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New communication services for hearing and speech impaired users

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accandeafAustralians who are speech or hearing impaired will now be able to access new communication services to help them live even more independently.

Announced today by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the facility through the National Relay Service will now allow deaf Australians to make video calls with responses interpreted into English and spoken to the recipient before being signed back to the caller.

Deaf callers who need to contact a person who doesn’t have access to SMS can now send a text message to the NRS which then relays the message to the intended recipient by voice.

And if there are any responses, these are simply sent back to the original caller by SMS.

“This is a huge improvement in the lives of people who are deaf, hearing or speech impaired,” said ACCAN disability policy advisor Wayne Hawkins.

“With the new SMS service, if a deaf, hearing or speech impaired person is running late for a doctor’s appointment they can now simply send an SMS which will get relayed to the doctor.

“Many people don’t understand that something as simple as this was previously out of reach for deaf Australians, so this improvement is really encouraging.”

The National Relay Service is made possible by the not-for-profit Australian Communications Exchange which is under contract to the Australian Government.

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