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For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, telephone communication involves communicating by text rather than by voice, typically using a teletypewriter (TTY), also known as a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). A basic TTY consist of a keyboard, a display screen, and a modem, which operates over standard telephone lines.
If an educational entity has a TTY, staff should be trained in how to use it so they can respond to calls from deaf individuals as effectively as from hearing individuals.
If no TTY is available or if a deaf caller isn't aware of the school's TTY number, the caller may call using the national Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS). The TRS is a free service that facilitates telecommunication between hearing-impaired and hearing individuals. The original TRS provides two-way translation between spoken word and typed text. The hearing user communicates by voice, the hearing-impaired user communicates by typing on a TTY, and the relay operator serves as a liaison, communicating by voice to the hearing party and by text to the hearing-impaired party.
Relay operators typically provide basic instruction to call recipients who are unfamiliar with the service. However, anyone who answers the phone should be aware of the relay service so they're not surprised or confused when they do receive TRS calls.
The following AccessIT Knowledge Base article may also be of interest:
For additional information, contact your region's ADA & IT Center at 1-800-949-4232.