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Telecommunication for people who are hard of hearing or deaf

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Telecommunication Devices and Services

More than 21 million Americans are challenged with hearing loss. A telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or teletypewriter (TTY) enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled to utilize a telephone. The TDD is about the size of a laptop computer with a standard QWERTY keyboard and LED or LCD screen to display electronic text. In addition, TDDs commonly have a small spool of paper on which the text is printed.
TDD with LCD screen
TDD with LCD screen
This technology has been available since 1964. Both personal and some public phones can be equipped with a TDD. TDD and TTY’s can be used to communicate between two deaf individuals as long as they both use a compatible device with a similar communication protocol, or to a hearing person through a human relay operator. Relay Services such as http://www.consumer.att.com/relay/ provide a live interpreter to communicate between the two parties. Additional information and referrals can be located through the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency at http://www.dcara.org

Other telecommunication devices include the Textphone, minicom, captioned telephone, short messaging service, internet relay chat and instant messaging. In addition a modem card available at http://www.abledata.com will convert a personal computer to a TDD. There are also services for those that can hear but cannot speak, "hearing carry-over" and those that speak but cannot hear, "voice carry-over."

For those hard of hearing the telephone ring and conversation sound level can be amplified or the pitch adjusted to suit the needs of the user. Portable amplifiers are available at http://www.abledata.com. These are slipped onto the receiver of a standard telephone handset to amplify the conversation. The addition of filters will remove ambient noise and a visual call indicator can alert the user to an in-coming call.

TDD & TTY Etiquette

Since it is difficult to determine when a person is finished speaking the term "Go ahead"/"GA" is used. Some common abbreviations used are as follows. More can be located at http://library.rit.edu/depts/ref/research/deaf/ttyuse.html

BRB =Be Right Back
CA =Communications assistant (another term for a relay operator)
CU =See You (be seeing you)
GA =Go Ahead
SK =Stop Keying
SKSK =Now hanging up
Q, QQ, QM =Question Mark (?)
PLS =Please
RO =Relay Operator
OIC =Oh, I See
OPR =Operator
NBR =Number
TMW =Tomorrow
THX =Thanks
WRU =Who are You? (or Where are You?)
XXXX =Typing error

SK is used to allow the users to say their farewells, while SKSK indicates an immediate call hang-up.

The following is a sample conversation between two deaf individuals.

Caller A: HELLO JOHN, WHAT TIME WILL YOU BE COMING IN TODAY Q GA
Caller B: HI FRED, I WILL BE IN AROUND NOON GA
Caller A: OK, NO PROBLEM, DON'T FORGET TO BRING THE BOOK GA
Caller B: WILL DO SK
Caller A: BYE SKSK

External Links

References