What challenges do individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have in operating computers?

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Hearing impairments alone generally do not interfere with most computer use. However, alternatives to audio output can assist the computer user who is deaf or hard of hearing. For example, if the sound volume is turned to zero, a computer may flash the menu bar when audio output is normally used. When sound is used on web pages and other electronic media, individuals who are deaf cannot access the content unless captions or transcriptions are also provided.

[A young woman is shown along with the title 'Computer Access for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing'.] Select the image to the right to view a captioned video clip, in Real Player format, about alternatives to audio output for individuals with hearing impairments.

For more information, consult Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology, Working Together: Computers and People with Sensory Impairments, and Technology and Universal Design.

Last update or review: January 24, 2013