New technology at Sky Harbor helps those with hearing loss communicate

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Newly installed video relay service tablets are now available at Sky Harbor International Airport to assist the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-challenged travelers.

The airport is a busy place. The hustle and bustle means communication is key in finding your gate, arriving on time, even getting through security.

Now we have another way to communicate.

"Now we have video relay service," said Becca Bailey with the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. "It's more natural and we can use ASL, it's more equal and fair for communication. It makes the experience at the airport so much easier and more smooth and successful."

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of hearing demonstrated how the newly installed video relay service, or VRS, tablets work.

The tablets are located in terminal four at the west end information desk.

"The VRS services have different offices around the U.S., they have different call centers so if you make a call, if you dial a specific number, it's automatically routed to whoever is available," said Emmeet Hassen with the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Deaf and hard of hearing as well as speech-challenged travelers will use American Sign Language to communicate via video call with an interpreter service.

The tablets will have different convo apps that individuals have subscriptions to and users can login to their accounts and video call an interpreter to receive assistance with their travel or communication needs.