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Assistive technology includes a broad range of hardware and software tools to transmit information to an individual in the manner most accessible to them. Such technologies for deaf individuals can include hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems, loop systems, accessible telephones/videophones, visual alert systems, and much more.

Both entities and individuals who may utilize such technology can benefit from understanding the advantages and limitations of different assistive technologies. This is especially true when entities are seeking to purchase technology that is compatible to a wide range of users. Below are starter resources for learning more about various devices, software, and services related to assistive technology:

Assistive Listening Systems 101

Relying on amplification devices or residual hearing alone may not be enough to access communication, especially in difficult listening situations.
Topics: DSP Toolkit
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals

Assistive Listening Systems: An Introduction

Background noise and distance from the instructor may present barriers for some deaf students. When this is the case, assistive listening systems can play a role in reducing or eliminating these barriers.
Topics: Assistive Technology
Useful For: Audiologists, Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Students, Teachers

Assistive Listening Systems: Choosing the Right Technology for Your Campus

For those who are new to assistive listening technology, selecting the right systems for a college campus can be daunting. When selecting assistive listening technology for a college campus, institutions should consider a number of factors, including the legal requirements for providing access and the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of systems.
Topics: Assistive Technology
Useful For: Administrators, Audiologists, Disability Services Professionals, Teachers

Cochlear Implants: An Introduction

Cochlear implants are complex electronic devices surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear. These devices use electrodes placed in the inner ear (the cochlea) to stimulate the auditory nerve of individuals who have significant permanent hearing loss.
Topics: Assistive Technology
Useful For: Audiologists, Disability Services Professionals, Interpreters, New Users

Telecommunications: Devices and Software

Telecommunication technology has significantly changed the communication landscape for deaf individuals. For more than 40 years, text telephones (TTY) and amplified phones were the only options. Today, videophones, smartphones, and instant messaging most often replace TTY as preferred communication tools.
Topics: Assistive Technology
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Students

Telecommunications: VRS, VRI, and TRS

With technology always seemingly one step ahead of us, it's easy to confuse the various telecommunication services used to visually connect hearing and deaf individuals who wish to communicate with each other. Three primary telecommunication services are in use today: (a) video relay service (VRS), (b) telecommunications relay service (TRS), and (c) video remote interpreting (VRI). VRS and TRS are free programs regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, and VRI is a fee-based service that satisfies the communication-related mandates of the Americans With Disabilities Act. As their names suggest, VRS and VRI are video-based services, and TRS is text driven.
Topics: Assistive Technology , Interpreting
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Students

Visual Fire Alarms

In today's world, emergency preparedness is an important topic. Too often, deaf individuals do not have access to emergency alerts. Visual emergency alerting systems provide equal access and allow deaf people to evacuate safely during emergencies. Both the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act also mandate reasonable accommodations, which include visual fire alarms.
Topics: Assistive Technology , Other Access Topics
Useful For: Administrators, Disability Services Professionals, Employers