Technology today gives so many options from hearing aids and assistive listening devices to make the most of the hearing we have, to cochlear implants the support hearing when hearing aids are not enough. Telecommunications have advanced to being able to provide captions to read the speakers words in text, and live interpreters that support phone calls in American Sign Language.

Please contact the Regional Directors if you have any questions or need help.


While many late deafened adults may learn sign language and find it more comfortable than reading lips when in the company of other signers, most prefer to use our voices when communicating with hearing people and our late deafened peers who do not sign. Today’s telecommunications technology provides a variety of choices in how we communicate by ‘phone’.

Captioned Telephone Service (CTS)

Captioned Telephone Service works like any other telephone with one important addition: CTS transcribes everything the other party says into written text. It does this using the very latest in voice-recognition technology when the operator re-voices what the other party says. CTS users can listen to the caller, and can also read the written captions.


Voice Carry Over, uses traditional relay. The late deafened caller connected to the relay by dialing 7-1-1 and requests VCO. Then gives the relay operator the number of the person they wish to call. The call is connected and the caller speaks for themselves and the relay types what the hearing caller says. The late deafened caller does not hear the voice of the hearing caller with this type of call. Each caller must say “GA” or “Go Ahead” when they are finished to let the relay know they are done speaking.


For callers who are comfortable with an all sign call Video Relay Service is an interpreted phone call where the caller signs to the Video Relay interpreter who voices to the hearing caller and signs back to the signing caller. This is highly effective communication for callers who use ASL (American Sign Language) as their preferred or first language.


Video Relay Service with Voice Carry Over – this type of call uses videophone technology that allows the late deafened caller to connect to a sign language interpreter through a special videophone, either connected to a TV or using their computer or mobile device. By setting up a VCO call, the caller speaks for himself, (either through a regular phone or via the webcam) and the relay interpreter signs back through the videophone what the hearing person says. Unlike traditional relay there is no need for GA between speakers because the interpreter is able to see when the late deafened caller wants to speak. Using this method also allows you to hear the other party on your telephone or via your computer.

IP Relay

Internet Protocol, this technology allows you to use the relay to have a text to voice phone conversation from a computer or from a wireless mobile device. This gives you the equivalent of a cell TTY.

Wireless Devices

Besides being able to use IP Relay, wireless devices can send and receive email and can communicate with cell phones that receive text messages. This is extremely helpful for staying in contact with hearing family and friends that don’t use the same devices. Most new devices also include Instant Messaging features. Communication by text messaging is also universally accepted. Most newer phones and wireless devices also allow for the use of Captioned Telephone apps or Video Relay Service apps as well.