What are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services?
The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) works in partnership with people who are deaf or hard of hearing to eliminate societal and communication barriers to improve equal access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. DHHS advocates for people of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing to enable them to express their freedoms, participate in society to their individual potential, and reduce their isolation regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or degree of disability.
What Services are Provided?
Camp Sign is a week-long summer program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing between the ages of 8 and 17. The camp program is dependent on donated funds. Donations are welcome throughout the year and are tax deductible.
Communication Services for One-Time Events
The Special Needs Funds (SNF) program is designed to provide communication services for one-time events to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Services include:
- interpreting, and
- Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART).
Funding through this program is not intended for demonstrating interpreting and CART services, or for use for state agency events. Applicants for the funds are the organizers who want to offer communication services at their events.
Funds are available on a limited first-come, first-served basis and must be used for funding the following approved events, which must be related to issues of concern for people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
- local workshops or conferences, and
- statewide workshops or conferences. National events held in-state are considered statewide conferences.
For the Special Needs Funds application, see Form 3925, Special Needs Funds Request for Communication Access.
Training and other educational activities are provided for people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as for their families, service providers, schools and institutions, employers and government agencies. Training is offered periodically throughout the year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming events.
Driver Visor Cards
Drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing can get an visor card to carry in their vehicle to identify themselves as being deaf or hard of hearing.
To apply, complete Form, Application for Driver Identification Visor Card.
Find a Certified Interpreter
Need to find an interpreter? Visit the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) Public Interpreter Registry to find one in your area or locate interpreter services contracted by HHS.
Whether you are an individual, a business, an interpreter referral agency, a doctor, a lawyer, or another entity in need of a certified sign language interpreter, these resources can point you in the right direction.
Contact your Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Specialist for local support around the state.
Communication Services for State Agencies is designed for state agencies seeking interpreter or live captioning services for employees, clients, or both.
Where the Americans with Disabilities Act or other access mandates do not apply, sign language interpreter services may be provided through Last Resort Communication Services. Find a provider near you.
If you have a complaint about a BEI interpreter certified by Texas Health and Human Services, you can file a complaint within 90 days of the alleged incident. Learn more about filing a complaint here.
Hearing Aid Information
Financial assistance to purchase hearing aids may be available from a variety of sources for children who get Medicaid, older Texans and people who are looking for employment.
Information and Referral
DHHS provides information and referral regarding resources for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Visit the resource information page for links to state and national organizations.
Visit the hearing aid information page to locate financial assistance for hearing aids.
The Board for Evaluation of Interpreters certification program tests and certifies the skill level of individuals who want to become certified interpreters in Texas. The program ensures that prospective interpreters are proficient in their ability to meaningfully and accurately comprehend, produce and transform ASL to and from English.
Interpreter Training (CEUs)
The Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) sponsors skills building and training opportunities for interpreters and coordinates training sponsored by other entities. DHHS also provides continuing education units for certification maintenance to participants in any approved training.
To participate in the Court Mentoring Program, complete the appropriate form:
- Form 3903, Court Interpreter Mentor Application
- Form 3904, Court Mentor Training Program
- Form 3905, Court Mentee Evaluation
- Form 3914, Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Attendance Sign-in Sheet
- Form 3915, Certificate of Attendance
- Form 3916, Sponsor Report
- Form 3917, Approval Letter for Proposed Training Request
The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) approves courses and workshops that provide continuing education to interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Last Resort Communication Services
These services may be provided for people as a last resort to whom the Americans with Disabilities Act or other access mandates do not apply. Services, which include sign language, oral interpreters and real-time captioning, are designed to help facilitate access to essential services and community participation.
Resource specialists provide services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as government agencies, service providers, employers, and private entities. Regional service providers offer services statewide at no cost through contracts with HHSC Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Technology Specialists promote quality of life for persons who are deaf and hard of hearing through technology and managing hearing loss. Services include:
- Assistive technology demonstration and assessment
- Consultation and training on communication strategies
- Referrals to community resources for support for hearing loss
Find the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Technology Specialist near you.
Find out how a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Technology specialist can help you (PDF in English)
Find out how a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Technology specialist can help you (PDF in Spanish)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Specialists promote equal access and equal opportunity for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in Texas. Services include:
- advocacy and teaching self-advocacy skills for effective communication
- consultation and training on culturally-competent service provision, including mandates regarding communication access
- referrals to other community resources
Find the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Specialist near you.
Find out how a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Specialist can help you (PDF in English).
Find out how a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Specialist can help you (PDF in Spanish).
Senior Citizens Program
This program is geared toward bridging communication barriers and reducing the isolation facing people age 60 and older who are deaf or hard of hearing. Services vary and may include coping skills training, independent living services and recreational activities.
The Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP) helps people who have a disability that interferes with their access to telephone networks purchase specialized assistive equipment or services. To be eligible for a voucher, you must complete and return an application.
Contracted local service providers may assist in completing and certifying applications at no cost to the applicant. To find a local service provider and get help with certification, visit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Contractors page.
Students who meet certain criteria can apply to have their tuition waived at state-supported, post-secondary schools in Texas.