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Guide to Local Health and Human Services

Telecommunication Relay Services

Code: PH-3500.8500

Programs that allow people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech impairments to communicate through a communications assistant with people who use a standard telephone or the Internet. The communications assistant relays TTY (text telephone or telecommunications device for deaf and hard of hearing individuals) to the telephone user and types that person's response back to the TTY user. Three options when using a telephone relay service are voice carry-over (VCO), hearing carry-over (HCO) and speech-to-speech (STS). VCO allows a person with a hearing impairment to speak directly to the other party and then read the response typed by a communications assistant. HCO allows a person with a speech impairment to hear the other party and relay the TTY response back to the telephone user through the communications assistant. STS provides assistance for people with speech disabilities who have difficulty being understood on the phone. STS communications assistants are specially trained in understanding a variety of speech disorders, which enables them to repeat what the caller says in a manner that makes the caller’s words clear and understandable to the called party. The relay service allows individuals with communication disorders to communicate with all telephone users. Telecommunication relay services can be reached by dialing 711.

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