The phone is one of the main ways people stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. It is also an effective business tool for organisations to extend their services and build relations with patrons through the sharing of information.
Around 30,000 Australians have total hearing loss.
Over 4 million Australians have a hearing loss.
Over 1.2 million Australians have a communication disorder.
The National Relay Service (NRS) is a government initiative that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment to make and receive phone calls. It is free and confidential service.
The NRS uses specially trained staff, called relay officers, who convert voice to text, text to voice, or Auslan to English. Depending on the person’s needs, this is typically done using internet-based text, SMS, captions or video.
Relay call options include:
NRS Chat (previously known as Internet Relay)
SMS Relay (if you text)
SMS Relay (Text and Listen) (if you have trouble being understood on the phone)
Video Relay (if you use Auslan)
NRS Captions (if you speak your side of the conversation)
Voice Relay (previously known as Speak and Listen) (if you have trouble being understood on the phone)
Teletypewriter (TTY) options include:
Speak and Read (with the feature to listen to the caller)
Type and Read
Type and Listen
Visit the Accesshub website to learn more about these NRS options.
An NRS app is also available for users to make NRS calls on the go. Users can make NRS Chat, NRS Captions, Voice Relay and Video Relay calls on the app. You can download the new app from the Google Play or Apple App Store.
For organisations that would like to become more accessible for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment, you will find some very useful resources to refer to that will help you to understand this service. Resources will help upskill staff in how to receive calls and how to communicate with the relay officers who are the central link in each relay call. Relay officers stay on the line throughout each call to help it go smoothly.
And you can keep up to date with the latest news about the NRS and other accessible communication options for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment by signing up to Accesshub News and Alerts.
The service is for everyone. It is available to friends, family and businesses that want to connect with the wider community of NRS users.