TTY/TDD Service

By Wayne Scaggs

TTY is short for teletypewriter and was used initially by the military and Western Union.  As technology changed, these devices became surplus and were provided to persons with hearing or speech impairments. Later versions of the TTY were developed and provided as TDDs (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf).The TTY/TDD allows users to communicate by text messages that each party alternately sends via a keyboard, similar to today’s text-chat.

As of January 26, 1992, all public entities were required by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to provide people who have severe speech or hearing disabilities equal access to services.  Those of us in telecommunications must be able to effectively handle calls from the speech-impaired and hard of hearing community.  This includes answering calls, dispatching, and using the resources we would with a non-impaired caller in a rational and timely manner.

Having a TTY/TDD feature integrated into call center equipment and software allows call centers to meet the ADA requirements and provide compliance services to clients. Further, TTY/TDD service can be offered on a subscription basis for additional revenue.

Wayne Scaggs is a respected industry veteran and president of Alston Tascom. For more information, contact Wayne at 909-548-7300 or

[From Connection Magazine October 2004]

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