Helping Hearing and Speech Impaired

USF helps Tampa Bay residents through partnership with the Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay.



By Barbara Melendez

USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (June 24, 2011) – When Dade City resident Terrence Dunne walked into the University of South Florida-Speech Language and Hearing Center to pick up new hearing aids little did he know he’d be walking out with a new telephone – free of charge – designed for people with hearing loss. 


As a technical writer who works from home, it will come in handy.  And an added benefit is that it was paid for by everyone who pays a phone bill in Florida.


One of the many extra fees on today’s complex telephone billing statements contains a special charge – set by the Telecommunications Access System Act and administered by Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI). The current surcharge is 11 cents a month and pays for, among other things, specialized equipment, such as amplified phones for those eligible in the state of Florida.


Residents of Tampa Bay experiencing hearing loss now can obtain this equipment through a new partnership between the Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay (DHC) and USF.


DHC is a regional distribution center for FTRI, a statewide nonprofit that provides specialized telecommunications equipment for people with hearing loss and speech disabilities.


To obtain an amplified phone at no cost, Tampa residents must be: permanent Florida residents; age three and older; and be certified as hard of hearing, deaf, deaf/blind or speech impaired. The DHC will distribute phones at the USF- Tampa’s Speech Language and Hearing Center located in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, PCD1017 in Tampa. The schedule is Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m.


“Most people don’t realize that one in three adults will experience hearing loss by the time they are 65,” explained Patricia Carr, audiology clinic director and clinical supervisor at USF. “Providing technology that allows Tampa residents to clearly communicate with friends and loved ones is an invaluable service that we are proud to offer through the DHC.”


Additional hearing services are available at the USF Hearing Clinic by scheduling individual appointments.  


“We are thrilled about this partnership which will allow us to really broaden our reach in the Tampa area,” said DHC Executive Director Holliday Lisowski.. “USF’s Speech Language and Hearing Center has a reputation for being deeply committed to improving the lives of those with speech and hearing challenges.”  


The newly-added USF center offers a more convenient location for residents of the Hillsborough area. Currently, the DHC serves both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.


To schedule an appointment or for any questions about the amplified phone program, contact The Deaf and Hearing Connection of Tampa Bay at (727) 399-9983 or (813) 952-6625. 


For more information on hearing services at USF-Tampa, call (813) 974-8804 or send an email to For more information on speech language services at USF-Tampa, call (813) 974-9844 or email


About the University of South Florida-Speech Language and Hearing Center

The Speech Language and Hearing Center was founded in 1969 and is located in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders. The center provides nearly 40,000 hours of speech and hearing services to the community annually. It is the primary teaching site for the clinical graduate education of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. In Spring 2001, the Center was relocated into a new 47,800 square foot, state-of-the-art facility. 


Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay

The Deaf and Hearing Connection is a nonprofit agency that has been committed to addressing issues related to Deafness and hearing loss in the Tampa Bay community since 1983. DHC provides cost effective services to approximately 14,000 people every year and empowers people affected by hearing loss to function as productive independent and self-reliant citizens.


About FTRI

Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) is a statewide non profit 501(c)3 organization that administers the Specialized Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program for citizens of Florida who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf/Blind and Speech Impaired. FTRI is also responsible for the education and promotion of the Florida Relay Service.  For more information, visit

Barbara Melendez
can be reached at 813-974-4563