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The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Nov 17, 2022, 9:42 AM
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Photo: Adobe Stock

This article about accommodations for workers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing is sponsored by Sorenson.

 


Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees don’t always have equity in their work experiences. The right solutions empower those employees to excel in their jobs: following meetings or training, handling phone calls, and communicating with coworkers.

Taking advantage of tools and technology to allow full team participation also opens the door for coworkers to build rapport and improve their professional relationships. Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using laptop at cafe

Photo: Adobe Stock

CaptionCall

CaptionCall phones use voice-to-text technology to transcribe conversations. They dial, ring, and leave voice messages just like a regular phone. Captioning agents and automatic speech recognition technology transform speaker’s words to text so a Deaf or hard-of-hearing user can read them on the CaptionCall phone screen instantly. The user can then type or speak their response back. 

The phone and service come at no cost to the user thanks to funds set aside under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Videophone (VP)

Videophones (VP) enable phone calls between sign language users and hearing people through use of ASL interpreters who relay messages back and forth. VP’s have upgraded hardware with modern cameras, fast processors, and bright call flashers. They connect over wi-fi or ethernet. Users can add photos to their contacts, make group calls, and transfer calls. SignMail is another popular feature that allows someone to leave a message in ASL, similar to voicemail.

On-Site Interpreters

Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who use sign language have a right to request an interpreter under the ADA. An ASL interpreter can facilitate easy communication between colleagues in the same location. The company covers the cost of the interpreting services, not the individual.

Man showing word TIME in sign language on black background, spac

Photo: Adobe Stock

Note-Takers

If you’re using an ASL interpreter in meetings or training, note-takers are a helpful asset. With them available to take notes, the employee can focus on the interpreter and the presentation without missing anything and still have notes to refer back to later.

Close up of hands holding a notebook and pen taking notes

Photo: Adobe Stock

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) App

You can use ASL interpreters virtually as well. Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) allows you to have interpreted conversations via webcam over a high-speed internet connection. You can use VRI whether your team is in the office together or working remotely and gathering via virtual meetings. VRI is common in schools, offices, and hospitals.

VRI is available as a cloud-based service on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS devices, with no need to install software. You can even get an interpreter with background knowledge of your industry and terminology.

Happy woman in glasses talking and showing sign language

Photo: Adobe Stock

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This is a sponsored article brought to you by KSL News Radio in conjunction with the advertiser. The advertiser paid a fee to promote this article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of KSL News Radio, its parent company, or its staff.

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The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success