Selecting Assistive Technology for someone who is Deaf or is Hard of hearing

The following guidelines may be helpful when assessing the suitability of assistive technology for people who are deaf or who are hard of hearing. The list is not intended to be fully inclusive, as each person’s situation is unique.

Hardware Guidelines

  1. Can the user change sound settings, such as volume?
  2. Are status information and cues that are provided in an auditory manner also available in a visual manner for persons with hearing impairments?
  3. Are instructions and all information for use accessible to and independently usable by persons with hearing impairments, such as in print form or with refreshable electronic display?
  4. For fax machines, does the machine provide line status information (such as notifying the user of a "busy" fax line) in a visual manner (either text display or status lights) for users who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Functional Guidelines For Deafness

  1. Use speech to text software to convert speech input to electronic text which is readable on a printer, visual display or monitor.
  2. Ensure product has closed captioning option and that it is activated.
  3. Can the user confirm the selected options before submitting?

Functional Guidelines For Hard of Hearing

  1. Ensure product has adjustable volume settings.
  2. Ensure product has earphone jack or sound enhancement features compatible with hearing aids.

When assessing a product for suitability it is important that the product be looked at in light of the user’s needs, and that the product fulfills a specific, definable function required by the end-user.

People with more than one disability may require additional functionality. Please refer to the other articles in this series for more information.

Useful Links

The following links may provide additional help in selecting assistive technology for people who are deaf: