Home Lifestyle Health What is TTY mode? A comprehensive Guide

What is TTY mode? A comprehensive Guide

9 min read

What is the TTY mode? This is one of the most common queries on the Internet. If you have heard about TTY mode and want to know what it is all about, this article is the best guide for you. From a detailed explanation of what TTY mode is to how it can prove beneficial for you, this article has all the critical queries covered.

So, What is the TTY Mode?

TTY mode is an abbreviation used for ‘teletypewriter’ or ‘text telephone’. It is a feature of mobile phones. The feature, teletypewriter, is uniquely designed for people who have disability listening and speaking. Such people find it tough to use a mobile phone. The TTY mode translates the audio signals into words and displays them on the mobile screen for the person to easily get the conversation. Simultaneously, the system translates the written inputs from the person to audio signals and send it to the other person on the call. The TTY mode can also be utilized on PC browser by adding plugins and extensions.

What is a Teletypewriter?

A teletypewriter is a technology from the yesteryears but it has been modified to put to best use in the current technological environment. The technology is now used to offer accessibility to hearing and speech impaired individuals. It was made a mandate by the FCC that the modern cellphones must be compatible with Teletypewriter and offer great connectivity to one and all. This is why the TTY mode was incepted.

Much before the era of telephones and mobile phones, it was the teletypewriter that was used in various setups. The telephone networks were utilized based on which the Teletypewriter would make sending messages from one part of the country to another possible. Gradually, they got obsolete as more advanced technology came in. Today, teletypewriters are exclusively used for offering accessibility options to the hearing and speech impaired.

How Does TTY Work?

There are several models of Teletypewriters available in the market but usually, it is a small device which has a screen to display the message. Depending upon the model, you may be able to print out the message. The TeleType Writer can be connected with a mobile phone using a TTY cable and assists in the conversation.

The user can type the message on the teletypewriter and check the inscription on the screen. As soon as you confirm the message, it is transferred to the phone through the TTY cable and sent to the other person.

TTY technology has made it very easy for speech and listening to impaired people to communicate. Although there are several IP technologies that offer similar ease of communication, they either require a data connection or an exclusive digital telephone line. For people who have no access to a data connection, TTY technology is a great advantage.

How to Use The TTY Mode?

The user can enjoy TTY technology easily. They will need three devices including teletypewriter, a TTY cable, and your phone. It is important to know that while you use the TTY mode, the additional features of the phone may not work correctly. Most of the users want to use their SMS or regular voice call services simultaneously which may not be very feasible. While you must benefit from the TTY technology it is advised to keep the setting switched off to enjoy the functionality of the mobile phone.

You can use four settings for the purpose:


TTY Off mode means that the TTY mode is not in use.

TTY Full

TTY full mode means that both the parties using the technology are speech or hearing impaired and the communication would be text only. There would be no audio component.


TTY HCO means Hearing Carry Over. This means that the messages sent are sent as an audio message but received as an audio message. People who are speech impaired primarily utilize the setting. This setting is useful if one party is speech impaired and the other one is not.


TTY VCO stands for Voice Carry Over. This implies that the person can talk on the phone while the teletypewriter on the other end can convert the conversation into text. This technology can be compared with Speech-to-text applications. This setting is useful when the caller is hearing impaired but does not have any speech disability.

How to Use TTY Technology Without a TTY Compatible Phone?

If you reside in the US and want to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired but does not own a TTY compatible phone, you can utilize the Telecommunications Relay Service. To avail the service dial 711 and you will get 24/7 assistance. There will be a trained operator assigned to your call who will type the message and send it to the person with hearing impairment.

However, I recommended considering the TTY mode the next time you plan buying a smartphone.

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