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Contact Information
Student Accessibility Services
For Appointments:
Phone: (603) 646-9900
Notetaking Services:
Phone: (603) 646-9900
Adaptive Technology: Document Conversion & CART:
Phone: (603) 646-9900


Communicating with Deaf or hard-of-hearing students (without an interpreter)

Students with hearing impairments who do not use interpreters may utilize different services and devices to facilitate communication. When in doubt, ask the student for suggestions to improve communication.

Responsibilities of the College, Academic Departments, Instructors, and Student Accessibility Services

The accessibility of courses and course material is a campus responsibility under civil rights law. The legal standard is that students with disabilities must have access to courses and course materials they can effectively use at the same time the course and course materials are available to their classmates. There may be rare exceptions; if instructors believe they may not be able to meet this standard, consultation with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is strongly advised.

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services

CART services involves capturing the presenter's voice or other audio from the classroom, so that either an on-site CART writer or a Remote CART writer can accurately transcribe the material and provide the student with a visual display of the text on the student's laptop or other device while they are in the classroom. This allows the student to follow along and engage in the conversation as it is happening.

CART services may be provided one of two ways:

  1. On-site CART writer (transcriber), would be in the classroom, along with the CART writer's equipment. The CART writer would be able to provide the student with a URL link to the real-time transcription so that the student can view the text during class. Here's a link to a news story regarding CART reporting/stenography.
  2. Remote CART service, whereby the CART writer is located away from campus, usually in another state and has real-time access to the classroom audio/dialogue (via Skype or another VOIP method) in order to transcribe the material. The remote CART writer provides the student with a URL link to the real-time transcription in order to view the text during class in 'real-time', with a slight delay of a few seconds, a little longer if the quality of speech or the audio connection is poor. Here is a link to a video from ACS Captions about remote CART services and points out its benefits to students and other users. 

Arranging the CART services with on-site or remote CART providers takes time, so we need as much lead time and info in advance in order to be properly prepared once the CART service is initiated. In order to ensure everything goes smoothly, please read the following regarding:

  1. Advance access to the class schedule/course syllabi.
  2. Advance access to the course Canvas (or other) site.
  3. Provision of captioned course media shown in class, or assigned outside of class.
  4. Info on the mic/audio setup for CART services.

1. Provide SAS with advance access to the class schedule/course syllabus and other info regarding field trips, room/venue changes, etc.
2. Provide SAS with access to the XXXX ## ## course site (Canvas* or other) so we can access pertinent material (PPT slides, class notes, etc.) covered in each class. This will allow the on-site CART writer to prep before classes, or allow us to relay the material to the remote CART writer to aid them in keeping pace and transcribing the terminology accurately during class.

• *If using Canvas for your course, please add our Adaptive Technology email to your site as a Course Designer:
• Please note that this material is only used by SAS and the CART writer and will not be distributed.

3. If there are any videos, films, audio material, etc., that are required for viewing during or outside of class, the captions will need to be viewable during class, or a captioned version will need to be located for the student, otherwise a captioned version of the media will need to be generated before it can be shown in the classroom.

4. For CART, you will need to wear a mic during class; either one from the specific classroom, or a separate wireless unit that we provide. For remote CART, there would be a staff member to get you set with the mic and who would remain in the classroom with a laptop and receiver (or mixer) in order to connect the audio to the CART writer, monitor the 'real-time' transcription during class, and communicate with the remote transcriber and troubleshoot as needed. Other than needing to wear a microphone, you wouldn't need to tend to any tech issues before, during or after class.

Assistive Listening Devices

Students with hearing impairments may use an "assistive listening device," which includes a microphone and transmitter(s) for the individual(s) speaking in class. The student will hand you these items at the beginning of class and retrieve them at the end. The transmitter sends radio (FM) signals to their receiver. This assistive listening device is important because it serves to (1) bring your voice directly to the student's ears and (2) greatly reduce the effects of other noises (ventilation systems, papers rustling, classmates coughing, etc.).

Student Accessibility Services and Classroom Technology Services have multiple microphone options that can be provided for settings with frequent multiple speakers. This can work particularly well in seminars, group discussions, group presentations, and the like. Please consult or if you anticipate such circumstances in your class. If you need assistance with making your Canvas site accessible to Deaf/HOH students, please contact

Tips for Communicating with Individuals with Hearing Disabilities

  • Maintain eye contact; this allows for direct communication. Avoid turning away and at the same time.
  • Get the student’s attention before speaking. A wave or a tap on the shoulder is sufficient.
  • Try to communicate in a space that has good lighting and is free from background noise.
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Do not exaggerate lip movements or over-pronounce words. Exaggeration and overemphasis of words distort lip movements, making lip reading more difficult.
  • Rephrase when you are not understood. Many English words look exactly the same on the lips. It may be easier to communicate with paper and pencil.
  • Let the student know what the topic of conversation is, giving clues when changing the subject.
  • When necessary, use pantomiming, body language, and facial gestures to communicate.
  • Do not place anything in or over your mouth while speaking. Actions such as smoking, chewing on a pencil, and covering one’s mouth make it more difficult for the Deaf person to understand what is being said.
  • Avoid being back-lit, such as by a window or a bright light. The shadow created on the speaker’s face makes lip reading extremely difficult for the persons who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  • If the phone rings or if someone knocks on the door while you are having a conversation with a Deaf person, explain what is happening.
  • Write down any important information, or if you think you are not being understood.
  • When using an assistive listening device (ALD), wear the microphone around your neck for best sound quality.
  • The ALD microphone would need to be passed around if other people will be talking. If students tend to ask questions during your lectures, please make every effort to re-state the question, so that hard-of-hearing students hear both the question and the answer. This is good practice in general.

Last Updated: 12/13/16