A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-disabled uses a TTY to type conversations to a relay agent who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person. The relay agent transmits the hearing person's spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user.
TTY users have two options:
- Dial the Relay Texas number - 711. TTY users will see the light flickering on their equipment and need to wait a few seconds. When the relay agent answers "RTX XXX (F OR M) NBR PLS GA" (NBR=number, PLS=please, GA=go ahead), type the area code and number you wish to call and type "GA" (go ahead). The relay agent will then call the number and process the call.
- Dial the Relay Texas TTY number - 1- 800 - RELAY TX (735-2989). The relay agent will answer with same message as above.
Note: Calling 1-800-735-2989 will process the call faster as it does not have the interactive voice message as used in 711. On the other hand, 711 is easier to remember.
Standard telephone users can easily call a hearing or speech-disabled person through Relay Texas.
- Dial Relay Texas 711.
- A voice message will say: "You have reached Relay Texas. Press #1 to place a relay call." After pressing #1 the relay agent will come on the line.
- When the relay agent answers, give him/her the area code and phone number of the person you want to call.
- The relay agent will voice to you what the other person is typing, and will type to the other person everything that you say. Be sure to talk directly to the person you are calling and avoid saying "tell him/her." Also, make sure you say GA (go ahead) when it is the other person's turn to talk.
Some people use their computers to talk on the phone instead of using a TTY. This requires a modem and special software.
- Computer users should call 1-800-RELAY X1 (735-2991). Set your communication software to the following protocols at speeds ranging from 300 to 2400 baud: (Note: It may be helpful to set your "time out" to 100 seconds.)
- 8 Bits No Parity 1 Stop Bit Full Duplex
- When calling at a rate of 300 baud or below, follow the above setting, using Half Duplex.
In case of emergency, TTY users should always dial 911. Calls placed directly to 911 can save valuable time in urgent situations. However, if someone places an emergency call to Relay Texas, the agent will process the call as an emergency relay call. In other words, some rules related to standard relay calls may not apply and the relay agent may take over to ensure that the communication is carried out between an emergency dispatcher and TTY user. The relay agent will not disconnect until advised by the emergency dispatcher.
Voice Carry-Over (VCO) is an option for people who cannot hear but can use their own voice during a call. Using VCO and a specially designed telephone with a text screen, a VCO user can speak directly to the other person. As the other person speaks, the relay agent types back the words that are being said.
Voice Carry-Over users call 1-TRS-Voice Carry-Over-1RTX (877-826-1789)
- The relay agent will answer and type "Voice Carry-Over or TYPE GA" Voice or type the phone number of the party you want to call.
- The relay agent will type the message "VOICE NOW" to you as your cue to start speaking. You speak directly to the hearing person. The relay agent will type to you what the hearing person says. Remember to say "GA" (go ahead) at the end of your responses.
Hearing Carry-Over (HCO) allows a person with a speech disability who can hear to type their part of the conversation for the relay agent to read to the standard telephone user.
- Dial the Relay Texas TTY number at 1-800-RELAY TX (735-2989).
- After the relay agent answers, type "Hearing Carry-Over PLEASE GA"
- The relay agent will make the connections and voice what you type to the other party. After you type "GA", pick up the handset and listen to the spoken reply.
Persons with a speech disability can connect to a specially trained agent who can serve as the caller's "voice" and repeat his/her responses to the called party, if necessary. Someone wishing to call a person with a speech disability can also initiate a call to Speech-to-Speech (STS). Dial 1-877-826-6607.
Blind or Visually Impaired Callers
Dial 1-877-826-9348 to use the reduced typing speed feature. During these calls the message will come across the users TTY or Braille TTY at the rate of 15 words per minute. The user can increase or decrease the rate in increments of 5 words per minute.
Spanish Speaking Users
Callers needing a Spanish speaking agent can dial 7-1-1 and request one or directly dial the Spanish relay number at 1-800-662-4954.
Relay Texas Etiquette
What are some of the basic rules of etiquette for making or receiving a relay call?
- It is polite to identify yourself at the beginning of the call, but not required.
- Relay agents are not permitted to engage in conversations unless it is for specific call processing reasons (i.e. requesting a number to dial, providing status on a call, etc.)
- It is customary to be familiar with and/or use standard abbreviations such as GA (Go Ahead) and SK (Stop Keying). You must always type GA when you are finished typing in order for the Relay Agent to begin. Here you can find a chart indicating some of the more commonly used text abbreviations.