Teletypewriter (TTY) Instructions

Learn how to use TTY services from Ontario Health. You can access this free service through the Bell Relay Service.


What is a TTY Service?

A TTY (Teletypewriter) is a device that allows users to send typed messages across phone lines. Many people who are Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or who are deafblind may use TTYs to call other individuals.

This device generally has a keyboard and display that lets the user send and receive typed messages over telephone lines. People who are deafblind may use an additional large print or Braille display to read the typed messages.

A stand-alone TTY must communicate with another TTY. TTY users can directly call other TTY numbers, or they can call a Relay Service. The Relay Service operator will receive the messages on a TTY and relay the messages, by standard phone, to a person who does not have a TTY. A standard phone user can also place a call through the Relay Service operator to a TTY user.

The following are instructions from Ontario Health for accessing their free TTY service through the Bell Relay Service:

Using the Bell Relay Service

  • For TTY Users: If you have a hearing impairment or speech disability, use your TTY to type your conversations to a Bell Relay operator. The operator will read the typed message to the other person and then type the other person’s reply back to you.
  • For Voice Users: You can begin a call to a TTY user by calling the Bell Relay Service at: 1-800-855-0511. Tell the Bell Relay operator your name, the name of the person you are calling, and the number you wish to reach. The operator will type your spoken words to the TTY user and read back their replies.


Instructions for TTY Users

To call Ontario Health, dial 7-1-1 using your TTY device. The Bell Relay operator will answer with: “Bell Canada Relay Service, (operator’s name) speaking,” followed by “GA” (for “go ahead”). You can then provide the number you are trying to reach.


    General Tips for TTY Users

    • The operator will make the call for you. You speak to the operator as if you were talking directly to the person you are calling. For example, say “Hi, How are you doing?” Do not say: “Tell him I said hello.”
    • The person who receives the call is always the one who starts typing first
    • If you type the wrong word or message, either backspace or type XXX after the mistake.
    • Remember to say “Go Ahead” when you finish speaking, so the person on the other end will know it is their turn to speak.
    • If the person you are trying to reach is already familiar with the Bell Relay Service, let the operator know at the beginning of the call.
    • You can leave messages on answering machines or voicemail systems. When you do, mention that you are calling using the Bell Relay Service. Provide the Bell Relay Service phone number (1-800-855-0511) along with your area code and phone number.
    • Always wait for the Bell Relay operator’s “GA” before typing.
    • When the conversation is finished, type “GA” or “SK” (stop keying). End your call by placing the handset back on the phone and turn off the TTY power switch.


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