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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
Posted By Clarksville Online News Staff On Sunday, May 6, 2012 @ 9:00 pm In News | No Comments
Nashville, TN – The month of May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month”, a special occasion dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of communication disorders. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of Tennessee consumers have some form of speech or hearing disorder.
In celebration of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) is reminding citizens of Tennessee’s commitment to providing specialized telecommunications products and services to assist Tennessee’s disabled citizens.Among the services provided are the Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP), Tennessee Relay Service (TRS), and the Captioned Relay Service. All are provided through separate State and/or Federal initiatives intended to facilitate telephone communications between the disabled and non-disabled.
“Ensuring that Tennessee’s deaf and hearing disabled citizens have the means to communicate with friends and family is in keeping with the TRA’s stated mission to promote the public interest,” says TRA Chairman Kenneth C. Hill. “These are worthwhile programs to the persons that depend on them.”
TDAP was established by the Tennessee General Assembly is 1999, and authorizes the TRA to purchase and distribute telecommunication devices to individuals whose disabilities restrict their use of a standard telephone. The program has distributed over 15,466 devices since its inception and is funded by Tennessee’s telecommunications service providers.
Tennessee Relay, on the other hand, puts operator-assisted telecommunications services at the fingertips of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech disabled citizens. Accessible statewide by dialing 711, Tennessee Relay enables persons who use specialized telephone equipment, such as TTYs or TB machines, to communicate with persons who use standard telephones. The service is provided free to users and is a regulated service paid for through a special fund set up by the Federal Communications Commission and the TRA.
CapTel service provides captioned telephone services for its users through the assistance of an operator. Using voice recognition technology the operator re-voices the CapTel user’s conversation which is captioned on the end-user’s special CapTel phone screen. The process allows the CapTel user to follow along with the conversation by reading what is being spoken.
The mission of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) is to promote the public interest by balancing the interests of utility consumers and providers. For more information, visit us online at www.tn.gov/tra,  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tntra  or on Twitter at @statetntra.
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