Types of Auxiliary Aids for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Auxiliary devices/services help Deaf and hard of hearing individuals with their everyday activities and interactions. But what qualifies as an auxiliary aid? And how do such things work? With these devices–including telephone handset amplifiers, Video Remote Interpreting, and more–Deaf individuals achieve greater independence. These aids help create a more equitable and inclusive society.
For more ASL and Deaf community resources, reach out to HIS Sign Interpreting. We are an ASL Interpreting, TypeWell, and CART service provider that works in Washington, DC, and the surrounding region. Our Interpreters help at local schools, businesses, hospitals, government agencies, and more throughout the DMV. Plus, we maintain close ties with the Deaf and hard of hearing communities to advocate for their needs and interests.
Below, we define auxiliary aids and list some common types:
What are Auxiliary Aids? Why are They Necessary?
Broadly speaking, auxiliary aids are devices or services that facilitate communication between a Deaf or hard of hearing person and Hearing people. Individuals requiring accommodations for hearing, vision or speech also benefit from auxiliary aids, which broadens the application of these devices/services.
Given the speed at which technology develops, many aids have moved in and out of popularity over the years. While a simple pad and pencil may once have dominated, Video Remote Interpreting and CART services have become popular options.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlined several auxiliary aid options when it became law in 1990. This law’s existence speaks to the importance of these services–they make society more accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing people.
Common Types of Auxiliary Aids
- Telephone handset amplifiers
Several kinds of devices achieve the goal of handset amplifiers, that is, boosting the voice level coming from your phone. However, doing so can be challenging on a cellphone, as the phone’s radio signals often interfere with hearing aids. Nevertheless, manufacturers have found ways to prevent interference between the two devices.
- Assistive listening devices (ALDs)
ALDs make up a category of personal devices that help with communication. The aforementioned amplified phones fall into this category as well as hearing aid compatible phones and ALDs for television. Oftentimes, these instruments capture sounds you want to hear and filter out excess noise.
- Assistive listening systems (ALSs)
Another category of auxiliary aids is ALSs, which allow Deaf and hard of hearing folks to access sounds broadcasted through public address systems. Specific devices include hearing loop systems, frequency-modulated (FM) systems, and infrared systems.
- Open and closed captioning
Most people have at least heard the term “closed captioning,” though they may be unfamiliar with its definition. Yet they have probably seen it before—captions are text added to a video or broadcast for Deaf viewers. The text identifies speakers, reproduces dialogue, and describes sounds as they occur on-screen.
Open captions differ from closed ones in that they cannot be shut off. Closed captioning may be turned off by viewers who wish to do so. A TV must have a caption decoder to display closed captions – though they come standard in most sets these days.
- Text telephones (TTYs)
To help individuals who require hearing or speech accommodations make and receive calls, manufacturers have created TTYs. These phones allow users to communicate by typing messages, which are sent and received through the phone line. The abbreviation “TTY” reflects this process, as it’s short for “Tele-Typewriter.”
- Videotext displays
One final kind of auxiliary aid is the videotext display, which reproduces text that’s typed into it on a screen. It is one of the simplest and most popular options listed here, first appearing in the 1970s and 80s. Indeed, HIS Sign’s TypeWell and CART services are based on this technology.
Video Remote Interpreting Services Available for Washington, DC
If you want to support and provide accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, reach out to the HIS Sign Interpreting team. We offer Video Remote Interpreting, ASL Interpreting, TypeWell, and CART services to clients throughout Washington, DC. Also, we maintain strong relationships with the Deaf and hard of hearing communities throughout the DMV. To learn more about our options or set up an appointment, call us at (877) 458-7408 or fill out our online form.