Effective Communication is a Right


Effective communication occurs when all parties participating in a conversation or engaged in other informational settings receive and accurately understand the intended message. The appropriate content is conveyed in a clear and idiomatic manner. The meaning behind the words are expressed so that they are understood as they were meant to be understood.

Effective Communication is a right for individuals with hearing loss as required by federal and state laws.

Equal communication access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • Certified ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreter.
  • Certified Signed English Interpreter.
  • Certified/Qualified Intermediary Interpreter (Deaf Interpreter).
  • Certified/Qualified Oral Interpreter.
  • Certified Interpreter for Deaf-Blind individuals.
  • Assistive listening devices. (in working order or with new batteries).
  • CART-- Real-time captioning.
  • TTY and amplified phones.
  • When appropriate... note writing.

Deference should be given to the person with the hearing loss as to which accommodation will facilitate effective communication. There is not a "one size fits all" way to achieve effective communication.

Providing a Certified Sign Language Interpreter for an individual who depends on written English, (English being his/her native language) would NOT be effective. Likewise, providing a pad and paper to an individual whose native language is American Sign Language most likely would be ineffective... thus NOT complying with federal and state laws.

Simply ask the Deaf or Hard of Hearing individual which method or accommodation is best to communicate effectively.

Feel free to browse through this site for reference material. By clicking on the "Equal Access" button, you will be taken to an area providing technical assistance related to a variety of situations, including: Law Enforcement, Court, Attorneys, Medical, Education, etc.

This site is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney that practices in the area of law dealing with Civil Rights.

(Audism: The attitude that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears.)