What is Hearing Carry Over?

Hearing Carry Over DiagramHearing Carry Over (HCO) is a Relay North Dakota telephone service for people who can hear but cannot use their voice or have a difficult to understand voice. HCO allows users to hear the person they are calling and speak to that person by typing to a relay operator who, in turn, speaks what they type.

The video below demonstrates a HCO user utilizing a TTY to call a business and schedule a vehicle maintenance.




Who Uses Hearing Carry Over?

Hearing Carry Over (HCO) is used by many people who, for some reason or another, cannot use their voice or who have a voice who is difficult to understand.

Examples of HCO users include people:

  • born with a speech or language disorder
  • who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, such as a stroke, that has affected their speech
  • with a disease, such as Multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, etc., that has affected their speech
  • who have experienced a physical injury or physical change that has affected their speech
  • who have a temporary speech or language disorder due to an illness or injury

Note: Aside from what is listed above, there may be more reasons HCO relay services would be a right fit for an individual.


Hearing Carry Over Success Story!

Steve, the son of Betty, a woman in her 80s with ALS, contacted ND Assistive to explore assistive technology options for using the telephone. Betty could no longer communicate clearly and independently on the telephone because ALS affected her ability to speak. Steve scheduled an appointment with an assistive technology consultant to explore adaptive phone options. After exploration, Steve thought a TTY with a keyguard and Hearing Carry Over (HCO) relay services would be a good fit. He applied Betty to ND Assistive’s Specialized Phone program where she could, at no cost, try out phone equipment that would allow her to make and receive calls independently.

Shortly after taking home the TTY with a keyguard, Steve and Betty knew the system would work. This letter was sent out to all of Betty’s friends, family members, and the professionals she works with to educate them on her new phone system. It is a wonderful example of how an HCO user can help others understand the technology and service they are using.

Hi, I now have a teletype (TTY) telephone, which means I can have a telephone conversation with you! Here’s how it works: 1. A telephone operator, my Communication Assistant (CA), will call you. My CA will say something like “Hello, this is relay North Dakota and a person would like to talk to you…” My CA will offer to explain what to do, or you can ask, or you can tell my CA to proceed with the call. At some point you will agree to proceed with the call. Don’t worry, the first time is only confusing the first time! 2. After you agree to proceed with the call, my CA will say “Caller go ahead.” I am the caller and I begin typing. When I am done typing, my CA will read my typing to you. I am done typing when you hear my CA say “go ahead”. 3. Then it is your turn. I can hear you, so you say what you want to say, then finish by saying “go ahead.” Your “go ahead” means it is my turn. 4. I type, my CA reads what I type and finishes with “go ahead.” Please remember to be patient while I am typing – I am not a fast typer. It is your turn again when you hear “go ahead.” I think you know by now that you talk and finish with “go ahead.” 5. When I am done with our conversation my CA will say something like “the caller wants to end this call.” You say your goodbye and hang up. I am still earning this TTY system so please be patient. My TTY is wired to our land line and my mobility means I can’t get to my TTY phone fast enough to answer it. If XXX is here then he will answer on a regular phone and you can have a regular conversation with him or you can tell him to have me call you back on my TTY phone. The table has turned! When I am on my TTY phone, XXX can listen on another phone but he can’t talk. The table has turned! I can’t wait to talk to you.

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