By Eric Alvillar
Every day, millions of people throughout the country rely on telephone services to keep in contact with loved ones, pay their bills, make purchases and more. For those in our lives who are deaf, hard of hearing or have difficulty speaking, phone calls can be an incredibly complicated and frustrating task. Virginia Relay provides people with clarity, confidence and ease in making phone calls through the use of Telecommunications Relay Services.
Virginia Relay provides a variety of no-cost, 24/7 services that allow individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking to communicate over the telephone. These calls use communication assistants, who are specially trained to understand a variety of speech patterns and facilitate calls according to FCC and state regulations to keep all calls prompt, professional and accurate. Primarily, calls are conducted through an assistive communications device such as a TTY, captioned telephone or other specialized equipment.
Several relay service options are available to accommodate the needs of various users. We focus on what matters most to relay users: fast connection times and highly professional CAs who help you stay connected. Calls are completely confidential, with no time or subject limits.
Speech-to-speech relay service is especially useful for individuals who have difficulty speaking or being understood on the phone. Calls use a turn-taking system where the CA repeats STS user’s side of the conversation as needed to ensure that the entire conversation is understood.
For those who have difficulty hearing, captioned telephone service allows users to listen while reading captions of what’s being said to them on the display screen of a CapTel® phone.
Virginia Relay is here to help take the difficulty out of phone calls for you or someone you care about. To learn more about how Virginia Relay can help enhance phone conversations, call Virginia Relay’s toll-free number at 866-894-4116 (Voice), 866-246-9300 (TTY) or email VARelay@HamiltonRelay.com.
The writer is Virginia Relay outreach coordinator. CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.