Services & Amenities

Video Phone Services

Two video phones are available to Deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, families, and staff to place phone calls in sign language.

What is a Video Phone?

Photo of a video phoneA video phone is a device that assists Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who use sign language in communicating with others. The phones can be used by Deaf people to communicate with each other over the phone, or with hearing people through a sign language interpreter. The United States funds a service called 'Video Relay Services' (VRS) to provide interpreters to Deaf people to make telephone calls. The video phone, often called a VP, can be used to talk to others via a sign language interpreter, who connects with a person who can hear through a regular phone.

Sign language interpretation services through VRS are useful when one of the parties is Deaf or hard-of-hearing. In such cases the interpreter, called a video interpreter, communicates with the Deaf person using sign language, and relays the information to the hearing person by speaking the message. Then, the process is reversed to allow the hearing person to speak a message to the Deaf person with the interpreter signing the information. Such activities involve considerable effort on the part of the interpreter, since American Sign Language is a distinct natural language with its construction, semantics, and syntax, different from the spoken version of English.

How Can I Get Access to a Video Phone?

One video phone is available in the Information Station off the Strong Memorial Hospital lobby (see instructions for how to use). Another phone is available for inpatient and Emergency Department use upon request through the Communication Center (275-2222) (see instructions for ordering and using).