History Through Deaf Eyes – Communications Access

The Information Age of the late twentieth century has witnessed an explosion of new technologies and services that have profoundly influenced the lives of deaf people. Teletype machines called “TTY” or “TDDs,” developed in the 1960s, made it possible for deaf people to call anyone else with a TTY.

The more recent creation of nationwide relay services connects deaf people with hearing people who may not have a TTY, and vice versa. Deaf people also use fax transmissions and electronic mail to communicate. For many deaf people, pagers have become the favorite means of communication while on the road. The deaf home is usually stocked with mechanisms that allow communication to flow.

A man is sitting on a desk using a TTY

This man is making a phone call using a telecommunications device called a “TTY” or “TDD.” A flashing light alerts him when the phone rings. Visual alerting devices keep a deaf family aware of all the buzzes and beeps of daily living. Flashing signal devices tell deaf parents when an infant is crying.

Courtesy of Barry Bergey