Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Tools, Technology and Key Resources to Cultivate Academic Success

Meet the Experts
Jeannette
Jeannette Washington, M.Ed.

A former speech-language pathologist, Ms. Washington created Bearly Articulating, a company that provides multisensory tutoring online and in-home, college planning, and professional development to support the unique educational needs of learners struggling in reading, writing, spelling, speaking and other scholastic aspects of formal education.

Jenna L. Kubly

Ms. Kubly studied theater history and received a B.A. from Bethel University (Minnesota), M.A. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Ph.D. from Tufts University. She is fascinated with all types of history, drama, and art, but especially the society and culture of the First World War. She has published essays and book reviews.

Introduction

Students with hearing disabilities face unique challenges inside the classroom. Many common learning modes that people take for granted — lectures, discussion groups and even one-on-one conversations — can be a struggle for those who have any level of hearing difficulty. However, that doesn’t mean a college degree is out of reach. Today’s wide range of tools, devices and systems can help students who are deaf or hard of hearing thrive in an educational setting. This guide focuses on those resources, tech tools and expert tips that students of all ages can use achieve academic success.

Understanding the Differences: Deaf, Deafness and Hard of Hearing

Not all hearing disabilities are equal, and a person’s hearing level dictates how they manage life both inside and outside the classroom. The next few sections explain the different degrees of hearing loss, as well as define the following three commonly used terms: deaf, deafness and hard of hearing.

Deaf

Deaf does not describe the level of hearing problems in an individual. Instead, the term refers to those who are hard of hearing and use American Sign Language to communicate.

Deafness

Deafness refers to a level of hearing loss severe enough that the individual is limited in her or his ability to process acoustical language, whether they are using assistive listening devices or not.

Hard of Hearing

Hard of Hearing is used to describe someone who does not hear well. The individual may hear and understand verbal communication, but may need the help of an assistive listening device or hearing aid.

For those suffering from hearing loss, the following decibel (dB) values refer to the amount of additional sound energy they would need (relative to someone with normal hearing) in order to perceive a given sound:

Tech Tools for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students

Students with a hearing disability have a number of assistive tools at their disposal. Some assistive technology, such as a hearing aid, is fairly well known and common among those with more serious impairments. However, some tools on the following list may not be as popular, at least to those who either work with or teach students who use them. Let’s see which tech tools are helping make classrooms – and learning environments in general – more accommodating for students with hearing loss.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids amplify existing sounds around the wearer. They work by making sounds easier to understand and can provide sound filtering to make existing sounds easier to hear. Hearing aids usually fit around the ear or inside the ear canal. Due to the potential to be overly conscious that someone might notice the hearing aid, college students may prefer the in-the-canal hearing aids, custom-fitted so that they are practically impossible to notice.

Though hearing aids can be purchased online, keep in mind that they often require extensive customization and programming, as well as adequate instruction in their use; therefore, it is important to discuss the need for hearing aids with a physician, audiologist or licensed hearing aid center.

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are essentially prosthetic ears. They tend to be very expensive, as they require surgery and a great deal of follow up care. As a result, cochlear implants are usually not recommended for those who have anything less than profound hearing loss.

Cochlear implants work with external and internal components. The external components consist of a microphone to detect sounds, a speech processor which filters and processes the sounds to be sent to the inner ear and a transmitter which transmits the signal to the internal receiver beneath the individual’s skin.

The internal components consist of a receiver that collects the processed sound data and converts them into electrical signals, and electrodes that apply the electrical signals to the cochlea. The brain then interprets these electrical signals as sound.

In order to receive a cochlear implant, those in need must speak with the proper medical specialists, including a cochlear-implant surgeon.

Smartphone Apps

There are countless smartphone apps for Android or iOS that can assist college students who are hard of hearing. The following is a short list of apps that could be useful.

