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Communicating with Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Medical Provider’s Information Fact and Resource Sheet For Providing Effective Communication to Persons Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

If you are a medical or mental health care provider, you have an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide equivalent services to persons with disabilities, which includes persons who are deaf and/or hard of hearing.

As a public accommodation/service provider you must ensure that your patient/consumers are not treated differently than others due to their disability or hearing loss. In other words, you must provide reasonable accommodations to ensure effective communication.

Accommodations (such as auxiliary aids and services) necessary to ensure effective communication for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

A few examples of auxiliary aids and services include but are not limited to Sign Language Interpreters, written notes, or Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). It is recommended that the communication preference of your patient/client be taken into consideration when determining which auxiliary aid you will be providing. It is also important to ensure that the method chosen to communicate with your patient/client is effective for both parties. Information on this matter can be located in the Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. §36.303(c)) or http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-97857.

Additional information on your obligations under Title III of the ADA can be found at http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html and the online Technical Assistance Manual can be found at http://www.ada.gov/taman3.html.

You may also contact the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 for technical assistance.