Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services

Working with Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

If a student who is Deaf, hard of hearing, or has an auditory processing disorder is in class, the “Notice of Academic Accommodation” email from Disability Access Services will list the accommodations that are appropriate for the student.  Among these are:

Additional information about each of the listed accommodations can be found by clicking the links above.

There are several teaching techniques that are helpful for students with a hearing loss in your class. These include:

  • Ensuring that lighting is adequate for the student to be able to see the interpreters.
  • Avoiding standing with your back to light sources (such as windows). Doing so can create shadows on the face and prevents the student from speech-reading.
  • Avoiding speaking while facing away from the class; avoiding covering the mouth and face with papers, books, hands, etc.
  • Providing copies of overheads, PowerPoints, and other visual aids to the student in advance. A student watching an interpreter or a transcriber's computer screen cannot simultaneously see the material that you reference in class.
  • Providing Disability Access Services information about media that you plan to use. A captioned copy will be provided for use when a student with a hearing loss is present in the class.
  • Requesting an interpreter or transcriber for meetings with the student if such is necessary to ensure communication access. Fill out a Request for Interpreter or Transcriber form or contact, preferably at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Striving to minimize background/environmental noises.
  • Using written notes to communicate with the student when interpreters or transcribers are unavailable.

For additional information, please contact the Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services: or 541-737-3670

Page Updated 11/2014

Real-Time Transcribing

Real-time transcribing is a method of using specialized software to convert spoken language into text onto any device with a web browser and internet access.

If electronic devices are not allowed in the classroom, please be aware that students eligible for transcribing must use an electronic device with internet to receive their accommodation.

  • Lecture material, class comments, questions, and social interactions among the student's peers are all transcribed. The transcriber captures both the meaning and style of what is said.
  • The text from the transcriber is not "word-for word." The transcriber has been trained to condense information in order to keep up with the pace of the lecture, while retaining all essential points of the material.
  • The use of two linked computers allows the student to type questions and comments to the transcriber during class. The transcriber can then read ("voice") for the student, if that is the student's preference.
  • The transcribing process always involves a slight lag time. The student using the service will require a few additional seconds in order to respond to questions and/or participate in class discussions.
  • The student is responsible for copying the information on overheads or written on the board. It is impossible for the student to simultaneously copy the information and watch the transcribing on a computer screen. Therefore, it is very helpful to a student who is deaf/hard of hearing to receive copies of overheads used during lecture in advance.
  • Transcribers are typically added to the Learning Management System (LMS) as “observers” so that they can read posted material, become familiar with vocabulary, and prepare for the class. Instructions for this process are available at Accommodations in Canvas or the OSU Computer Helpdesk at 541-737-3474 can provide assistance if needed.
  • The transcriber must be seated towards the front of the classroom to ensure that the faculty can be easily heard.
  • The transcriber will begin to set up equipment immediately upon arrival in the classroom. If the student is absent, the transcriber occasionally might be rescheduled to a different class. In such cases, the transcriber will break down the equipment and exit the classroom as unobtrusively as possible. Otherwise, the transcriber will stay in the class and transcribe in order to remain current with the vocabulary and concepts used during the class.
  • By the end of the day of the class, the transcriber will edit out non-subject related and confidential material and will provide a copy of the transcript to the student to serve as notes for the class. Students are not permitted to share the transcript with any other person and will not receive transcripts of classes they did not attend except if the absence is documented as disability-related.
  • Students are instructed to delete all transcripts after final grades have been posted and there is no dispute regarding the grades.
  • Transcribers are required to follow the Transcriber Code of Ethics, which include an obligation to keep all assignment related information strictly confidential.

TypeWell Transcriber's Code of Ethics

  • The transcriber will keep strictly confidential all information learned during transcribing assignments.
  • The transcriber will accurately transcribe the meaning of the spoken utterances made by individuals in the class or other transcribing situation.
  • The transcriber will accurately voice comments and questions in reverse interpreting situations.
  • The transcriber will not answer student questions about class content. The transcriber will instead facilitate communication between the instructor and student/reader, by transcribing or voicing as needed.
  • The transcriber will not offer opinions or input of any kind in classes and meetings, even if invited to do so by instructors or others.
  • The transcriber will accept only those assignments for which he or she possesses appropriate skills.
  • The transcriber will strive to continually improve his or her transcribing skills.
  • The transcriber will prevent unauthorized people from using TypeWell to provide services for students and others.

For additional information, please contact the Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services at or 541-737-3670

Page Updated 11/2014

Sign Language Interpreters

An interpreter facilitates communication for a Deaf or hard of hearing (DHOH) student through the use of sign language or oral interpretation. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) have established a set of ethical standards that define an interpreter's role. Interpreters hired by DAS adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct standards.

