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Information on TTY Teletype Services

The term TTY refers to a Teletype Machine and it's also known as a TDD (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf). A TTY is an electronic device allowing people with hearing or speech disabilities to send and receive text messages over landline or wireless telephone networks. The text typed in is transmitted instantly so using a TTY device is like talking on the phone. In order for 2 people who are hearing or speech impaired to be able to communicate independently with each other they must both have a TTY device. In the case of one person without such disabilities wanting to communicate with a speech or hearing impaired person, the former can use a TRS service that permits calling an operator who will act as a third party translating your message from voice to text and viceversa. For more info on using the TRS service visit this page.

TTY service via wireless networks

TTY devices or cell phones featuring TTY capabilities can be used in most cases via a wireless network. However, some of the new digital cellular networks do not provide full support for TTY communication resulting in incomplete messages or no messages at all. Be sure to ask your wireless company if it provides support for this type of communication.

Advantages offered by TTYs:

  • People with disabilities can "direct dial" between one another without the need to connect via a TRS center
  • The possibility of making emergency 911 calls

New technology

In this New York Times article we learn about much easier/cheaper ways of communicating for people with speech disabilities using new software for iPhones and netwbooks.

More info