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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 Deaf Medical Students

The most effective way is to engage in the interactive process to learn about each deaf student’s unique needs. It can also be helpful to review the different types of accommodations with the student. NDC’s Deaf Medical Students includes accommodation considerations specific to healthcare training programs such as face masks, stethoscopes, and accommodations for internships. When meeting with the deaf student, it is important to consider that effective communication strategies vary depending on the setting. A trial and error approach may be needed to find the right combination of accommodations to provide equitable access. 

Additionally, the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education supports disability services professionals working with medical colleges/programs including a listserv and training opportunities. NDC’s listserv can also serve as a tool for seeking colleague input or suggestions.

Mentors and Role Models

Training and Employment Support

It is a common misconception that service providers (interpreters and speech-to-text professionals), as a third party, may be a violation of HIPAA. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains the allowance of service providers whether remote, in-person or via telecommunications relay service (TRS); including obligations to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Additionally, protecting consumer privacy is reinforced through confidentiality clauses in service provider codes of ethics: 

Sometimes academic programs require students to have specific equipment such as stethoscopes. If the institution provides stethoscopes for all students in a medical program, the institution is responsible for ensuring the deaf student has access to an adaptive stethoscope (e.g. amplified or digital stethoscope). Institutions can purchase one and loan it to deaf students. If all students are required to purchase their own, deaf students would need to as well. Deaf students may be able to get support with purchasing assistive technology through vocational rehabilitation or a state technology assistance program.

When seeking a stethoscope that is compatible with hearing aids or cochlear implants, deaf students should consult with their audiologist. To learn more about the types of stethoscopes available for deaf individuals, see lists provided by the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses and the Job Accommodation Network.