Tele-Communication (Telecom) Terms Glossary and Dictionary
TDD: Telecommunications Device for the Deaf
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) refers to a telephone service that is specially designed for people who have severe speech or hearing disabilities. 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 emergency services. This means direct access to 9-1-1 using TTY/TDD's and computer modems. Telecommunicators must be able to effectively handle calls from the community with speech and hearing disadvantage. This involves dispatching these calls for assistance using the appropriate resources in a rational and timely manner. One of the most critical skills that a telecommunicator must possess is recognition of a TTY/TDD call. An entity may provide a separate seven-digit line for use exclusively by non-voice calls in addition to providing direct access for these calls on the 9-1-1 line. If 9-1-1 is not available, an entity can provide emergency service through a seven-digit number. It may provide two separate lines, one for voice calls and one for non-voice calls. If this is done, the entity must ensure that the services provided on the non-voice line are as effective in terms of time response and availability in hours as the voice line. Also this non-voice number must be publicized effectively as the voice number and displayed as prominently.