TDDs (TTYs) for people with Hearing Loss

TTYs (also called Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf – TDDs or Text Telephones enable hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf persons to communicate over normal telephone equipment without the requirement to hear. They type rather than speak and read rather than listen. The TTY is a recent invention, compared to the telephone, and it has greatly increased the communications capabilities of persons with hearing loss. Most states have programs that allow people with hearing loss to get a TTY at a greatly reduced or no cost.

For more information about TTYs, or to purchase a one, see:

  • Commercial companies that make or sell TTYs (also called TDDs), or
  • General stores for people with hearing loss

Computer technology has made it possible to have access to a TTY without having to buy one! Instead, you get a program for your computer that enables it to emulate a TTY. These programs can only emulate ASCII, so they can only communicate with TTYs that are ASCII-capable. Fortunately, this includes virtually all modern TTYs. Check out one of these TTY Programs.

If you’ve ever tried to contact anyone in a different country using a TTY, you may know that it’s almost impossible, because different countries use different protocols for TTYs. Now, the V.18 Protocol is promising to enable TTY communication between different countries.

With the proliferation of cell phones, you may have wondered if you can use a portable TTY to communicate wirelessly. The answer is, “Yes, you can”. Read all about how to do it in Wireless TTY Calling.

June 2001 – Is the TTY obsolete? Is it on its way out, being replaced by more modern technology? Here’s one person who thinks so!

July 2001 – Here’s a report on Dr. Harry Lang’s TDI workshop entitled “From the Telegraph to the TTY – The Deaf Experience in the History of Communication” – a really fascinating history of the TTY.

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