Type & Listen

How it works

diagram of Type & Listen call

View demo


  1. Enter one of the following numbers to make a Type and Listen 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 will be connected to a relay officer. When asked, enter the area code and number of the person you want to call. The NRS computer will dial the number you have entered. If you make a mistake in the phone number don't worry. The computer will either ask you again or automatically transfer you to the relay officer who will ask you for the number and dial it for you.
  3. The relay officer will tell you that the phone call is starting. You will then hear the relay officer introduce the call to the other person and then your conversation will start.
  4. At the start of your conversation, remember to tell the other person who you are by typing your name because they will not be able to hear your voice. See common abbreviations used when typing during a relay call.
  5. If you need to communicate directly to the relay officer during a conversation, use brackets around the words, eg (please repeat that) - otherwise what you type will be relayed.


pic of uniphone TTY

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

A TTY has a keyboard where you can type your side of the message. (There is also and a small display screen for users who can't hear and need to read the responses.)

There are two main models of TTYs -  Uniphone, a combined TTY and telephone (right) which is usually the preferred TTY for Type and Listen users, or 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.

Adding a speakerphone to your TTY

You may find it more convenient to have a speakerphone connected to your TTY so you don't have to hang up the receiver each time you type. (Note that you will have to turn off the speaker button each time to prevent "jumbling" of your messages.)

It is possible to use a Superprint TTY and speakerphone together on some phone lines only. However it does not work in all situations and we recommend that you trial it first.

You may be able to rent a speakerphone from your telephone company for the same cost as a standard phone. 

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.

You type your side of the conversation on your TTY keyboard and the relay officer reads it aloud to the other person on their phone. You then listen to the other person speak directly to you.

Relay officers are the central link in the phone call. They stay on the line throughout 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 tips for making calls.

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

And see our Type & Listen 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
I struggled with using the a regular phone but it only left me feeling frustrated. My wife had to take responsibility for all our calls. When I started using relay calls, it was like Christmas had come!"