Types of Relay: HCO or Hearing-Carry-Over

What is MassRelay?

MassRelay is a free service for the residents of Massachusetts. It enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, or speech disabled to communicate over the phone.

Is this for me?

If you have a speech disability, Hearing Carry Over (HCO) is for you. HCO is designed for people who can hear, but have difficulty speaking clearly. You can listen to the other person speak and type your response to the Relay Operator on a Text Telephone (TTY). The operator then repeats what you typed to the other person. This makes it possible for you to stay in touch with your friends and family, make a business call, set a doctor's appointment, or even order a pizza!

Free. Simple. Confidential.

MassRelay is a free service available 24 hours a day. You only pay for any long distance charges. You have the freedom to communicate with anyone over the telephone. All calls are confidential.

How do I get a TTY?

Massachusetts Equipment Distribution join in logo
Contact the Massachusetts Equipment
Distribution Program to find out if you
qualify for free or low-cost equipment by
calling 1-800-300-5658. You can also
apply online at MassEDP microsite.

How do I make a call?

It's simple! Using your TTY, call MassRelay at 711 or 800-439-2370. Español: 866-930-9252
• When the operator answers, type "HCO PLS GA." (You can skip this step by setting up your Caller Preferences.)
o The operator answers by typing "HCO ON GA."
o Type the area code and phone number of the person you are calling, followed by GA. Example: 508-555-1234 GA. "GA" stands for "go ahead," meaning you are finished typing and it is the other person's turn.
• Pick up the handset and listen as your call is connected. Wait for the operator to give you the go ahead, then place the handset on the TTY and type your message to the other person.
• The operator voices your message to the other person and the conversation continues until you are finished.

You don't have to be a technical whiz! It's an easy, step-by-step process. You'll be making calls in no time.

Make things easier with Caller Preferences

To make calls easier and faster, customize your call preferences. The Relay Operator can use your Caller Preferences every time you make a call.

You can:

• connect your call faster
• add people who you call often to your speed dial
• customize your call greetings
• select your long distance carrier, and more

Set your preferences on the MassRelay site, or by calling 800-720-3480 (TTY).

Calling Tips

• Before typing, wait for "HCO ON GA" to appear on the screen or for the operator to say Hearing Carry Over has been activated.
• Once the call is connected, everyone on the call will be able to hear each other.
• Type "GA" each time you are finished typing and ready for a response.
• If you know your call will go to an answering machine or voicemail, you can type your message before the call is connected.
• Complete a Caller Preference form for faster calls.
• Every time an HCO call is placed, the operator will ask the person you've called if he or she is familiar with HCO. If not, the Operator will explain how HCO works before the call begins.
• Call Customer Service if you have questions or comments about your call 800-720-3480 (TTY).