Is the NRS right for me?

image of girl on computer

People with disabilities such as a physical impairment, visual impairment or intellectual disability in addition to a speech impairment may find the NRS a useful tool for making telephone calls.

This information will help you decide whether the NRS is the right phone option for you or your clients:


What the NRS provides

The NRS is a phone service for people who are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment - and those who wish to make phone calls to them.

This requirement is set out in the Commonwealth legislation that governs the NRS.

You may have a combination of disabilities that affects your ability to make calls and speak or hear on the telephone.

However, if you want to use the NRS you will need to accept the standard procedures for making relay calls. You can use the checklist at the end of this page to see if the NRS is right for you.

The NRS provides a number of call channels depending on your particular needs.

If you are thinking of using Speak & Listen please note that:

  • it is designed to be used by people with a speech impairment

  • it is a relay service, not a call connection service (although relay officers connect the call as part of the service, they stay on the line throughout the call)

  • you can create a profile through our Helpdesk or the NRS app which lets the relay officer know what to do to help with a call from you. Note that a profile can say that the customer may not require relaying during every call. The profile can't say that the customer is not speech-impaired or does not require the call to be relayed

The relay officer's role

Relay officers are a central part of any NRS relay call, and you need to be aware of what they can and can't do. Relay officers will:

  • introduce themselves and the NRS (except in Captioned Relay calls)

  • explain the service and their role to you or the other person if required (except in Captioned Relay calls)

  • stay on the line and listen to the conversation for the duration of the call

  • relay what you or the other person says when required

  • keep the content of calls confidential

The relay officer CAN:

  • give you advice about the mechanics or operation of the call

  • type your words or those of the other party to the call

  • speak the words that you or the other party to the call have typed

  • re-speak your words (in Speak & Listen calls only) if the other party to the call doesn't understand what you say

  • give your name, address, or telephone number to the other person if you request this

  • give information such as passwords or account numbers to the other person if you request this

  • tell the other person that you are using a voice output device or have a speech or hearing impairment

  • ask the other person to be patient while you generate a message.

Note that in Captioned Relay calls, the relay officer is not able to communicate with you directly.

The relay officer CAN'T:

  • remind you of what to say or generally prompt you during the call

  • help you make decisions

  • give you advice about the content of your call

  • remind you to stay on topic

  • rephrase or summarise what you or the other person have said

  • respeak what the other person has said

  • go off the line and stop listening to the call

Your role

With all NRS calls, you - not the relay officer - are responsible for the content of the call and for control of the call.

You will need to:

  • have your phone numbers ready and anything else needed for the call

  • use English for all parts of the call that need to be relayed

  • participate in standard relay call procedures - there aren't many and they are easy to learn

Checklist: is the NRS for me?

If you can answer yes to the following five questions then the NRS can help you make phone calls using one of the above call channels:  

  1.  Do I have a hearing or speech impairment?
  2.  Can I keep control of my call and not depend on the relay officer for its content?
  3.  Am I able to use English for those parts of the call that need to be relayed?
  4.  Am I comfortable with the relay officer being on the line and with relay procedures?
  5.  Can I manage the technology required, such as a voice output device, computer, mobile phone or TTY?

More information

If you need more information, training or support, contact our Helpdesk.

Make an Internet Relay call Make a Captioned Relay call

24-hour relay call numbers

  • TTY/voice calls

    133 677

  • Speak & Listen

    1300 555 727

  • SMS Relay

    0423 677 767

Make other relay calls
– all the numbers you need
Now, I can make and receive calls independently with the NRS."
pic of NRS user with complex communications needs


Kyneton, Victoria