Deaf and hard of hearing smart phone users can now use the familiar video relay service to communicate with hearing friends and family. We found these applications, available for the iPhone and Android operating systems, that offer hearing impaired cell phone callers the chance to have real-time conversations from almost anywhere.
IP-Relay, an iPhone application created by Purple, allows the deaf and hard of hearing to quickly and effortlessly call people who can hear. This program works the same way that instant messaging and chat systems work, enabling the hearing impaired to type their conversation to hearing individuals. Behind the scenes, a certified IP-Relay operator converts the user’s text “speech” to voice and relays it to hearing persons. The operator then types the hearing party’s response and users view the conversation in real time on their iPhone display. This application is federally funded, so the call is free of charge and monthly airtime minutes are not assessed to user’s accounts. IP-Relay has a large dial pad that is easy to use and the application works with calls made to anyone in the iPhone’s contact database as well as with new calls.
This convenient iPhone application works with Video Relay Service (VRS) to allow deaf and hard of hearing persons to place video calls to an operator who then interprets the call into an audio message for the person they are trying to communicate with.
IWRelay VRS is easy to use and enables users to place calls through the IPhone’s FaceTime application.
Sorenson Video Center is an application designed for hearing impaired individuals that subscribe to the Sorenson Video Relay Service. The application is a mobile version of the Sorenson Video Center that is available on videophone. It enables users to view SignMail video messages and other videos directly on their iPhone. After signing in, the application displays the videos that currently are on the videophone they regularly use. Video messages are retrieved on the go, at user’s convenience. Sorenson Video Center seamlessly integrates with iPhone contacts and includes a built-in American Sign Language (ASL) help tutorial and a FAQ guide.
Sprint has unleashed its new smart phone that puts the power of Video Relay Service (VRS) in the hands of the deaf and hard of hearing community. VRS enables hearing-impaired persons to have phone conversations with those that can hear using a videophone with a connection that allows real-time talk. Sprint’s 4G smart phone, the HTC Evo, has built-in video chat and VRS compatibility, and combined with Sprint Relay’s monthly service plan, customers communicate with hearing parties wherever and whenever the need arises. Call Sprint Mobile for information regarding monthly pricing plans.
A video relay application designed the mobile hearing-impaired person, nTouch works with the Android HTC EVO phone running on the Sprint network, allowing deaf callers to place calls to those that are hearing. Users face a video screen and sign their message to a hearing interpreter who relays the conversation verbally to the hearing caller or recipient. nTouch enables deaf and hard of hearing users to be freed from the burden of having to place calls from home on their standard videophone. nTouch features the ability to customize their experience with e911 and myRumble functions, options that integrate vibration and flash patters for individual callers.
For more information regarding apps, Check out The Best Apps for Captioning, The Best Phone Apps to Measure Noise Levels, The Best Phone Apps to Check Your Hearing and The Best Apps for Learning Sign Language.