  • Hamilton Mobile Captel Available on both iOS and Android, this app transcribes telephone calls in real time. This allows the user to read what is being said during the phone call.
    Cost: Free
  • Tap Tap Only available for iOS devices, this app alerts the user when certain sounds are detected by the phone. A scream, fire alarm or any other sound (detection level is adjustable), once detected, will cause the phone to vibrate and produce an alert screen.
    Cost: $2.99
  • eHear This app is also only available for iOS devices, and works by using the device’s microphone and amplifying the surrounding sounds.
    Cost: $2.99
  • Dragon Dictation Supported by both iOS and Android, this app is voice recognition software that presents the spoken word as a text or e-mail.
    Cost: Free
Webcam/Video Chat Technology

Most modern smartphones and laptops are equipped with a webcam or built in video camera and the capability to run software that allows videoconference or video chat capabilities. This allows the possibility of lip-reading (assuming high enough bandwidth and camera resolution) and sign language communication. As long as a student has a smartphone and a data plan, they can take advantage of this technology.

TDD/TYY

A TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) is an electronic device that allows the sending and receiving of text communication over a standard telephone line. Also referred to as a TYY (teletypewriter), a TDD/TYY device consists of a small screen, keyboard and cradle for holding the telephone handset. Text is inputted through the keyboard and presented to the user through the LCD screen.

Though it is considered an outdated device, a TDD/TYY can still be useful in some classroom settings. It can usually be purchased from specialty retailers, such as those found online.

FM System

A frequency modulated (FM) system is a type of assistive listening device that can be used in a classroom or other large area. The speaker wears a microphone, which wirelessly transmits their words to a receiver. This receiver can then be directly connected to a cochlear implant, hearing aid or headphones. Some newer and advanced hearing aids have this FM receiver built in. An FM system can usually be obtained from specialized retailers.

Audio Induction Loop

This technology only works with hearing aids that have a telecoil, so is not available to everyone. It works by taking the sounds picked up by a speaker’s microphone and transmitting them through an induction loop, which is usually installed in the floor or ceiling. The induction loop transmits a signal that’s picked up by the telecoil in the listener’s hearing aid. Some personal audio induction loop systems are available for individual use and may be purchased at specialty retailers.

How Schools Create More Audible Environments

Though there are numerous resources at hand for students who are hard of hearing, including the technology tools listed above, there are many things schools can do to create environments more conducive to learning for those who have hearing loss. Changes in the physical classroom can make a difference, as can close attention to the various communication methods offered during class time. Here are a few initiatives many colleges and universities take to help ensure that students with hearing loss have the same access to information as everyone else.

The Physical Classroom

Everything about a physical classroom, from the shape of the room itself to the tiles on the ceiling, can affect the way students with hearing loss perceive the lessons. These points provide schools with an excellent opportunity to adjust the classroom setting, with the understanding that even slight changes can be enough to provide a better learning experience for those who have trouble hearing.

Room Acoustics

Being aware of the reverberation of a particular area matters. For instance, the way a sound echoes in a cavernous gymnasium is much different than the way it sounds in a smaller classroom setting. Anyone who has ever tried to understand the words coming across a public address system in a gymnasium can definitely see the value of a smaller area for better hearing. Creating a classroom that has less reverberation can be great for those who rely on hearing technologies that could be disrupted by the constant echoing that happens in a larger setting, such as a lecture hall.

Full Visual Access

Those who are hard of hearing often rely on visual cues to tell them what is happening in the world around them. Students should be able to see everything around them in the classroom. To that end, desks that are arranged in a “U” shape are more conducive to learning than those arranged to face the front of the room. Teachers should take care to speak only when they are turned toward students, and should provide some visual cues as to what is happening, such as written announcements presented to the student as the same announcements are being played over the intercom.

Lighting

Fluorescent lighting, the most common form of lighting found in classrooms, has a unique sound all its own – and that sound can be enough to disrupt delicate hearing equipment, thus making it more difficult for students to hear what is being said by teachers and peers. Harsh sunlight streaming through windows can throw individuals in shadow, making them more difficult to see. Careful attention to lighting and seating position can help alleviate these concerns.

Distance to Students

The default for most teachers is to place students with hearing loss at the front of the classroom. However, this might negate those students’ abilities to lip-read what their peers have to say, as most of those other students are seated behind them. Since the teacher often moves around the classroom when lecturing, the sound direction and volume can vary enough that students have difficulty understanding some or even the majority of the lecture. To alleviate this, attention must be paid to each student’s unique needs in order to choose the proper seating distance.

