Hearing Carry-Over (HCO)

QUESTION: How can a person who may have limited speech capabilities communicate using the relay service?

ANSWER: Hearing Carry-Over (HCO) enables a speech-disabled person, using a special telephone to directly hear the standard phone users conversation through the relay service. Maryland Relay offers four options, each designed to help facilitate effective telephone communication for persons with speech disabilities.

Setting up a Customer Profile is strongly encouraged with HCO.

Click here for instructions for family and friends on how to call using HCO.

HCO: This feature enables speech disabled users to directly hear the voice person's message. The OPR then voices the speech-disabled TTY user's typed response back to the voice caller.

HCO-to-HCO (HTH): This allows two speech-disabled TTY users to listen to the OPR read the typed conversation between them.

HCO-to-TTY (HTT): HTT allows a relay call between a Hearing Carry-Over user and a traditional TTY user. The HCO user can listen to the OPR voice the other TTY user's message. The OPR will then transmit the HCO user's message to the TTY user.

HCO with Privacy: This feature gives additional privacy for the standard telephone user talking with an HCO user. The OPR will not be able to hear the hearing person's conversation directly to the speech disabled HCO user.

To use Hearing Carry-Over (HCO):
  1. Dial 1-800-735-2258 or 7-1-1.
  2. A Maryland Relay OPR will send this message: “MD RELAY OPR # (gender) NBR PLS Q GA.”
  3. Type the area code and telephone number you are calling, along with any calling instructions or information. Then type "HCO GA."
  4. If you request an OPR of a particular gender, your call will be transferred to another OPR whose identification number and gender ("M" for male or "F" for female) will appear on your display. The OPR will then type "HCO on GA".
  5. When the person you are calling answers, you can listen to him or her. Please remember to type "GA" when you are ready to hear your caller's response. This alerts the called party to begin talking back to you.
  6. If you would like to make another call, don't hang up. The OPR will remain on the line, ready to assist you, the moment your prior conversation ends.