The Code of Professional Conduct requires interpreters to:

  • Keep all information from interpreting assignments confidential.
  • Interpret all information accurately and without bias.
  • Refrain from participating in the class in any way.
  • Refrain from expressing personal opinions.

Working with Students and Interpreters

  • To communicate with a Deaf/hard of hearing student, maintain eye contact and address the student directly. If the faculty says to the interpreter "tell him he should...," the interpreter will sign those words exactly. However, the phrase "you should..." directed towards the student will establish a direct line of communication.
  • The interpreter is most often seated in front of the class, opposite the Deaf/hard of hearing student, and will try to maintain a position that allows the student to see the speaker and the interpreter at all times.
  • There will be a few seconds "lag time" between the spoken message and its interpretation into sign language, as well as when the Deaf/hard of hearing student signs and the interpreter begins voicing. Therefore, the Deaf/hard of hearing student will always be slightly slower to respond than the majority of students in the class.
  • The interpreter will interpret environmental noises and may, at times, interpret overheard conversations before class begins.
  • Provide the interpreter a copy of the class syllabus and all handouts which will be used in the class aids the interpreter’s preparation for the class.
  • Students cannot watch the interpreter and media simultaneously; captions allow access to the information presented. Please ensure all media shown in class include captions.
  • If the classroom is to be darkened, be aware that the student must be able to see the interpreter in order to access the information presented in an auditory format. Please adjust the lighting so that the interpreter can be seen by the student.
  • In the absence of an interpreter, don't hesitate to use paper and pencil for communication. It is a widely accepted method.

Requesting an Interpreter

  • DAS has the responsibility to provide access for all academic programs and essential student services. An interpreter may be requested by completing a Custom Request for an Interpreter.
  • Students registered with DAS may submit custom requests through their DAS Online Services profiles.
  • Departments are responsible for requesting interpreting services from DAS for non-essential services and other university events.
    • Please make your request for an interpreter as far in advance as possible. A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is typically required to locate available interpreters.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services at or 541-737-3670

Page Updated 5/2021

FM/Assistive Listening Devices (ALD)

Assistive Listening Device

What is an FM/Assistive Listening Device?

An assistive listening device amplifies sound. The system is comprised of a microphone and a transmitter, worn by the speaker, and a receiver and coupling device, worn by the listener, that transmits sound to the listener's ear or hearing aid. Although not useful for all types of hearing loss, good candidates for the system experience an improved ability to hear both because of amplified sound and because the majority of environmental sounds are masked.

Faculty responsibility

The student will approach the faculty before class to provide the FM  transmitter and microphone, and will pick them up at the end of class. Some classrooms at Oregon State University are "looped" and in those cases, it is not necessary for the faculty member to wear a microphone or transmitter.

The lapel microphone must be placed on a collar or upper lapel area and turned on. Faculty should remember to turn off the microphone when having private conversations. If the microphone has been turned off, please remember to turn it back on before resuming class.

Because the speaker's voice is transmitted directly to the student using the FM system and other noises are screened out, questions and comments from other students in the class cannot be heard. Faculty should repeat those questions and comments so that the student using the FM system can have access to class discussions.

The microphone of an FM system has a limited range. If there will be more than one speaker, such as during a panel discussion, Disability Access Services can provide a conference microphone with a larger range.

Please contact the Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services at or 541-737-3670 for additional assistance.

Page Updated 11/2014

Real-Time Captioning

Real-Time captioning (CART) is a method of converting spoken language into visual text onto a laptop computer screen. Specialized software and stenography equipment are used in this conversion process.

Real-time captioning services at OSU are provided by a captioner in a remote location. DAS technicians will go to the classroom to assist the faculty and student with setup for the service. The setup generally doesn’t take more than a minute.

The faculty will wear a small lapel microphone that will allow the captioner to hear what is being said in class. The microphone cannot pick up student comments and questions; therefore, it is necessary for the faculty to repeat comments and questions in order for the student using the service to be included in class discussions.

After class, the student is emailed a transcript of what was said. Students are not permitted to share the transcript with any other students, and are asked to delete the transcripts after grades are posted and there are no disputes. Transcripts are considered the intellectual property of the faculty.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Program Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services at (541) 737-3670 (voice) or (email).

Page Updated 11/2014

Accessible (Captioned) Media

Why Do We Caption Videos?

Captioned videos allows equal access to the content for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHOH). Captions are text displayed on the screen to represent what is being said as well as important sound cues. Spoken words in the video are captioned verbatim.

Federal laws (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act) and University policy require this accommodation for eligible individuals. For more information visit the Equal Opportunity and Access website.

In order for media with an auditory component to be accessible for students who are Deaf/hard of hearing, Disability Access Services (DAS) will caption to a copy of the media that was originally produced without captions.

