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October 9, 2003

Lack of phone help for deaf proves expensive

From: St. Albans Observer, UK - Oct 9, 2003

By Staff reporter

MILLIONS of pounds' worth of trade is being lost to businesses in St Albans that are failing to provide telephone access to deaf people, according to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID).

According to RNID Typetalk – the telephone relay service for people with hearing difficulties – St Albans businesses are failing to reach the region's deaf market place which is worth around £17 million a year.

Head of customer service at Typetalk Lorna Hammerstein said: "In St Albans alone there are around 20,000 people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafened of deaf blind.

"This is a large chunk of our population excluded from buying products and services over the telephone purely because the vast majority of businesses are completely incapable of handling calls from these customers.

"Added to this is the current trend towards recorded messages which completely exclude textphone users and the increase in telephone ordering systems."

Research into Typetalk's customer base found that the worst businesses for deaf people to talk to are telephone banking and leisure outlets.

Typetalking works by allowing the deaf caller to use a keyboard to type relay their half of a conversation to an operator.

To find out further information about Typetalk call 0800 7311 888.

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