What is VCO?

My hearing is not so great on the phone. I can still talk to people just fine, but I have a harder and harder time hearing what they say. I don't want to give up using the phone. What can I do?
As it becomes harder to hear clearly on the phone, amplification can sometimes help. But when even amplification is not enough, many people continue enjoying the phone everyday by using a text telephone (TTY) to type what they want to say and read what the other person says. For those who do not want to type, there is another way to type on the phone with the help of a TTY. It's called Voice Carry Over (VCO).

What Is VCO? What is Voice Carry Over (VCO)? VCO is a technology developed that combines voice and text communications over the telephone. It allows individuals who cannot hear well, but wish to use their own voice, to speak directly to the other person on the telephone and read the other person's response on a text display. The other person's voice responses are typed for you to read, either by the person himself or by a special operator through a Telecommmunication Relay Service (TRS). No more straining to hear!

Would I benefit from VCO?
Yes, if:
  • you have difficulty hearing on the phone,
  • you wish to speak for yourself directly to the person you are calling,
  • and you want to read the other person's response instead of listening to it.

    How do I make a VCO call?
    There are two ways to make a VCO call:

  • Through the TRS (if you are calling someone who does not have a TTY).
  • Directly, if you are calling someone who has a TTY. With direct VCO calls, you don't need the assistance of the TRS.

  • How VCO Work?
    How does the Telecommunicaiton Relay Service (TRS) relay my VCO call? Every state has a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) which links TTY users with those who do not have a TTY. With TRS, VCO calls are made with the help of a special operator, called a Communications Assistant (CA). You can speak directly to the person you are calling, and the CA types the response fro you to read on your TTY display.

    TRS CAs are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

    By law, all relay calls are kept strictly confidential. You may find your state's toll-free TRS number in the front of your local telephone book.

    Direct VCO Direct VCO: TTY to TTY You can also make a VCO call without going through the TRS. If you are calling a hearing individual who has a TTY, you can make a direct VCO call.

    The advantage of a direct VCO call is that no third-party is involved. When using direct VCO, inform the caller that you want to use VCO. They can listen to you speaking through their telephone hanset, and then type their responses to you on their TTY.

    Please note that with direct VCO, each person must have a TTY.

    Different Ways To Set-Up For VCO

    Frequently Asked Questions About VCO

    Relay Service Directory

    Sample Calling Patterns and Dialogues