Free video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Free video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing

January 6, 2010
by root
| Reprints

American Network, Inc., introduces its Video Relay Service (VRS), americanVRS, its third relay service designed for those with hearing loss. americanVRS employs innovative technology, creating a user-friendly relay experience between those who use American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English.

Qualified americanVRS Video Interpreters (VIs) connect deaf and hearing users via videoconferencing. The VI then interprets the call, voicing the conversation over the phone to the hearing user in English and signing back to the deaf user in ASL—all while appearing on the deaf/hard of hearing user's Web camera via Web interface. This service can be used from the comfort of one's own home, as the technology functions via a standard phone line for the hearing user and an Internet connection in conjunction with a Web camera/video phone for the deaf user.

This technology, available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, is free for those who are medically recognized as deaf or hard of hearing and use ASL as a primary means of communication. It is funded by the FCC and available for Americans in the United States.

The telecommunications relay service (TRS) market is undergoing profound changes in both regulatory and technology infrastructure as the need to communicate through a variety of deaf-user interaction channels becomes more prevalent. As a result, TRS providers must find more efficient means to provide VRS services for technologically savvy deaf users. americanVRS interoperates with diverse core systems through Web interfaces that seamlessly allow deaf and hard of hearing users to place and receive calls with their hearing counterparts.

To register for this free service and receive an assigned 10-digit geographic telephone number, potential users can create an account at