping businesses navigate the world of telecoms, Lee is responsible for the majority of the content on this website.

Frequently Asked Questions

No items found.

Recent posts