What Can My Business Do to Make Itself More Accessible to the Deaf Community?

Interpreting sign language for deaf or the hard of hearing helps for open communications, and in the U.S., it’s regularly legally required. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act set into place measures to forbid discrimination due to someone’s disability.

The ADA requires that the needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing are answered, which often necessitates the aid of an American Sign Language (ASL) translator.

Where Interpreting Sign Language Is Needed

When is it legally required to provide interpreters? One extremely critical place the ADA accounts for is in the medical field. Hospitals, for example, need to implement a suitable means for communicating with any patient, family members or visitors that can potentially be hearing impaired. This means all hospital domains, from the operation table to the gift shop.

The ADA continues beyond medical contexts and also includes areas like the educational, legal, employment, and law enforcement systems. For example, if a business is interviewing someone who is deaf, they are required by law to offer sign language interpreting. In much the same way, defendants who are hard of hearing in a legal proceeding need to be provided with interpreting

Furthermore, the ADA covers the hospitality industry as well. For instance, hotels need to meet deaf communication requirements by having a teletypewriter—the tool hard of hearing people use in order to operate a telephone—to guest rooms if requested, and they additionally need to own a teletypewriter at the front desk at all times.

For people that want to go above and beyond to make their small businesses more deaf-friendly, what else can you do?

Video Relay Systems

A deaf person using ASL can use a technology to place video “signing” calls to businesses which have hearing staff who act as translators. It communicates the deaf person’s message to hearing equivalents at the other end using interpreters.

Emphasize Other Visual Aids

Video relay systems are one means of accommodating deaf consumers. There are numerous in-house things small business owners can incorporate to ensure a convenient shopping and working atmosphere. Weber also says that making sure smoke and fires alarms have visual indicators such strobe lights is a great help.

It’s All About Communicating Effectively

The primary term used by the ADA with deaf or hard of hearing concerns is “adequate communication.” Whatever is needed to make sure you have effective communication is required, by law, to get arranged.

Although the aspects of what effectively communicating means can be hazy in some areas, there’s not hard to tell that sign language interpreters is one of the most direct ways for companies to meet their responsibilities under the ADA.

When it comes down to it, communicating effectively is one of the most important things your business can do to help all of its customers. That’s why InnoVision works hard to help your business optimize its communications through web design, marketing, social media management, and much more. InnoVision has two locations to serve our customers; Downtown Sacramento & Downtown Petaluma

References:

5 Star Interpreting | Americans with Disabilities Act: Providing an ASL Interpreter

Sorenson Communications | Video Relay Services Empower Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children to Communicate

SeniorNavigator | Tips for Communicating with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People

Jeff Irvine
Founder – InnoVision
707-981-7272
jeff@innovisionbiz.com

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