What is TDD/TTY?
TDD stands for “telecommunications device for the deaf” and TTY refers to a “teletypewriter”. Both terms are synonymous with each other and refer to a device that basically looks like a typewriter and is intended to help deaf and/or mute persons communicate with each other and with other people.
The TDD/TTY machine has a QWERTY keypad, just like a basic typewriter. It also has a LED or LCD screen to view and display text. This particular device also comes with its own printer. Using a telephone line, one deaf person from one end can communicate with another deaf person in another part of a city or country using a TDD/TTY machine.
TDD/TTY machines can also be used to communicate with a basic phone line on the other end. In this setup, the deaf or mute person using a TDD/TTY machine will go through a “relay operator” in communicating with a normal person using a basic phone line. The relay operator is tasked to translate whatever message is typed by the deaf/mute person to the recipient person.
In most cases though, most TDD/TTY machines are used on both ends of the communication line. A deaf and/or mute person for example may communicate with another deaf/mute person through typing messages onto the machine. Through the phone line and telecommunications protocol, the message typed by the sender will be transported to the recipient terminal which is the other TDD/TTY machine on the other line. The receiving end will now be able to view the message and has the option to respond to it by typing his/her message. Messages received may either be viewed on screen or may be printed on paper.
The basic concept of TDD/TTY machines is similar to computer chatrooms. This is the reason why there aren’t many who manufacture and use TDD/TTY machines anymore. With the increasing popularity and usage of internet, chatrooms, mobile phone text messaging, webcam services, and other means of electronic communications, the use of TDD/TTY machines have somewhat become obsolete. To keep up with the modern times, TDD/TTY machines now come with the latest technology. Many of the models today are much smaller and much handier to carry around. TDD/TTY units of today also are able to integrate and work with computers for additional functionality.