Speak & Read

How it works

diagram illustrating how Speak & Read works

View demo


  1. Enter one of the following numbers to make a Speak and Read call:

    - 133 677 for all calls to local, interstate, overseas or premium rate (1900) numbers
    - 1800 555 677 to call a free 1800 number.
  2. You’ll be connected to a relay officer. When asked, tell the relay officer the area code and number of the person you want to call. The relay officer will then dial the number for you.
  3. The relay officer will tell you if the person you are calling has answered the phone, if the phone is still ringing or if the number is engaged.
  4. If you make a mistake in the phone number don't worry. The computer will either ask you again or automatically transfer you to a relay officer who will ask you for the number and dial it for you.
  5. Once your call has started, you only need to speak directly to the relay officer if you are having technical problems. If the relay officer needs to talk directly to you they will use brackets.

If you want to make overseas or premium-rate (1900 number) calls you will need to pay beyond the cost of a standard NRS call. See more about overseas and premium-rate calls.


pic of uniphone TTY

You will need a specialised fixed-line phone known as a TTY.

A TTY has a small display screen where you can read what the other person has said to you. (TTYs also have a keyboard to allow users to type their side of the conversation if they want to.)

There are two main models of TTYs - Uniphone (right), a combined TTY and telephone which is usually the preferred TTY for Speak and Read calls, and Superprint which provides a printout of the conversation.

In most cases you can rent a TTY for about the same cost as an ordinary phone through the disability equipment schemes offered by Telstra and Optus.

Other equipment

You might find other equipment useful, such as a phone arm, flashing light or phone double adaptor. This will depend on your personal requirements.

Contact the Helpdesk for more information on disabiltiy equipment schemes, and where to obtain TTYs and other specialised equipment that you might need.

This type of relay call is useful if you prefer to use your own voice. You speak directly to the other person— you don't need to type. You then read their responses, typed by the relay officer, on your TTY.

Relay officers are the central link in the phone call. They stay on the line through out each call to help it go smoothly, but do not change or interfere with what each person says.

Please note

  • TTYs may not be usable in a few years because they are an old technology.
  • Instead of making calls on a TTY you could use Internet Relay if you have an internet connection, or SMS Relay if you’ve got a mobile phone.

More info

See also tips for making calls.

See the step-by-step tab here if you want to call a Speak & Read user.

See our Speak & Read factsheet.

Make an Internet Relay call Make a Captioned Relay call

24-hour relay call numbers

  • TTY/voice calls

    133 677

  • Speak & Listen

    1300 555 727

  • SMS Relay

    0423 677 767

Make other relay calls
– all the numbers you need
My deafness has worsened over the years. Then I discovered the relay service. It's meant so much to me and the wonderful relay officers are so patient and kind. My life would be so much more difficult without them."