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
The Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (AMPHL) provides information, advocacy, mentorship and networking opportunities for aspiring and current medical professionals.
Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a nation-wide effort hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities to coordinate job shadowing and hands on career exploration opportunities for students and job seekers.
NDC’s #DeafSuccess highlights deaf professionals in various careers sharing their experience. Two videos specific to the medical field spotlight Chris Moreland (Physician) and Lindsey Schouten (Registered Nurse).
Training and Employment Support
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Services may provide or advocate for assistive technologies, tuition, course supplies, exam fees, and other training-related accommodations. To find a local VR office, review the directory.
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.