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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month


May 11, 2012 (2012-005)

Contacts:         Susan Ackerman, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962, Jon Cray, RSPF Program Manager, 503-373-1400
Salem, OR.  In celebration of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) is reminding Oregonians of its commitment to provide telephone products and services that assist Oregon’s disabled citizens to communicate through two programs:
  1. Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP)
  2. Oregon Telecommunication Relay Service (OTRS), including the Captioned Telephone Relay Service

“Approximately 10 percent of Oregonians have some form of a speech or hearing loss so it’s vitally important that they are able to communicate with friends, family and vital public services,” says Program Manager Jon Cray.

The Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP) loans modified telephone equipment to qualifying Oregonians who have a hearing or speech disability. Approximately 8,500 customers are enjoying the benefits of the devices from this program.

By dialing 711, the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service enables speech and hearing impaired persons to make and receive calls through an operator who facilitates the communication between the two parties. It is available statewide.
Captioned Telephone Relay Service uses voice recognition technology in which the operator transcribes the other party’s spoken message, which appears as captions on a display screen of a customized phone.  This allows the Captioned Relay user to read what the other person is saying.
These programs and services are free and are paid for by a 12-cent surcharge on customers’ phone bills and was created by the 1987 legislature.