Quieting the Environment

Some classrooms are filled with noise that most of us can “tune out,” and thus rarely recognize. The sounds of heating and cooling units, fluorescent lights, foot traffic outside the door, cars passing on a busy street and much more can create an environment that wreaks havoc with the hearing technologies many students need.

Classroom Communication

The methods of communicating used in the classroom can make a huge difference in student success. Attention paid to the various needs of students with hearing loss can help teachers implement the proper technologies. Here are a few of the more common options:

Vibrating Alert Devices

Small vibration devices are often used to signal fires, doorbells, weather warnings and more. These devices can be used in the classroom to alert to schedule bells and other important announcements.

Closed Captioning

Today, closed captioning is available on every television and digital receiver, and can be used to great advantage in classrooms where videos, movies, or even live lecturing is taking place.

Person-to-Person

Students can use texting technologies, chat rooms, face-to-face communication devices, communicator keyboards and even pen and paper to discuss important points in the classroom.

Group Learning

Recognizing the difficulties of group learning for those who are hard of hearing requires some extra work on the part of the teacher, including printed hands-outs of key points, digital pen technology, interactive white boards and note-taking for the student.

Voice-to-Text

Voice recognition software can be trained to suit one particular student, thus allowing them to speak to the classroom or accurately interpret discussions happening around them.

Interpretation or Sign

Though sign language can certainly be used in the classroom, some students prefer to use video remote interpreters. This technology allows an interpreter in another location to listen in on the classroom and sign to the user through computer or video telephone.

Expert Interview

Jeannette Washington, M.Ed., is a former speech-language pathologist who founded Bearly Articulating, a company that provides services for those with hearing loss or auditory processing disorders.

What have you found to be some of the best classroom resources for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, especially on the college level?

Assistive technology can open many doors in our society of exceptional learners. I currently use the Fast ForWord program, a personal FM System (microphone assistive listening advice) and CAPDOTS auditory training program. A personal FM system can be impactful on a student’s ability to comprehend instruction because the instructor wears a microphone and transmitter that is used to deliver speech to the student through ear-buds or ear-level receivers. This device makes it seem as though the instructor is talking directly into the student’s ear.

Fast ForWord is an online based program using patented technology and neuroscience-based learning principles. It provides hundreds of activities where the words and sentences are acoustically modified to stretch and emphasize the phonetic elements of natural speech. CAPDOTS is another online program using evidence based therapy system. It is set up in modules which improve student ability to focus and their attention to sound.

How can students who are deaf or hard of hearing be proactive about their educational success?

Students with hearing loss need to build communicative relationships with their instructors. Some students are confident enough to ask questions in the middle of a lecture and others prefer to ask questions at the end. No matter when the question is posed, students who are hard of hearing must not be afraid to ask. A question can frequently lead to an answer and an answer can easily led to understanding.

What questions should a deaf or hard of hearing student ask in order to find the right college?

Students should locate community resources near the school and on campus first. Then locate the office of disability services on campus to ask the following questions:

  • Are there services to assist freshmen student’s transition from high school?

  • What types of housing options or accommodations exist?

  • What types of assistive or adaptive technology resources are available on the campus?

  • Are study preparation and exam accommodations available?

  • What provisions are in place in case an issue occurs with receiving accommodations?

  • What is the graduation rate and/or the retention rate for students who are served by the Office of Disability Services?  

Finding a College that Fits

Not all institutions of higher learning are created equal, especially when it comes to accommodating students who might have hearing requirements. Students should look closely at the potential colleges on their list to ensure they will have the proper help in the classroom and on campus. Here are some key points students who are deaf or hard of hearing should keep in mind when investigating potential colleges and universities.

Proper accommodations

Does the school have plans in place for those who have disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing? Accommodations might include technology in the classrooms that allows students to learn on a par with all their peers, as well as accommodations in certain common areas of the campus, such as dorms and cafeterias.

Ease of requests

Assuming that the school does not have automatic accommodations for those who are hard of hearing, how difficult is it to get the school to make allowances for students so that they can find success? Are requests granted within a reasonable time frame?

ADA Compliance

Does the school comply in all ways with rules from the Americans with Disabilities Act – specifically, are accommodations made for those who are deaf and hard of hearing that allow students to participate in the same events as those who do not have hearing loss?

