What is The New York Relay Service?

The New York Relay Service is a free statewide service that allows people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled who use text or voice carry-over telephones to call standard phones. This process is done through an operator, and can also connect standard phones to text or voice carry-over phones. This service is available 24/7, everyday of the year, and can make calls anywhere in the world.

The service is performed several different ways. By calling or typing 7-1-1 the caller is connected to an operator, who will then aid the conversation depending on the needs of the user. These include:   

Text Telephones (TTY) to Voice. For people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-disabled using a text telephone, an operator will read the typed conversation to the hearing person and will type the spoken conversation to the TTY user.   

Telebraille to Voice. For deaf-blind people using a Telebraille device, an operator will read the typed conversation to the hearing person and will type the spoken conversation to the Telebraille user. The Telebraille user will receive the conversation at a pace of 15 words per minute in order to allow time to read. Users can request that the speed either be slowed down or sped up.

Voice Carry-Over (VCO) to Voice. Voice Carry-Over phones allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to speak to the hearing person and read their response. An operator will type the hearing person’s conversation to the VCO user, and the hearing person will hear the VCO user speaking.   

Speech-to-Speech (STS) to Voice. This allows people with speech-disorders or impediments to be fully understood by the person on the other end line. The receiver will hear the STS user and then the operator, who will repeat the STS user. This is done on a standard phone.

Hearing Carry-Over (HCO) to Voice. Using a HCO device, speech-disabled HCO users can hear the person they called and can type back their response, which will be read by the operator to the hearing person.

Relay services are not only available in New York. They can be used in every state at 7-1-1. By federal law, all conversations are completely private and no records of any conversations are kept. There is no limit to how long a call can last. The service offers both English and Spanish operators, and also offers translations between both languages. The service is toll free, but long-distance calls may have standard charges. For more information visit, www.nyrelay.com.

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