Telecommunications: Devices and Software


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PDF icon Telecommunications: Devices and Software  ( English | Spanish )

Telecommunication technology has significantly changed the communication landscape for deaf individuals. For more than 40 years, text telephones (TTY) and amplified phones were their only options. Today, videophones, Smartphones, and instant messaging most often replace the TTY as preferred communication tools. 

Telecommunication technology for deaf individuals most often refers to the telephone devices, platforms, and services used when a standard phone is not an effective telecommunication tool. It falls into three broad categories: (a) equipment and devices, (b) FCC-supported relay services (VRS), and (c) fee-based video remote interpreting services (VRI). For an overview of VRS and VRI services, see Telecommunications: VRS, VRI, and TRS