Grievance policy

The college should have a strong grievance policy in place that not only allows students to lodge formal complaints in a simple way, but also moves the grievance policy forward quickly so that resolution does not have to be weeks or months away.

Quick Tips

Meet with administration. Speaking with the administration at the colleges and universities on the short list can help students who are deaf or hard of hearing understand exactly what to expect from attending there. For instance, administration that has a plan in place to communicate with deaf students from the moment they walk into the office could signal excellent communication plans throughout the rest of the school. In addition, meeting with administration can help them understand the extent of a particular person’s disability, and lead them to assist accordingly during the years spent on campus.

Get to know the teachers. Though the administration might be ultimately responsible for the technologies implemented in the classroom, the teachers are the ones who see students on a near-daily basis. Getting to know the teachers and asking them to help form a learning plan can go a long way toward classroom comfort and success.

Find the right clubs and groups. Discovering clubs, groups and organizations on campus dedicated to those who are deaf or hard of hearing can provide even more resources for students to pursue, in addition to the feeling of belonging that most students crave during their college career.

Expert Interview

with Student Jenna Kubly

Jenna L. Kubly suffered permanent damage to her hearing due to a lack of medical care as a baby in a foreign orphanage. Today, she uses hearing aids and has earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.

How has your hearing loss affected you in an educational sense?

Perhaps I have had to be more proactive about ensuring I literally heard what I needed to know. I do not intend to make light of any other person’s hearing disability, but in retrospect, I find myself thinking, “If anything, working so hard to ensure I did not miss anything may have been a hidden asset. I was usually alert and paying attention in class.”

What tools or technologies did you find most helpful during your educational journey?

Hearing aids are of course the fundamental technology for me. As new technologies emerge I find myself wondering in retrospect how they might have assisted me – such as new hearing aids that can be programmed to pick up direct feed from a microphone that one asks a speaker (i.e. teacher/professor) to wear. Additionally, I discovered many years later that there are services such as note-takers that might have been available to me. Although I do not “officially” lip-read, I think subconsciously I do to some extent, because if I am looking down at my paper to write notes, or someone is not facing me when they are speaking, my comprehension of what they are saying plummets – hence I think that [note-taking] might have been a help to me.

I also had speech therapy for several years in grade school. I was quite young, but I believe that I likely did not always pronounce words correctly simply because I could not hear all the necessary sounds, so speech therapy insured that I could communicate more clearly.

Closed captioning and English subtitles are amazing; I love that most DVDs have the subtitles and that most TV shows have the capability to display closed captioning. I didn’t have either when I was younger (the external closed captioning box was quite expensive, and I do not think I knew such a thing existed.) Now I find it indispensible and to this day, if I go back and watch a movie I first watched as a young child, I still find myself discovering “what they really were saying” now that I can turn on the closed captions or English Subtitles. I think if films are shown in class, teachers and professors should automatically turn on the closed captions; I think it could benefit more than just those who are hard of hearing.

How can a student be proactive in overcoming hearing impairments and finding success in education?

I think the best way to be proactive is for students to know what works best for them, and then be unafraid to ask for whatever accommodations are needed. When I was in grade school, my mother would always take me into meet my teacher a few days before school started to explain my hearing disability and ask the teacher to be willing to work with me/make reasonable accommodations. For instance, I always sat in the front row, even if the general policy of a teacher was to rotate students throughout the year. By meeting the teacher beforehand, I think that helped address any shyness or timidity I might have otherwise had and I could then speak up later, if needed. As I went on in my schooling and reached high school, I took it upon myself to secure a “front row” seat in the classroom and talk to the teachers as needed.

Another example: when I was in undergraduate one of my hardest classes was a science course. As I recall, the professor either had a very basic outline that was projected or it was clear to me that he was lecturing from a very basic outline in front of him. In any event, after a few classes I knew I was falling behind in the material, largely because I could not keep up with him in taking notes: if I was looking at him while he talked, I wasn’t taking notes. If I was taking notes, I often was “translating” in my mind what he said, and so therefore never heard any new material he was giving. Eventually I met with him during office hours, explained my problem, and asked if he would be willing to give me a copy of his outline before class, as that would help guide me to take notes. It truly helped—and I think a classmate sitting next to me saw my outline and wanted one, and pretty soon the professor ended up providing the outline to practically the entire class to assist with note-taking. I write about to illustrate how being proactive resulted in obtaining the resources I needed which helped me succeed.