What Faculty Should Expect at the Beginning of the Term

Early Notification of Academic Support Services Email

This email is sent to faculty when eligible students register with DAS online services. It provides information about the kinds of accommodations for which the student is eligible and requests information about videos that the faculty member plans to show in class during the term.

DHOH Video Reminder Letter

If faculty do not respond to the Early Notification email, a reminder email will be sent by Captioning Services. The process of adding captions to videos is time intensive for DAS. Faculty are encouraged to respond promptly as this will allow DAS to complete the captioning process by the planned view date.

If faculty Do NOT intend to show videos

Faculty response is greatly appreciated even if they do not plan to show any media in class.

If no response is given DAS will continue to reach out to the faculty to make sure there are no uncaptioned videos.

If faculty do intend to show videos

It is recommended that faculty verify that the video(s) have or do not have captions. There are a few different ways to gather this information.

Determining whether a video has captions or not

Hardcopies of videos (DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s)

Videos that are closed-captioned often have the symbol "CC" displayed inside a black square on the box of the video. Most classrooms on campus have equipment that allows the use of closed-captioned videos/DVD’s/Blu-ray’s.

Please note that although most DVD’s/Blu-Ray’s now have subtitles, English subtitles are not always available. We recommend that the faculty check the DVD/Blu-Ray in advance to determine if the media contains English subtitles. Faculty should contact the DAS office if in need of assistance.

Online video content

Most online media players have an option to turn on closed captions. There is generally a button that can be clicked to turn captions on. The button will have the “CC” symbol. Please note that many YouTube videos have the option to display “Automatic Captions”. This is not an acceptable accommodation because of its high inaccuracy. DAS recommends that faculty follow the instructions in the captioning notification email and provide DAS with links to the media for inspection.

Videos without Captions

Once a video has been determined to not have acceptable/no captions, DAS will begin the process of creating the captioned copy. This is a time intensive process and requires adequate time for DAS to complete. It’s imperative that faculty start communicating with Captioning Services as soon as possible after receiving the captioning notification email. The details of the captioning process and timeline is found in this email. If faculty plans on showing a hardcopy of a video DAS can send a DAS staff member to retrieve the video and start the captioning process. This includes making a copy of the video. Once the copy has been made, DAS will return the original to the faculty. This generally happens within 48 hours.

Turning on Captions - Hardcopy

For videos that are delivered in a hard copy format (DVD, Blu-ray) faculty should not have to turn on captions. DAS will deliver the captioned copy to the faculty prior to the start of the class. The captions will be embedded on the disk and will play alongside the video. If faculty is using a DAS approved VHS tape, captioning can be turned on using the “CC” button on the VHS player. For more help on in-classroom equipment please contact Classroom Technology Services.

Turning on Captions - Online

In most cases the media will be hosted on Oregon States MediaSpace (online) and should have captions turned on by default. If the video plays and no captions appear, please click on the “CC” button and select “DAS-English”. The link to access the video will be sent to the faculty by Captioning Services prior to the start of the class.

Captioning Timeline

Captioning content is a time intensive process. In order to ensure media accessibility please review the following timelines.

  • For videos under 10 minutes, please provide 72 hours prior to show date
  • For videos 10-20 minutes, please provide 5 business days prior to show date
  • For videos 20-60+ minutes, please provide 14 business days prior to show date

*For videos that require Audio Descriptions, please provide 10 business days prior to show date

Working with DAS through the captioning process

Your primary contacts will be Captioning Services and the Assistive Technology Manager. Captioning Services will communicate with faculty on updates and answer any questions or concerns the faculty may have. The most important factor in communicating with Captioning Services is for faculty to respond to the initial Notification Email as soon as possible to get the process started.
For questions or concerns please contact: or the Assistive Technology Manager at 541-737-3666.

Accessible Media

In order to ensure access to instructional materials, all media must be captioned when being shown in classes in which students who are deaf/hard of hearing are enrolled. If faculty receives an email from DAS regarding a student eligible for captioned media, faculty should contact Captioning Services at as soon as possible. DAS will add captions to a copy of the media, but the process is time-intensive and generally requires a minimum of two weeks to complete a one hour video/DVD.

Information that faculty will be asked to provide:

  • the title of the video/DVD/Blu-ray
  • the length of the video/DVD/Blu-ray
  • whether the video/DVD/Blu-ray is closed captioned or subtitled
  • the owner of the video/DVD/Blu-ray (private party, department, Valley Library collection, etc.)
  • the anticipated show date for the video/DVD/Blu-ray
  • the link for any YouTube clips you plan to use

DAS staff will make arrangements to pick up the video/DVD/Blu-ray from the specified location. The original copy will generally be returned within 48 hours. The captioned media will be made available before the planned view date.



Page Updated 07/2021

Glossary of Terms

Age of Onset – The age at which a person starts to lose hearing.

