Hearing Impaired Services

Written by Linda Alexander
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Hearing impaired services take many forms, from medical services to social services to technology services. There are a wide variety of hearing impaired services available in your local community that will connect you with other hearing impaired individuals, or help you get the services you need. Large organizations exist just for this purpose!

Medical Hearing Impaired Services

Medical services for the hearing impaired may include interpreting, sexual health and family planning, prenatal and parent education, sexual assault advocacy, and child abuse education. There are also mental health and community education services for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf blind people. When speaking about medical hearing impaired services, one might also be referring to hearing aids, cochlear implants and other procedures that can help the late-onset and orally deaf.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, deaf people have rights to certain services. At a public event, for example, a deaf person may request an interpreter to translate, so that she or he may fully participate in the program. Sign language interpreters translate the spoken language into sign language, so the deaf person can understand what's being said.

Technological services for the hearing impaired have also improved in recent years. Besides the TTY phones, deaf people can now communicate via wireless phones with text messaging, and email and voice to text. There is also a new technology in movie theaters called "rear window" captioning. If the theater is equipped with these devices, a moviegoer can see any movie there with a private screen reflecting the captions. This eliminates the needs for special "open caption" film prints, or special screenings just for deaf people.

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