US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
National Institutes of Health
OFFICE OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
AND DIVERSTIY MANAGEMENT
TTYs – Telephone communication access for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Speech Impaired
TTYs are teletypewriters used by deaf and hearing individuals to communicate by telephone. A TTY (or TDD, though the preferred term is TTY) must be used by both parties in the telephone call. A message typed into one TTY is transmitted through the phone lines as electronic signals and decoded by the TTY at the other end. Text telephones are terminals used for two-way text conversation over a telephone line. They are the primary tool used by deaf people (and some hard of hearing people) for telephone conversation. Text telephones are abbreviated as "TTY" in the U.S. because they originated in technology used for teletypewriters.
Other visual telecommunications technologies and services, such as Internet chat and messaging, E-mail, E-paging, and fax are also widely used in telecommunications by people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
A link to NIH TTY Listings.
Hints on Using a TTY
Have the TTY conveniently located close to the phone. A caller may hang up if the machine must be taken out of a cabinet and plugged in before the call can be answered. An incoming TTY call sounds like a series of electronic beeps, or silence, if the caller is not tapping the keys.
Answer the call by giving the name of your office and your name; use of abbreviations is acceptable. It is not necessary to use punctuation marks, as it will slow the conversation down, simply use spaces for commas and periods, and use Q for question mark. Use GA at the end of a sentence or comment, to indicate that it is the other person's turn to talk. At the end of the conversation after typing BYE or another closing remark, type GA TO SK to indicate that you are ready to hang up, this gives the other party an opportunity to add something or agree to hang up. They will type SKSK to indicate that they are finished, and then you can hang up. (Typing SK without saying bye or something similar is considered impolite.)
Receiving a Call:
Making a Call:
GA = Go Ahead (i.e., Your Turn)
Telephone Relay Services:
Federal Relay Service (FRS)
When listing a Relay Service number in an announcement,
the number listed should be that of the Federal Relay Service, not a
state relay service,
though it certainly is an individual’s prerogative to use the one
they please. We already pay into the FRS, through a GSA contract
Federal Relay Service’s Telephone Numbers:
What is the Federal Relay Service?
The Federal Relay Service (FRS) was established under Public Law 100-542, the Telecommunications Accessibility Act of 1988. FRS provides Communication Assistants (CA) who act as intermediaries for telecommunications between hearing individuals and individuals who are Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf-Blind, and/or have speech disabilities.
Hours of Operation
The FRS Service is accessible domestically (fifty states as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the District of Columbia) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including Federal holidays. There are no restrictions on the number, length, or type of calls. All calls are strictly confidential and no records of any conversations are maintained.
Telephone relay services are used by deaf/hard-of-hearing/speech-impaired persons and hearing people to communicate by phone when one party does not have their own TTY. One person calls the relay service and gives the name and number of the other person whom they wish to call. The "communication assistant" will then place the call and inform the caller that the line is ringing, busy, or being answered by an answering machine. The communication assistant speaks what is typed and types what is spoken.
TTY Procurement Information
This document is available in alternate formats (e.g., large print, diskette, etc.) upon request by contacting the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, Disabilities Policies & Program Branch at 301.496.4628 Voice, 301.480.3122 or 301.496.9755 TTY, 301.402.0994 Fax, or MorinG@od.nih.gov.