What is TTY Mode and why should I use it?

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What is TTY Mode and why should I use it?

Have you ever seen or heard the term “TTY mode” and wondered what it meant? Did you see anything discussed and wonder whether you could participate, or if doing so would even help you? If so, see ‘What is TTY mode, and do I need to use it?’

What is TTY Mode and Do I Need to Use it?

TTY mode is a mobile phone function that stands for either “teletypewriter” or “text telephone.” A teletypewriter is a gadget created for those who are deaf or have trouble speaking. It converts auditory information into words and displays them to the user. The gadget may then re-encode textual responses into audio that the other person can hear. You may use add-ons or extensions to enable TTY mode in web browsers on your PC.

Please keep in mind that TTY refers to all kinds of teletypewriters. TTY mode is associated with mobile phones.

What is a Teletypewriter?

Teletypewriters are an antique technology, but they have been adapted for modern media to continue offering accessibility features to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. To retain connection as much as feasible, regardless of accessibility needs, the FCC requires that cellphones be compatible with teletypewriters; hence, TTY mode.

Before the advent of smartphones and the Internet, teletypewriters were often utilized in newsrooms. They would sit in a line, talking as they printed and making a lot of noise. Using the existing telephone network, messages could be conveyed from one end of the nation to the other. Teletypewriters fell out of favor as the internet, email, and mobile phones took control. They are currently almost solely used for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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How Does TTY Work?

A TTY device is similar to a typewriter with a tiny display screen. Depending on the model, the message may or may not be printed. The gadget connects to a compatible smartphone through a TTY connection and functions basically as an SMS device.

You input your message into the teletypewriter and see it appear on the screen. Once submitted, it is sent to the phone via TTY cable and transmitted to your carrier. The message will be received and spoken out on the receiving end’s phone or teletypewriter.

TTY mode is a historical technology, and many hearing or speech challenged persons may communicate through SMS. Real-time IP technologies are also available to make communication more accessible, but they need either a data plan or a digital telephone connection. TTY mode has been preserved for people who do not have access to mobile data or are limited to analog phone lines. Accessibility is improving, but it is still not universal.

How to Use TTY Mode

Using TTY mode is straightforward if you have a suitable phone. A teletypewriter, a TTY cable, and your phone are required. The TTY wire is usually connected to the audio jack. Then you activate TTY mode and go from there.

Other phone functionalities may not operate properly if TTY mode is enabled. You may be unable to utilize SMS or conventional voice calls when it is enabled, depending on your phone. So, if you don’t use a teletypewriter, it’s best to leave the setting turned off in order to fully use your phone’s capabilities.

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There are typically four options to select from: TTY Off, TTY Full, TTY HCO, and TTY VCO. Here’s what they all signify.


TTY Off is self-explanatory, since it indicates that TTY Mode is not activated at all. TTY Full is beneficial if both parties have speech or hearing difficulties. It will only transmit and receive text messages using the teletypewriter at either end.

TTY Full

TTY Full is used for text-only communication in both directions, with no audio component.


TTY HCO is an abbreviation for Hearing Carry Over, which implies that your communications are delivered as text but received as audio. This approach is typically utilized by those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Consider text-to-speech tools to grasp the significance of this setting. If the caller has speech problems but the called party does not, TTY HCO is beneficial. In other words, the written message will be sent via the teletypewriter, while the audio reply will be received.


TTY VCO is an abbreviation for Voice Carry-Over, which means you speak while the teletypewriter on the other end converts the sounds into text. Messages are received in text format, and this option is usually used by those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Consider speech-to-text systems to interpret VCO. TTY VCO is best utilized when the caller is deaf but not deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly dea The caller transmits an audio message and gets text responses.

If you want to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired but do not have a TTY compatible phone, you can use the Telecommunications Relay Service in the US. Anyone who dials 711 may get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A skilled operator will type and transmit your spoken message on their teletypewriter on your behalf. They will then convert the response into speech. It sounds a bit 18th century, but it works quite well, and if it’s your only alternative, it’s vital.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the questions often asked.

Can TTY Mode be Turned Off?

Yes, go to your call options and go down to TTY Mode; there should be a tick or toggle switch that you can click or slide to turn off.

How Do I Use TTY Mode on Android?

That’s all there is to know about the TTY mode. If you need extra accessibility options or if you’re regularly in touch with someone who needs help, it may be an essential feature to consider for your next smartphone. If you don’t require the additional assistance or don’t speak with someone who does, you won’t need TTY mode at all.

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