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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.


FAQs About Assistive Technology

Communicate with the student using the interactive process to determine if they will be able to continue to use their personal device while taking courses online. You can also discuss with students ways they can improve access to audio content at home. For example, students could use noise canceling headphones and speakers to amplify sound.

Accommodations like speech-to-text services, sign language interpreters and note taking could also be used in conjunction with assistive technology to support access to online courses.

Reach out to the manufacturer of your devices for recommendations on how to properly sanitize the equipment as well as review guidance provided by the Center of Disease Control on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, which includes recommendations for electronics. Below are general strategies to properly sanitize equipment:

  • Make sure to wash your hands before and after cleaning the device.

  • Use disinfectant wipes that contain between 60-70% ethanol.

  • Take care to never submerse equipment in any liquid or permit liquid to get inside of microphones.

  • Make sure equipment is completely dry prior to using again.

We also recommend reviewing the article How to clean your hearing technology and asking members on the NDC listserv for additional disinfecting strategies for assistive listening devices.

Each system varies on its portability, maintenance, ideal settings, components/devices needed, ability to have multiple users on one system, and more. NDC’s Assistive Listening Systems 101 resource provides an overview of each system (See p. 4). This resource also has a comparison tool on the pros and cons of each system and ideal settings where they can be used. We also recommend asking members on the NDC listserv for their experiences with each kind of system and/or vendor recommendations.

  • Inform the instructor that assistive listening devices are considered reasonable accommodations to ensure effective communication in all settings. Instructors should consult with the DSS office with any concerns.

  • Communicate with the instructor the steps your school is taking to ensure that equipment is properly sanitized and maintained after each use.

  • Consider providing individual lapel microphones for each instructor to use for the entire semester.

  • Reach out to the manufacturer to see if table top microphones could be used instead of lapel microphones.

  • Ask members on the NDC listserv on how they have addressed faculty concerns.

An important consideration when purchasing an assistive listening system is ensuring it has the flexibility to meet the needs of deaf students who use different personal devices (e.g., hearing aid or cochlear implant) and is suitable in a variety of settings. Some questions for your institution to consider prior to purchasing a new system include:

  • Where will students need to use the devices? (1:1 meetings, classrooms, large venues, off-campus)

  • How many receivers will be needed? For large event venues see the ADA guidelines for the number of receivers needed.

  • Is the system flexible enough to work with students who have hearing aids/cochlear implants from a variety of manufacturers, as well as, for those who do not use personal devices and need a headphone connection?

  • What kind of feedback have you received from students in the past on your current system? (see Assistive Listening Systems 101: Student Evaluation Form)

NDC also offers a comparison tool that we recommend reviewing before purchasing a new system. You can also ask members of the NDC listserv for additional recommendations or referrals to specific vendors.

Assistive Technology

Telecommunications