With a few minor and rare exceptions, I have found that in educational settings, my teacher and professors have been not only willing to make reasonable accommodations, but usually did so gladly and might even have their own suggestions. With growing emphasis on universal design, etc., the need for individual accommodations may fade, but I still think each student does need to take ownership and do what s/he can do to ensure a successful academic career — and yes, a little extra work may be necessary.

Scholarships for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students

There are numerous scholarships available for various groups of students, including those who have hearing disabilities. These scholarships are specifically designed to be awarded to those who suffer from hearing problems.

National Cued Speech Association

R. Orin Cornett Memorial Scholarship – $1,000.00
Requirements:

Students must have used Cued Speech as their primary mode of communication for at least five years of their education and attend a vocational, undergraduate or graduate school as a full-time student.

Short Description:

Named after the inventor of Cued Speech, this scholarship was established to support students’ educational endeavors beyond high school.

Link: http://www.cuedspeech.org/pdfs/2015_ncsa_scholarship_app.pdf

National Cued Speech Association

The Carol Schuler Memorial Scholarship – $500.00
Requirements:

In addition to the same requirements as the R. Orin Cornett Memorial Scholarship, students must be from one of the following states: Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah or Washington.

Short Description:

Named after a prominent speech pathologist that embraced Cued Speech and helped set up day camps for her students.

Link: http://www.cuedspeech.org/pdfs/2015_ncsa_scholarship_app.pdf

Sertoma International

Sertoma International Scholarships – $1,000.00
Requirements:

A merit-based scholarship available to students who meet the academic qualifications.

Short Description:

Through the generous donations of Oticon, Inc. and Phonic Ear, Inc., Sertoma International offers 13 scholarships to students attending college and university in the United States or Canada.

Link: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/hearing-loss-resources/scholarships/sertoma-international

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

AG Bell College Scholarship Program – $1,000.00 to $10,000.00
Requirements:

Available to students with moderate to profound hearing loss; other medical qualifications and academic requirements apply.

Short Description:

Multiple merit-based and highly competitive scholarships offered by AG Bell. One student may be awarded up to two scholarships.

Link: http://www.listeningandspokenlanguage.org/ScholarshipProgram/

The Nebraska Cochlear Implant SERTOMA Club

Kevin Stangl Memorial Scholarship – $1,000.00
Requirements:

Students must have a cochlear implant and meet other academic qualifications. Does not require student to be pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate degree.

Short Description:

A one-time award that can be used at any college, university, vocational or trade school. Made possible by the generosity of the Kevin Stangl family and the Nebraska CI SERTOMA Club.

Link: http://wp.lps.org/snrp/files/2013/12/CI-Sertoma-Scholarship-2014.pdf

The Travelers Protective Association

Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired- $100.00 to $1,000.00
Requirements:

Individuals who will benefit from specialized hearing treatment or education, but are unable to afford it themselves.

Short Description:

Established by the Travelers Protective Association in 1975 to provide financial aid to those who are hard of hearing.

Link: http://www.tpahq.org/scholarshiptrust.html

Thomas W. Loeb, M.D., P.C.: Thomas Loeb, MD Scholarship

$Unknown
Requirements:

Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.

Short Description:

Available to students with a disability and are attending an accredited college or medical school.

Link: http://thomasloebmd.com/

Google and Lime Connect: Google Lime Scholarship

$10,000.00
Requirements:

Students must have a visible or invisible disability and pursue a degree in a technical field.

Short Description:

A partnership between Google and Lime Connect focused on supporting students with disabilities who desire to work in a computer science or related field.

Link: http://www.limeconnect.com/opportunities/page/google-lime-scholarship-program

Cochlear: Graeme Clark Scholarship

$2,000.00 per year (up to four years)
Requirements:

In addition to the academic requirements, students must have a Nucleus Cochlear Implant

Short Description:

A scholarship offered by the Cochlear, a manufacturer of hearing technology. This scholarship is named after Graeme Clark, who was pioneer in cochlear implant technology.

