There are over half a million consumers in Minnesota who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and they use a specialized telecommunications service - called Minnesota Relay - to contact businesses and organizations like yours. However, many businesses unknowingly hang-up when they receive a Minnesota Relay call because they think it is a telemarketer, or because they don't understand how a telephone call through Minnesota Relay works.
Minnesota Relay is a free service that provides full telephone accessibility to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled. A specially trained Minnesota Relay communication assistant (CA) facilitates the telephone conversation between a person who has hearing loss or a speech disability and a hearing person.
All Minnesota Relay CAs abide by a strict code of ethics. A federal requirement mandates that all Relay calls are kept confidential and information cannot be used by the CA for personal gain. CAs must remain impartial and no record of calls are kept.
View this section for details on how to place and receive Minnesota Relay calls.
Many people think Minnesota Relay is a telephone service that connects a TTY user (deaf person) with a standard phone user (hearing person). This is only partially true. There are a variety of reasons a person cannot use a standard telephone. Minnesota Relay has many forms of services available to make telecommunications available to all, regardless of their communication needs.
This service allows telephone calls between a TTY (text-telephone) user and a hearing person (standard phone user). A Minnesota Relay communication assistant (CA) reads the TTY user's words to you, and types your words for the TTY user to read.
Hearing Carry Over (HCO):
HCO allows a person who can hear but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls. Using HCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, an HCO user can listen directly to your voice and type his/her response to the CA, who voices the response to you.
Voice Carry Over (VCO):
VCO is an option for people who can speak clearly, but have hearing loss significant enough to prevent them from hearing and understanding conversations over the telephone. Using VCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, a VCO user speaks directly to you. The CA types what is spoken by you for the VCO user to read.
STS allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the telephone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer. The CA revoices the words of the person with a speech disability so that you can understand him or her. The STS user will hear your responses. More details here.
View our publication called Protect Yourself From Phone Fraud.