Senior Health

5/9/2014 | By Seniors Guide Staff

To make a relay call, Dial 7-1-1

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted use of the 711 dialing code for access to Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). TRS permits persons with a hearing or speech disability to use the telephone system via a text telephone (TTY) or other device to call persons with or without such disabilities.

In Virginia, Virginia Relay provides the most up-to-date technologies and assistive devices to enable people in Virginia who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking to communicate by telephone.

Every May is Better Hearing and Speech Month.  Sponsored by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1927, this annual observation provides opportunities to raise awareness about hearing and speech difficulties and to promote resources that can improve the quality of life for the nearly 40 million Americans who experience difficulty hearing and/or speaking.
To benefit from Virginia Relay, Virginia residents may take advantage of any of these resources:

  • Dial 7-1-1 to make a Relay call.
    A free public service, Virginia Relay enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking to communicate with standard telephone users. Relay services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and anyone can initiate a Virginia Relay call simply by dialing 7-1-1.

     Virginia Relay offers state-of-the-art features designed with the users’ needs in mind, including traditional Relay (text telephone), Voice Carry-Over (VCO), Hearing Carry-Over (HCO), Speech-to-Speech (STS), and more. Detailed descriptions and calling instructions for each service are available online at or by calling Virginia Relay customer service at 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

  • Apply for no-cost telecommunications equipment.
    Telecommunications equipment is available at no-cost to Virginia residents who qualify medically and financially through the following programs:

Technology Assistance Program (TAP): Administered by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH), TAP provides telecommunications equipment to qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. Available assistive devices include text telephones (TTYs), amplified telephones, VCO phones, HCO phones, CapTel phones, signalers for the phone and door; and more. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

TAP for Veterans: If you are a veteran living with hearing or speech loss, our no-cost Veterans’ Program can provide you with all the equipment you need to stay connected through the telephone. To qualify, you must be deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking and provide proof of honorable discharge. For more information on all TAP services, visit or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

iCanConnect Virginia: Administered by VDDHH in cooperation with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, iCanConnect Virginia provides no-cost communications technology, along with installation, training and support, to low-income, DeafBlind Virginia residents. For more information, please visit

  • Find Relay-friendly businesses with Virginia Relay Partner.
    A free, educational program for Virginia businesses, Virginia Relay Partner helps reduce the number of hang ups Relay users sometimes experience when making business calls. Open to all Virginia-based businesses, Virginia Relay Partner provides businesses of all sizes with the free training and marketing materials they need to answer and place Relay calls with confidence.

    To find a list of Virginia Relay Partner businesses that are trained in answering and placing Virginia Relay calls, or to request that your business become a Virginia Relay Partner, please visit

  • Contact your local VDDHH outreach provider.
    VDDHH’s network of outreach providers sponsor workshops, support groups and training sessions to help all Virginians—including caregivers, public safety officials and business professionals—learn more about hearing loss and ways to communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Staff members also assist new Virginia Relay users and their families and friends. To find your local VDDHH outreach provider, please visit or contact VDDHH for a referral at or 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

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If you or a loved one has difficulty hearing or speaking over the phone, there are many services and varieties of equipment available to keep you connected. For more information about Virginia Relay or to apply for no-cost equipment, please visit or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY) or e-mail

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff