The landmark civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990.
The ADA has been opening doors for many people with disabilities over the last 32 years. There are also many other federal, state and local laws that protect the rights of people with hearing loss and other disabilities. You should check with your local legislators for disability rights laws in your state.
Some of the ADA communication requirements that HLAA helped to enact:
- Employers with more than 15 employees must provide reasonable accommodations on request, including assistive listening systems in the workplace for employees with hearing loss.
- Public places must provide effective communication for people with hearing loss. This may include hearing loops, captioning and CART, or a sign language interpreter.
- Health care settings like hospitals and doctor’s offices are included in public places that must accommodate people with hearing loss.
Hearing loss is an “invisible disability,” and accommodations may not be obvious.
- Know your rights
- Ask for appropriate accommodations
- Notify authorities if accommodations are not available