Telephone Services

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Audience: Business Services
Runtime: 1:22 mins
Focus: Steve Wells on using a communication assistant over the phone.








In addition to general communication barriers, we may experience unique communication barriers when using telephone services.  These include:

  • Not having our speech and / or communication device understood over the phone
  • Having someone hang-up because they think our unclear speech is due to being drunk or that our device is an automated sales call
  • Not accepting assistance from our communication assistant / interpreter
  • Not being able to use automated prompts (numbers to navigate the phone system)
  • Confusing a communication assistant that assists people understanding our messages with a power of attorney or someone making decisions for us
  • Not being able to participate and effectively communicate in teleconferences
  • Not knowing about message relay services that are typically marketed to people who are Deaf or who have a hearing loss
  • Increased cost of telephone services due to slow rate of communication
  • Not being able to use relay service operators because operators have no training in interpreting impaired speech
  • Not accepting ways other than the telephone to access services (e.g. text, email, or assistance)
  • Not having video relay services with trained operators who can interpret communication via communication boards and devices

Find out how the person wants to communicate with you on the telephone. They might want to use their speech, a device or a communication assistant. Depending on the nature of your services, you may need policies and procedures in place to ensure that the individual with a communication disability has authorized the assistant and that you are speaking to that person over the phone. Alternatively, the person might want to use e-mail, social media, video call, or other text based communications instead of the telephone. Some people may want to use message relay services. People who are Deaf orhard of hearing may want to use a TTY.

Check our video module for telephone services.