Pay phone needed for hearing-impaired

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2000

In Word of Mouth last week, a call was made that stated that there was no need to have a ``pay TTY'' because each library has one. The problem, and truth is, the libraries are not open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Forcing a hearing-impaired person to use the phone only when a library is open and they are in the vicinity is discriminatory and a poor policy. The hearing-impaired have to plan to have their car break down near a library or miss a bus only when near one. Breakdowns and other emergencies do not seem to follow a time line.

I've had to go to a phone booth to call for help or stop and ask a stranger to make the call for me. This is scary on a dark, rainy night. Since I can't hear, I do not know when someone is behind me. Another scary thing is pushing 911 and having them think it is a crank call because I can't answer when they ask, ``What is your emergency.'' Then they hang up.

Portable TTYs are very expensive and not all that reliable. This makes getting one as a single parent on a fixed income very difficult. I have carried one around for many of the 26 years that I have lived here and have experienced numerous dead batteries, even after a 12-hour charge cycle - each time causing increased fear and frustration.

Since TTYs are now being made that can perform in an outside environment, not having one pay phone booth for the hearing-impaired is very irresponsible.

Pam Mueller-Guy

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