Hearing disabilities can greatly affect Illinois residents’ ability to communicate and interact with the world around them. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to provide individuals with disabilities, including those with hearing disabilities, with equal opportunities to participate in all aspects of society.
Protections the ADA provides individuals with hearing disabilities
The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes education, access to public services and employment discrimination. The law defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including hearing.
Under the ADA, individuals with hearing disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations that allow them to fully participate in all aspects of society.
Individuals with hearing disabilities may require alternative forms of communication, such as sign language interpreters, captioning, or assistive listening devices, in order to communicate effectively with others.
The hearing impaired are entitled to equal access to public services and accommodations, including public transportation, hospitals and government buildings. These facilities must provide reasonable accommodations, such as visual and auditory alarms, to ensure that individuals with hearing disabilities can access these services.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with hearing disabilities, such as closed-captioned videos, amplified telephones or modified work schedules. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against individuals with hearing disabilities in the hiring process.
Individuals with hearing disabilities are entitled to equal access to education, including primary, secondary and post-secondary education. As with employers, schools must provide reasonable accommodations, such as interpreters or captioning, to ensure that individuals with hearing disabilities can fully participate in classroom activities.
Common accommodations for individuals with hearing disabilities
Accommodations necessary for individuals with hearing disabilities will vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and the situation.
Sign language interpreters can be used to translate spoken language into sign language for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices, such as hearing aids, FM systems and cochlear implants, can amplify sound for individuals with hearing disabilities. Captioning is a useful tool that provides the written text of spoken language, making it easier for individuals with hearing disabilities to understand.
Knowing your rights
Hearing disabilities can greatly impact an individual’s ability to enjoy all aspects of everyday life. The ADA provides those with hearing disabilities the legal protections and entitlements to reasonable accommodations that allow them to access public services, employment, education and other opportunities.