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تقنية TTY للاصم

Close up of TTY device

TTY device – Tele Typewriter

Introduction to the TTY

A TTY is one of the most commonly used accommodations by people who are unable to understand speech on the telephone. TTY is an acronym for Tele Typewriter– a device that uses text instead of voice to communicate via telephone lines. Sometimes the acronym TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) is also used for the same device. This term is used less frequently since we prefer to describe the device, rather than those who use it (some people who use a TTY are not deaf).

The TTY enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired to converse on the telephone by typing messages that are sent through the telephone network. A TTY works by converting text messages into a sound–based code (loud beeps) that are transmitted through the telephone line. The person on the other end of the line must also use a TTY to decode the sounds back into text. Each party in the conversation takes a turn typing a message and then reads the response of the other person.

When a person who uses a TTY wants to converse on the phone with someone who does not have a TTY a Relay service is used. See below for more information.

Using a TTY

Using a TTY is simple if you keep a couple basics in mind.

The TTY must be connected to a phone line. There are two ways to do this. One is with Direct Connect. The TTY comes with a phone cord that plugs directly into the phone jack. A flashing light on the TTY (and possibly connected to a larger lamp) alerts that there is an incoming call.

The second way to connect a TTY to the phone is through a coupler. This is demonstrated in the picture below. Many units will have a diagram on the machine to show which way the handset is placed on the cups. Most times the handset piece that you speak into is placed on the left, with the ear piece to the right. To use the coupler, dial or answer the phone as normal and place the phone handset on the TTY cups as shown.

TTY with phone handset on the TTY cups (coupler).

TTY with phone handset on the cups (coupler).

A TTY uses a QWERTY keyboard, similar to that on a computer. The keyboard is slightly smaller than a computer keyboard and will require adjustment. Most new users will need to look at the keyboard while typing.

TTY callers must take turns sending messages. Unlike traditional phone conversations, you cannot interrupt the other person. To facilitate taking turns, codes are used to let the other caller know it is their turn.

GA= Go ahead. When I am done with my statement, I type GA. That lets the other party know it is their turn. When that person finishes a thought, he or she also types GA.

GA or SK= Go ahead or stop keying. When I want to wrap up the conversation, I say GA or SK to let the other person know I am done, and they can either continue to talk or prepare to hang up.

SKSK= Stop keying and hang up. After a polite, GA or SK, one party will signal the end of the conversation with SKSK, often preceded with Good Bye. The other party responds likewise with SKSK. At this point, the conversation is complete. Be sure to hang up the phone.

TTY calls require a great deal of typing, good understanding of written language, and do not allow for voice inflection, facial expression, or the many other ways we convey information in normal conversation. When conversing with someone who you do not know very well or regarding an unfamiliar topic, these tips will help the call go more smoothly.


  • Use simple language and short sentences.


  • Provide only one piece of information at a time then check for understanding before going on.


  • Use pleasantries as you would in any phone conversation. How are you? Have a good day, Etc.


Choosing and Purchasing

There is a large variety of TTY models available. See Where to Purchase for a selection of retailers.

One consideration is whether you plan to use direct connect or a coupler. Many units are prepared for either method.

You will also need to determine if you want a printing TTY or a non–printing TTY, (about a 0 difference.) Remember that you cannot watch text on a screen and look at anything else at the same time. Many hearing people, especially in business settings, are used to looking at other information while listening to someone on the phone. In this case, a printer will allow you to look away from the TTY for a moment while the other person is talking, then look back at the tape to see what was said. Keep in mind, that if you do not record ALL callers’ conversations, you should not retain TTY tapes of deaf people’s conversations. This is a violation of privacy.

There are portable TTYs’ that are compact enough for a brief case or purse. Large print displays make reading easier for those with limited vision. Some TTY’s have built in answering machines, and others are designed to plug into cellular phones. Other features are also available.

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