I “Hear” You Now

Sharelle Goff, academic advisor for deaf and hardof- hearing students at Utah Valley State College, uses Sorenson VRS.

Thousands of deaf and hard-of-hearing users, including a reality TV star and a probasketball player, are using Sorenson Video Relay Service (VRS) to connect to the hearing world. Using the Sorenson VP-100 videophone appliance connected to a TV, or a personal computer equipped with a Web camera and Sorenson EnVision SL video relay software or Microsoft NetMeeting, deaf and hard-of-hearing users place video relay calls through an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

One user is Christy Smith, who was voted off “Survivor: Amazon,” but who is returning to TV in her own adventure show, “Christy’s Kids,” which involves teaching hearing and deaf children sign language. “Sorenson VRS is my main means of booking appointments with networks, talent and sponsors,” Smith says. “I feel more independent when I use Sorenson VRS because it breaks down communication barriers with the hearing world.”

Ronda Jo Miller, who plays for the National Women’s Basketball League team, the Dallas Fury, says Sorenson VRS saves her time. “Sorenson VRS allows me to use my native language, and I get across exactly what I want immediately,” she says. “Now I use Sorenson VRS to call my hearing coach or teammates about practice times, coordinating events, or just to stay in touch.”


“I think it is wrong, just plain wrong, not to recognize the significance of voice over IP or to look at it through the glasses of the old regulatory model. …

So here we are on the precipice of something big and, like the founding fathers, we have to decide where we stand. Will we have courage to stand boldly for change? Our forefathers made a new constitution, one fitting the revolution. We too need a new constitution for the regulation of voice-over-IP services.”

-FCC Chairman Michael Powell, delivering the keynote at the Fall Voice on the Net conference in Boston

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