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How to Use a TTY
The teletypewriter, or TTY, is a device that lets deaf and hearing people type back and forth using regular telephone lines.
Teletypewriters were used for many years by news organizations and businesses. These organizations used teletypewriters to send and receive news using existing telephone lines. Other machines were directly connected to each other on private lines. In the 1960’s, these teletypewriters were modified for use by deaf people. Robert Weitbrecht, a deaf physicist, designed an acoustic coupler that could convert the electrical signals coming from the TTY to activate the keys of the TTY and print the message.
The teletypewriter has been called by several names, including Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) or Text Telephone (TT). However, a national organization, Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI), has taken a firm stand and endorses the acronym of “TTY” to represent all text telephones. TDI publishes a national directory and guide to resources that are available to enhance telecommunications accessibility for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech impaired.
TTY equipment weighs two to five pounds and includes a three or four-row keyboard, a display for reading the typed message, a modem or modular connection, AC power, and rechargeable, replaceable batteries. It can also have a printer/auto answering machine. There are many different models and styles of TTYs for sale. Prices range from $200 to $1,000. They can be purchased from the manufacturer, catalogs, and electronics stores.
TTY calls take longer, because typing is slower than talking. To save time, common English abbreviations frequently are used. In addition, some punctuation, articles, or prepositions are omitted when it does not interfere with meaning. Many TTY users type without commas or periods, creating telegraphic but intelligible messages. The result is an efficient exchange of information.
TTYs make it possible for teachers in postsecondary educational settings to notify deaf or hard of hearing students of any class changes or cancellations. These students can also use a TTY to contact instructors when necessary. Both parties, of course, must have a TTY device to use with their regular telephone.
Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI)
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 604
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3803
Cagle, S.J. & Cagle, Keith M.
GA and SK ETIQUETTE: Guidelines for Telecommunications in the Deaf Community. 1991, Bowling Green Press, Bowling Green, Ohio
This PEPNet Tipsheet was compiled by Barbara Ray Holcomb, associate professor, American Sign Language and Interpreting Education, NTID, Rochester, New York.
If you have any further questions on this topic, about working with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, or would like more information, contact:
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Article printed from Northern Essex Community College: http://www.necc.mass.edu
URL to article: http://www.necc.mass.edu/academics/support-services/learning-accommodations/deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-services/student-resources/accommodations-tipsheets/how-to-use-a-tty/
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