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10 Observations of What Life for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People Was Like 10 Years Ago

1. Talking at 20-40 words per minute (we now talk at 120 words per minute or faster)

2. For deaf people, we communicated in a language we felt uncomfortable with

3. For deaf people, we used a keyboard to communicate, instead of using sign language

4. We had to use 711 to make a relay call, instead of a normal 10-digit number like we do today

5. We got hung up more often because the other party had to say “GA” (go ahead) during the call.

6. Hearing people hated to receive text relay calls because it was so slow.

7. We did not know what the operator (agent) said to the hearing party (the call was not visible and we see everything with VRS)

8. We either had to pay several hundred dollars for a TTY device or got them for free or a reduced cost from state distribution programs.

9. It was hard for us to get the “emotions” of the hearing person who we were calling.

10. There were a few deaf and hard-of-hearing employees working in the relay services business. (compared to what we have now.)

We all should bear in mind that the TTY is still a very useful device for those who still use it and need it today. Especially during power outages, the TTY is still a device that can communicate over phone lines. Also for E911, the TTY still works in an integrated mode with the 911 systems out there.

If you have other thoughts to add, use the comments below and Dr. Z will make another update if there are enough comments coming our way.

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