ALDs (Assistive listening devices) – Devices that use a microphone positioned close to the speaker's mouth to transmit speech to the receiver worn by the student, either via a loop, headphones, or an ear bud. ALDs help overcome the problems of distance and surrounding noise.

ALD – Assistive Listening Device for personal use.

ALS – Assistive Listening System for groups of people.

Amplification – The use of hearing aids or any other mechanics used by a person with a hearing impairment to amplify sound.

Amplified Phone – Phones equipped with volume controls on the handset.

ASL (American Sign Language) – A natural visual-gestural language with syntax, structure, and grammar rules different from English.

Audiogram – A graph used to record the results of a hearing evaluation.

Audiology – The science of hearing, including the evaluation of hearing impairments and the rehabilitation of people with hearing impairments.

Closed-Captioning Decoder – A device which allows closed transcribing to be seen on a television screen.

Compatible Phone – A phone which generates an induction signal that can be picked up by a hearing aid telecoil. Federal law requires that all corded phones sold in the United States must be hearing aid compatible.

Conductive hearing loss – The loss of sound sensitivity produced by abnormalities of the outer and/or middle ear.

Cued Speech – The use of handshapes and placements around the mouth to aid in the recognition of spoken words – used in some parts of the country extensively, and not much in other areas.

Cued Speech Transliterator – Transliterators translate from spoken language to the visual mode of communication Cued Speech. Transliterators provide real-time access to all information occurring in the classroom.

Cumulative Trauma Disorder – A painful physical condition, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that is caused by overuse and repetitive motion without sufficient breaks for resting.

Deaf Person – One whose hearing loss makes it impossible for him/her to understand speech and language with or without the use of hearing aids.

Decibel – A unit for expressing the intensity (loudness) of sounds.

Degree of Hearing Loss – The extent of hearing impairment usually categorized as "slight," mild," "moderate," "severe," or "profound."

Dual Party Relay – Three way telephone access system linking Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers using an agent who has access to both parties.

Etiology of Hearing Loss – The cause of a hearing loss.

Frequency – It is the subjective impression of highness or lowness of a sound (pitch).

Hard of Hearing Person – One whose hearing loss makes it difficult, but not impossible, or him/her to understand speech and language with or without the use of hearing aids.

Interpreter – A trained professional, fluent in both English and American Sign Language, who is bound by a code of ethics to facilitate communication between deaf and hearing persons.

Notetaker – a person, typically a student in the class, that takes notes and provides them to the student with a disability. Notes include lecture information, diagrams and notes from class as well as threads of class discussions.

Open-Captioning – Text that appears on the television screen that conveys the spoken information – does not require a decoder.

Oral Interpreting – A form of interpreting in which the interpreter mouths without voice is being said so the person who is deaf or hard of hearing can speechread more easily.

Real-Time Transcribing/Captioning – Transcribing that is provided simultaneously as a spoken word using a computerized software program.

Residual Hearing – Any usable hearing that a person may have.

RID – Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the organization responsible for testing and certifying interpreters, and the formation of the Code of Ethics.

Section 504 – Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. No. 93-112, as amended). It protects the civil rights of people with disabilities in many environments including college settings.

Sensorioneural Hearing Loss – The loss of sound sensitivity produced by abnormalities of the inner ear or the eighth cranial nerve pathway beyond the inner ear to the brain.

Speechreading (also known as lipreading) – The process of watching a person's mouth movements and facial expressions to ascertain what is being said. Speechreading ability varies from person to person and can be influenced by factors such as the amount of useable hearing a person has and their knowledge of spoken English. Other factors can include the amount of light and the noise level of the environment.

"T" Switch – A switch on a hearing aid that is compatible with telephone use, allowing the user to cut off all competing sounds.

Tactile Interpreting – A form of interpreting with individuals who are deafblind which involves them receiving information by placing their hands on the interpreter's hands during the interpretation.

Text Relay – A free service which provides operators, called communication assistants (CAs), who facilitate phone calls between hearing and deaf or hard of hearing persons. The CA types what the hearing person says for the deaf or hard of hearing person to read. The CA voices what the deaf or hard of hearing person types to the hearing person. Relay can be done over the phone (using a TTY or TDD) or over the Internet (IP Relay).

TTY or TDD – A telecommunication device used by persons who are deaf who cannot communicate on the telephone. A typewriter-like unit prints the conversation on a screen or paper so that it can be read, and enables the user to type responses back on the keyboard. A TTY must connect with another TTY or a computer.

Type of Loss – The nature of a hearing impairment, usually classified as "conductive," "sensori-neural," or "mixed."

Text messaging devices – Mobile devices that allow simultaneous two-way text communication. Some more common brands are Blackberry, Ogo, and Sidekick.

Video Relay – A free online service which provides on-screen interpreters to facilitate phone calls between hearing and deaf or hard of hearing persons.