Link: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/us/recipients/nucleus-6/nucleus-6-support-and-community/scholarships/scholarship-details

Cochlear: Anders Tjellström Scholarship

$2,000.00 per year (up to four years)
Requirements:

In addition to the academic requirements, students must have a Baha bone conduction hearing system.

Short Description:

A scholarship offered by the Cochlear, a manufacturer of hearing technology. This scholarship is named after Anders Tjellström, who was pioneer in bone conduction hearing development.

Link: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/us/recipients/baha-4/baha-4-support-and-community/scholarships/scholarship-details/scholarships

Foundation for Sight and Sound: Help America Hear Scholarship

$500.00 plus two hearing aids
Requirements:

Open to high school seniors who plan on attending college or vocational school. Major component of application includes an essay discussing how being hard of hearing has affected the student’s life.

Short Description:

A scholarship offered to help students reach their full academic potential by providing them with much needed hearing technology and funds to pursue higher education.

Link: http://www.foundationforsightandsound.org/userfile/fss/2015-16_National_HAH_Scholarship_Complete_Packet1.pdf

LTZ Foundation: Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation Scholarship

Varies
Requirements:

Any citizen or permanent resident who has significant bilateral hearing loss.

Short Description:

Named after Louise Tumarkin Zazove, the LTZ Foundation exists to provide scholarship funds to help pay for undergraduate tuition costs for those who are hard of hearing or deaf.

Link: http://www.ltzfoundation.org/scholarships.php

Bridges: The Linda Cowden Memorial Scholarship

$1,000.00
Requirements:

Applicant must either be deaf or hard of hearing, or a hearing person who has been accepted into an academic program that will lead to a profession serving the deaf or hard of hearing community. Additionally, the student must live in any one of the following Tennessee counties: Cheatham, Davidson, Dekalb, Dickson, Houston, Macon, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson Counties

Short Description:

This scholarship is in memory of Linda Cowen who served as an administrative assistant and liaison to the deaf community for many years.

Link: http://bridgesfordeafandhh.org/scholarships

Incight: Incight Scholar

$500.00 to $750.00 (but can vary)
Requirements:

Applicants must be a resident of California, Oregon or Washington State and suffer from a disability, including deafness or hearing loss.

Short Description:

Incight is a nonprofit organization that offers programs and resources to help those with disabilities.

Link: http://incight.org/education/scholarship

The Columbus Foundation: Dorothy E. Ann Fund Scholarship

$10,000.00 (over four years)
Requirements:

In addition to academic, financial need and character criteria, applicant must be a graduating senior from a high school from any of the following Ohio counties: Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, or Union counties.

Short Description:

The Dorothy E. Ann Fund (D.E.A.F.) provides financial support to those that are deaf or hard of hearing so that they may achieve successful careers.http://columbusfoundation.org/grants/columbus-foundation/deaf/

Link: https://tcfapp.org/SecureFolder/Scholarship/ScholarshipDetails.aspx?ScholarshipKey=58#_ga=1.193732655.366945861.1438720262

Schools for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

A Pre-K to 12 school, AIDB serves more than 22,5000 students – from infants to seniors – who have hearing and vision loss.

Alexander Graham Bell School

This Chicago public school offers a program dedicated to students who are deaf with IEPs. The school focuses on a balance of academic and social skills.

California School for the Deaf

This free, accredited public school in Fremont, CA serves children who are deaf, focusing on California State Board of Education Standards, as well as mastery of American Sign Language and English.

Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf

Serving the 54 easternmost counties in the state of North Carolina, ENCSD provided unique and specialized instruction to students who are hard of hearing, deaf and deaf-blind.

Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind

FSDB is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center. It offers tuition-free education to eligible Pre-K to 12 students who are deaf, hard of hearing or visually impaired.

Gallaudet University

A university focusing on providing quality liberal arts education to deaf and hard of hearing students.

Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind

HSDB strives to provide the unique learning environment that elementary, middle, and high school students who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind need in order to learn and grow.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT is a career-oriented, technological university that serves more than 1,200 students who are deaf or hard of hearing every year.

