EC: Telecommunications Access

Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in NC

A wide variety of services and devices exist that enable people with hearing loss and speech impairment to use the telephone and to be alerted when the telephone rings.


Those wishing to apply for a telecommunications device must meet certain eligibility requirements:

  • Up to 250% of poverty level
  • Certificate of disability
  • Resident of North Carolina

Types of Telecommunication Devices

  • Adaptive telephones:
    • These specialized devices enable you to use a standard telephone to call anyone.
  • Captioned telephones:
    • Captioned telephones contain a screen attached to the telephone base that displays text, allowing you to understand what the person at the other end of the line is saying.
  • Hearing aids with T-coils:
    • You may qualify for a hearing aid with a telecoil, also known as a "T-coil" switch. The switch enables you to use the telephone. However, not everyone can benefit for this type of hearing aid. Our audiologists can counsel you as to whether this type of hearing aid is right for you.
  • Telecommunications Relay Service:
    • Telecommunications Relay Service allows you to use special equipment to call to a relay center. A specially trained operator relays messages between the relay user using a text telephone or an assistive device and a hearing person using a standard telephone. To use the telecommunications relay service, dial 7-1-1 almost anywhere in the United States. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.


If you have questions, please contact the Telecommunications Resources Program Manager at 919-874-2212. Or write to: 2301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-2301.

Starkey Hearing Foundation

The Starkey Hearing Foundation provides hearing help for hearing impaired individuals. Their "Hear Now" program is an application-based program that provides hearing help to low-income Americans. They fit individuals with top-of-the-line digital hearing aids that are customized to the individual's hearing loss.

If you or someone you know in the United States is struggling with hearing loss and is unable to afford hearing aids, call the Starkey Hearing Foundation at 800-328-8602 or email the foundation.

For hearing aid assistance outside the United States, contact the Starkey Hearing Foundation International team at 866-354-3254 or

More information is available at:


Please contact our Audiology Department at 336-273-9932 for any additional questions.

Last revised December 15, 2017