Did you know that (in the US) if you or someone you know has a speech disability they or you can dial 711 and they have speech-to-speech relay?
Speech-to-Speech (STS) is one form of Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). TRS is a service that allows persons with hearing and speech disabilities to access the telephone system to place and receive telephone calls. STS enables persons with a speech disability to make telephone calls using their own voice (or an assistive voice device). Like all forms of TRS, STS uses Communications Assistants (CAs) – to relay the conversation back and forth between the person with the speech disability and the other party to the call. STS CAs are operators who are specifically trained in understanding a variety of speech disorders, which enables them to repeat what the caller says in a manner that makes the caller’s words clear and understandable to the called party. The Commission’s rules ensure that STS users have the same ease of reaching an STS CA as users of the other types of TRS using 711 dialing.
Who Uses STS?
Often people with speech disabilities cannot communicate by telephone because the parties they are calling cannot understand their speech. People with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and those who are coping with limitations from a stroke or traumatic brain injury may have speech disabilities. People who stutter or have had a laryngectomy may also have difficulty being understood. In general, anyone with a speech disability or anyone who wishes to call someone with a speech disability can use STS.
The FCC imposes mandatory minimum standards on providers of all forms of TRS, such as
- ensuring user confidentiality,
- making service available 24 hours a day,
- seven days a week,
- and answering 85 percent of calls within 10 seconds.The FCC also imposes certain additional requirements on STS providers.