In Alberta, employees are protected through the Alberta Human Rights Act. If you’re Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, your employer must make every reasonable effort to accommodate your individual needs.
If you’re at work, it’s imperative that you be able to communicate with others and understand what is being said. That includes everything you need to successfully do your job, which includes the ability to participate in a conversation, job interview, training, meetings, performance reviews, disciplinary hearings etc.
Below are some of the ways that employers in Alberta and – colleagues can communicate with and accommodate those who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. While there may be a number of different options, it’s up to you to explain which method(s) works best for you.
Your organization is unique. Deaf & Hear Alberta provides individualized assessments to determine the needs of your organization and help to make it accessible and welcoming for the Deaf and hard of hearing.
Serving province-wide, assistive listening devices and communication products are available for all types of communication situations. Sensitivity training and workplace redesign, along with assistive technology may be all that is required.
The assessment includes a visit to the workplace, a short interview with the Deaf or hard of hearing employee(s), their supervisor or manager and gathering of medical and other relevant information. When complete, a written report will be finalized detailing suitable communication options, our technology specialist’s recommendations, any costs, and funding resources.
Assistive devices, or assistive technology, refers to any device that helps someone who is deaf or hard of hearing communicate. When it comes to assistive technology, most people think of hearing aids and cochlear implants. While these devices certainly enhance a person’s ability to communicate, they do not necessarily work optimally in every setting.
Case in point, hearing aids have limited ranges. Because they amplify surrounding noises, they are not great at isolating the sounds or voices you want to hear. They also work differently depending on where you are. Bare walls and floors, high ceilings, and open areas like auditoriums, conference rooms, restaurants, theatres, and customer service desks can make it difficult to hear and understand people. All of which can be very frustrating.
Thanks to the growth of digital and wireless technology, and the availability of new devices, assistive technology can eliminate issues associated with distance, background noise, and reverberation. This allows those who are deaf and hard of hearing communicate more effectively and feel more confident.
Assistive technology is not limited to devices that help you hear better. Some assistive devices can also help you live better. This includes augmented and alternative communication devices, which can include picture boards and computer programs. Assistive listening devices are small, handheld amplifiers that can help you communicate better in one-to-one-conversations.
Assistive technology also includes alerting devices, which connect to a doorbell, telephone, or alarm and emit a loud sound, strobe light, or gentle vibration.
Unless there is someone else on staff already fluent in ASL, it’s going to be difficult to find a translator, at a moment’s notice, for a reliable on-site interpreting appointment. Often times, businesses need to book an ASL interpreter weeks in advance, and sometimes, that isn’t feasible.
That’s where Virtual Remote Interpreting (VRI) comes in. VRI by DHA is an on-demand and scheduled support technology that provides live, real-time access to a professionally certified ASL interpreter, through remote audio and video connections.
VRI by DHA is a new service offered by Deaf & Hear Alberta. With our VRI service, you get access to local, qualified ASL interpreters. Businesses don’t need to worry about security breaches, our VRI platform is protected with the most advanced encrypted protocols. Our quality video streaming also ensures the user can see the ASL interpreter’s facial expressions and body language.