Using the phone is important to everyone, and relay services ensure that people with disabilities have full access to phone use. Relay services assist people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech impairment communicate over the telephone. It is a free service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no restrictions on the number, length, or type of calls. It is used by people with disabilities to call out, and by others to call individuals with a disability.
To use relay services, dial 7-1-1. Your conversation will be relayed through a call center using voice or text with the help of a communication assistant who reads out or types part of the conversation as needed. Privacy of call content is ensured, as is the identity of callers, except for calls through the emergency service as required by law. There are a number of call options available to suit different users; the four most common with a corresponding YouTube video are:
- TTY to Voice – is for users who cannot hear and do not use their voice.
- Voice Carryover – is for users who cannot hear but prefer to use their voice to speak instead of typing their side of the conversation.
- Hearing Carryover – is for users who can hear but have difficulty speaking or communicating.
- Speech-to-Speech – is for users who may be hard to understand over the telephone.
If you have questions about relay services in North Dakota, contact IPAT or Relay North Dakota. If you need specialized telecommunications equipment due to a disability, IPAT may be able to make that happen through the North Dakota Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program. Remember, with specialized phones and relay services, phone use is available – explore the options!