Deaf/Hard of Hearing Acronyms

With abbreviations like ASL (American Sign Language) and VRS (Video Relay Service), there are a lot of acronyms that can be confusing when seeing them for the first time. In this article, we aim to unravel some of the most common acronyms used. Whether you're new to this topic or want to support those who are deaf or hard of hearing, you can reference the list below to familiarize yourself with some of the terminology

Acronyms and Definitions

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

A U.S. law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, in various areas of public life, such as employment, education, and public accommodations.

ASL: American Sign Language

A complete, complex language that uses visual-manual communication and is primarily used by the Deaf community in the United States and parts of Canada.

CODA: Child of Deaf Adults

A term used to refer to hearing individuals who have one or both Deaf parents.

IEP: Individualized Education Program

A legal document that outlines the specialized educational plan for students with disabilities, including deaf or hard of hearing students, in the United States.

NAD: National Association of the Deaf

The oldest and largest organization representing the interests of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.

TTY: Text Telephone

A device that allows individuals with hearing loss to communicate over the telephone by typing and reading text messages.

VRS: Video Relay Service

A telecommunications service that enables deaf and hard of hearing individuals to communicate with hearing individuals via a sign language interpreter, who relays the conversation over video.

CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation

A service that provides live captioning of spoken content using a stenotype machine or other methods. It is often used in educational, work, or public settings.

ADAAG: Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines

Guidelines developed by the U.S. Access Board that provide standards for accessible design and construction of facilities to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

HLAA: Hearing Loss Association of America

A national organization that provides support, resources, and advocacy for individuals with hearing loss and their families.

DB: Deafblind

Refers to individuals who have both significant hearing and vision loss.

T-coil: Telecoil

A small coil of wire found in some hearing aids and cochlear implants that allows users to receive sound signals directly from telephones, assistive listening devices, and hearing loop systems.

FM: Frequency Modulation

A wireless technology used in assistive listening devices that transmits sound directly to hearing aids or cochlear implants to improve sound clarity and reduce background noise.