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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month



May 15, 2014 (2014-10)
Contacts: Susan Ackerman, Chair, 503 378-6611, Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR. In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) is reminding Oregonians of its continuing commitment to provide telephone products and services that assist Oregon’s disabled citizens to communicate through two programs:
·          Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP)
·          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 have these devices so they are able to communicate with friends, family and public services,” says Program Manager Jon Cray.
The Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP) loans adaptive telephone equipment, including speech generating devices, to qualifying Oregonians who have a hearing or speech disability.
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 were created by the 1987 legislature and are paid for by an 11 cent surcharge on customers’ phone bills. The programs and services are free for those who are eligible.