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Best Practices in Caring for the Deaf Patient

This guide offers medical professionals information to understand Deaf culture and identify resources (databases, books, web sites, and more) to continue research topics in this subject.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Assistive technology devices can be "high tech" or "low tech" and include:

Assistive listening devices (ALDs)

  • Help amplify the sounds you want to hear, especially where there’s a lot of background noise

  • ALDs can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant to help a wearer hear certain sounds better

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices

  • Help people with communication disorders to express themselves

  • Devices can range from a simple picture board to a computer program that synthesizes speech from text

Alerting Devices 

  • Connect to a doorbell, telephone, or alarm that emits a loud sound or blinking light to let someone with hearing loss know that an event is taking place

Personal Amplifiers

  • Useful in places in which the above systems are unavailable or when watching TV, being outdoors, or traveling in a car. About the size of a cell phone, these devices increase sound levels and reduce background noise for a listener.



  • Note-taker
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART)
  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
  • Videophones (VPs)/Portable Videophones
  • TTY Relay
  • Video Relay


  • Captioning
  • Subtitling
  • Visual and textual information

Assistive Devices

  • Hearing aid
  • Cochlear implant
  • Vibrating alarm clock

Built Environment

  • Visual fire alarms
  • Visual door alarms
  • Textual announcements
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