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You can pick up a phone and call a friend. Can a deaf person use the phone? How do deaf people use technology to communicate? Look at all the different ways that technology has enabled deaf people to communicate.

Instant Messaging (IM)Instant Messaging (IM)

This is a picture of IM on AOL. People can use IM to chat with other people on different computers or pagers. You can find instant messaging (IM) programs from different Internet companies

Using IM is easy – it’s almost the same as using the phone, but you read what they’re saying instead of hearing it. You don’t need to be able to hear to use IM.

IM is not the same as using e-mail. E-mail is for writing a letter to other people. IM is used for chatting with other people


e-mailThis is e-mail. E-mail is on the computer. You can use Yahoo or AOL on the Internet. You just type your note, send the e-mail to the other people and wait for them to write back. You can send e-mails for information, emergencies or contact friends.

Relay Services

Relay Services Student Drawings

Deaf people use a TTY to call hearing friends by using the Relay service.

The Relay service helps connect the TTY caller to the phone or ‘voice’ caller. Hearing people can use voice calls to call deaf friends by using the Relay service, too.

TTY (Teletypewriter)

TTYThis is a TTY--how does it work?

A deaf person will place their phone handset on the TTY--then they will be able to call another person with a TTY. Instead of talking, the deaf person will type their conversation.

If a deaf person wants to call a hearing person, they can use their TTY to make the call through a relay operator.

It is similar to text messaging on a cell phone.


PagerHere is a pager. The first pager was made in 1999. Anyone can have a pager. It is easy to have conversations with other people.

It is used the same as a cell phone for hearing people to have conversations with other hearing people.