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May 30, 2003

Crisis hotline aids hearing impaired

From: The Californian, CA - May 30, 2003

Monterey sexual assault center to offer TTY device

Bay City News

The Monterey Rape Crisis Center announced Thursday it is expanding its 24-hour crisis hotline to serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Effective June 1, the center will offer the new service, which includes the use of the TTY device. In addition, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can use the Telecommunications Relay Service.

A TTY, or teletypewriter, is a device for people who have hearing loss or are speech impaired. It allows them to communicate via telephone by typing messages back and forth to one another instead of talking and listening.

The Telecommunications Relay Service is similar to the TTY, but only one-ended. The service allows people with difficulty hearing or speaking on the phone to type their messages to a trained operator who then relays the message verbally over the telephone to the called party. The operator then receives a verbal response from the called party and types it back to the caller.

By offering these new services, the Monterey Rape Crisis Center says it will now be possible for deaf or hard-of-hearing rape and sexual-assault survivors to reach an understanding and caring advocate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More than 28 million Americans have a hearing loss, and about 171,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals live in the Monterey area, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

To get help

The Monterey Rape Crisis Center's TTY line will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 373-7546. The Telecommunications Relay Service is available 24 hours a day at (888) 877-5379

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