New York School for the Deaf

NYSD is the second oldest school for the deaf in the U.S. Today, the school serves students from more than 36 school districts, and incorporates the latest educational technologies into all aspects of the student learning experience.

Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf

SWCID was created after a Howard College and Texas Education Agency study revealed a significant need for career training and higher education options at the postsecondary level for individuals who are deaf.

Find more schools for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Additional Resources

Need to learn more about the deaf or hard of hearing community? Want to delve deeper into potential scholarships, resources, financial help, and other assistance designed for those with hearing disabilities? These resources can provide a wealth of information.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Made up of approximately 182,000 members and affiliates, including speech, language and hearing professionals, scientists and researchers. ASHA’s goal is to foster effective communication, regardless of physical or mental impairments.

American Journal of Audiology

A peer-review journal in both electronic and print form that serves as a source for clinical audiology research.

The Ear Foundation

Based in the United Kingdom, this organization provides education and advice on hearing technology and implementation into everyday life.

Dangerous Decibels

A public health campaign aimed at raising awareness and preventing Noise Induced Hearing Loss and tinnitus.

Hear-It

A non-profit website providing hearing loss information and news in addition to raising public awareness of hearing loss. Has a simple online hearing test to determine if there is a possibility of hearing problems.

HearingExchange

Though not recently updated, this still serves as a good resource with stories and columns on topics from the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as articles on financial assistance for students with hearing problems.

National Cued Speech Association

NCSA was formed to help parents and teachers of children who are hard of hearing by promoting Cued Speech, a form of visual communication based on eight hand shapes.

Better Hearing Institute

A good source for comprehensive hearing loss advice and information, including types of technology, treatments and health care professionals available to those who are hard of hearing.

National Association of the Deaf

NAD is the foremost civil rights advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing in the United States. The NAD website provides legal and everyday living resources for the deaf.

Hearing Loss Association of America

This organization’s goal is to give assistance to individuals who suffer from hearing loss, as well as their families. Key goals include raising public awareness about hearing loss and reducing the stigma connected with those who are hard of hearing.

Wrightslaw

Online legal resource for advocates of children with disabilities.

We Connect Now

An online resource (including blogs, stories and news) aimed at college students in order to provide information concerning higher education and post-graduate employment.

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Also known as the Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center, this association’s mission is to use education, advocacy and financial support to help those with hearing problems.

American Cochlear Implant Alliance

The American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA) exists to make life easier for the deaf and hard of hearing. The ACIA raises awareness, sponsors research and advocates for improves access cochlear implants.

Audiologist Resources

Primarily aimed at audiology professionals and those in related fields, this is an online resource for all things audiology, including professional organizations and audiology equipment.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Part of the National Institute of Health, this organization conducts and facilitates research based on hearing, speech and other related communication-based problems.

American Sign Language University

An online education resource designed to teach and improve American Sign Language skills. This website contains lessons, videos, dictionary and other tools.

Braille and American Sign Language Fonts

Contains fonts in both braille and American Sign Language available for download in ZIP format.

Dogs for the Deaf

Rescues and trains dogs to serve as service animals for those with hearing and other disabilities.

AbleData

Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education, this is an extensive, unbiased database of products and solutions for those who have disabilities.

The Association of Late Deafened Adults

The ALDA focuses on adults who are hard of hearing, regardless of when they became deaf or the form of communication used. Serves largely as an education, support and advocacy group.

Deaf Students with Disabilities Network

Online resource for parents and teachers of students who are hard of hearing.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.

A national organization promoting transliteration and interpretation services for those who use the spoken language or sign language.

The S.E.E. Center

Promotes the use of Signing Exact English by providing a source of training and support for those who use this form of communication.

TDI

Advocating group that strives for equal access in media and telecommunications for those suffering from all forms of hearing loss and deafness.

The Deaf Resources Library

A virtual library housing information on the deaf cultures in the United States and Japan as well as a large source of hearing related topics.

DeafHealth.org

Providing health information through the use of American Sign Language.

ASL-STEM Forum

An online forum with the goal of creating a technical word library for terms used in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Hearing Aid Know

Online resource for obtaining hearing aid information in easy to understand forms.

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