I am an adult with hearing loss, I have hearing aids but find that telephone calls can be a trial. I came across Relay UK and decided to give it a go. Relay UK offers text-to-speech and speech-to-text translation services. A relay assistant in a call centre acts as an intermediary, enabling people with hearing loss or speech impairments to communicate with people over the telephone.
So, it allows people to use a phone, tablet, or computer to talk via an App to other people. You talk or type to the assistant and then they type or talk to the second person. I used it on my Android Mobile Phone and found it very easy.
How it worked
I downloaded the program from the App store. Once downloaded it very simple to get up and running. I opened the app and followed the on-screen instructions. By linking my phone in the App and confirming it with a quick call, I registered my phone and activated my account. I did not have to provide any personal details.
The service is run by British Telecom and to make a call all you need to do is to enter the number you want to call, or simply link your contacts and select one from your address book. The service is free, all you pay is your normal call charges. The phone rings the assistant, and the screen shows you whether you are waiting to be connected, or if the other person has answered. Once you are connected you can either talk, or type using the on-screen keyboard. The assistant types and speaks back to you. I found this to be very clear, and instant. The conversation was only slowed by my typing skill. Thankfully the assistant will correct minor spelling mistakes for you.
I spoke with my daughter and rang a local shop, the assistant was able to advise the other person that this is UK Relay Call and what that means, saving me any embarrassment.
The fact I could hear what was said, as well as the text meant I was in control. If I had no hearing I could opt for just text, and then the call is silent and cannot be overheard by people, no more loud volume calls! I found you can easily save the text of a call so you can go back and check details like names and numbers.
One great advantage of this new App is the Text Numbers. Once registered you can ask for a new 07777 number. This can replace your old number for Relay UK calls. Give out this number to friends and family and when they call it will always go via Relay UK, so you will always have an assistant involved. You do not have to, but it is something worth thinking about if your hearing is getting poor. Your old number will still work.
The Official Website
If you need some help learning how to use Text Relay, or if you would like to borrow a smart phone on long term loan to enable you to use the app, then please get in touch and the Tech to Community Connect project can help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text: 07563 997 932