(The Daily Dish)

Relay Utah is a state program managed by the Public Service Commission that was created to help provide the hard of hearing, and deaf, in our state with hearing assistive phones and technology for cell phones to help them communicate and regain their independence.

Utah is home to more than 290,000 individuals that are hard of hearing or deaf. That’s about 1 in 10 people who have some level of hearing loss. One thing we don’t think about with hearing loss is the isolation from friends, family and loss of independence of calling to make a dinner reservation, doctor appointment or order a pizza. Relay Utah provides hearing assistive phones to help the hard of hearing communicate and regain this independence and connection.

Our guest, Jodi Goodenough from Relay Utah lost her hearing as a child and is completely deaf. She now has a cochlear implant to help her hear. She understands the struggle with trying to maintain independence and the phones have been a great help. Jodi uses the CapTel captioning phone and she can hear what is being said while also reading the captioned text on the screen. This is something that has been a tremendous help!

One of the newest phones being offered by Relay Utah is an amplified phone that is the first of its kind that can slow down live speech. Another feature of the amplified phones is that they don’t just make things louder. Louder isn’t always the problem.

They have tone control that allows you to adjust how the caller’s tone of voice sounds. Example a Female vs. a Male. You can easily adjust the high tones and low tones making it easier to understand the caller. It also has a flasher so you can see and hear the phone ring, it offers a loud and clear speakerphone, and a large high contrast keypad that is easy to see and press. Also popular has been their cell phone amplifier. It connects via Bluetooth and you can use the amplifier to help with volume and tone control.

Relay Utah is a free service. Hearing assistive phones are provided to any hard of hearing or deaf Utahn whose income qualifies. Most people who already qualify for public assistance programs are eligible and all of the qualification information is on their website.

It’s important to know that Relay Utah doesn’t sell any products or services, If your income doesn’t qualify to receive a phone, they can provide you with information on possible options of obtaining a phone. In addition, they’ve been helping people with hearing loss reconnect with family and friends for 30 years.

They hope that you’ll go to their website to find information to help you and your loved ones with tips and resources to ease communicating with your hard of hearing mom, dad, sister, or friend. Call (877) 977-1283 or visit their website for additional information and details about the program.

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