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Get more information on resources available to you at NECC such as assistive listening devices, captioned media, CART, interpreting, note taking, community resources, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Information for Students

Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive Listening Devices

The Role of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) In the Classroom

What are Assistive Listening Devices?

Many students who use hearing aids effectively in quiet environments have a difficult time following information presented in large college classrooms. In the classroom, the instructor’s voice is competing with background noise, room echo, and distance. Therefore, the intelligibility of the instructor’s voice is degraded by the poor room acoustics as well as the hearing loss.

Most ALDs use a transmitter/microphone positioned close to the instructor’s mouth to send the instructor’s voice to the receiver worn by the student. By placing the microphone close to the instructor’s mouth, ALDs can provide clear sound over distances, eliminate echoes, and reduce surrounding noises.

What are the benefits of using Assistive Listening Devices?

A distinct acoustic advantage of ALDs compared to personal hearing aids is the position of the microphone at a location close to the instructor’s mouth. The microphone location allows the level of the instructor’s voice to stay constant to the student regardless of the distance between the instructor and the student. The instructor’s voice is also heard clearly over room noises such as chairs moving, fan motors running, and students talking. Providing a good listening environment can have a major impact on an individual’s academic performance.

Tips for Using Assistive Listening Devices (Students are responsible for all equipment.)
  • At the beginning of each class, the student will give the instructor the microphone and transmitter. The instructor will return the microphone and transmitter to the student at the end of each class.
  • The instructor should clip the microphone on his or her shirt near their mouth and attach the transmitter to their belt or waistband. The microphone and transmitter can also be positioned on a desk, table or podium at the front of the classroom.
  • When the instructor wears the microphone and transmitter on his or her body, much of the background noise is eliminated. This allows a student to focus on the instructor’s lecture without distraction. However, this may also prevent the student from hearing the class discussions. This can be resolved by encouraging students to speak one at a time and face the class when speaking. For example, if a student goes to the board, the instructor should remind the student to turn and face the class before speaking.
  • If the instructor positions the equipment in the front of the room, class discussions will also be transmitted to the student’s receiver. However, all background noises will be transmitted as well. The instructor and the student should discuss options and decide how to proceed.
  • The student will wear a receiver that picks up the frequency broadcasted by the transmitter. Depending on the individual needs of the student, the receiver comes in a variety of styles. Some students will use earphones and others may use a neck loop to pick up the transmission.
  • NOTE:Instructors should turn the transmitter on before starting or resuming class and be certain to turn off the transmitter any time they leave the room during the class period (such as breaks, phone calls, etc.) The signal from the transmitter can be received hundreds of feet away. Therefore, private interactions can accidentally be overheard.

Some students do not mind if other students know they are using an ALD. Others do not want to be identified. The student determines how they want to handle the situation.

There are a variety of Assistive Listening Devices which can be utilized effectively in the classroom. No single technology is without limitations or can be expected to fulfill all the essential auditory needs of all users. Consult with an audiologist to determine the most appropriate assistive listening device.

Captioned Media

Captioned Media

Captioning–a visual representation of the audio portion of videotape material–enables deaf and hard of hearing learners to have full access to materials used in the classroom. With an ever-expanding pool of captioning agencies providing a wider array of options, including modem technology, and because of the greater availability of other low-cost captioning alternatives, access to classroom materials and lectures has become much easier.

If you need materials captioned, you can communicate with your instructor(s). If you need further assistance, please email DHHS at or call 978-241-7045 (VP).

Communications Access Realtime Translation

Communications Access Realtime Translation

CART (Speech-to-Text Services)

Many deaf individuals may prefer to use Speech-to-Text Services (STTS) alone or in addition to another accommodation to have full communication access. STTS are provided in real-time by a Speech-to-Text Professional (STTP) that converts spoken and auditory information into text. Speech-to-Text services come in two broad formats: verbatim and meaning-for-meaning.

What is CART?

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) – is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text performed by a CART reporter using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and Realtime software. The text is then displayed on a computer monitor or other display device for the student who is deaf or hard of hearing to read. This technology is primarily used by people with hearing loss, but it also has been used by people with learning disabilities or those who are learning English as a second language.

How does CART work?

CART reporters write in a phonetic language, called STENO. Using the stenotype keyboard’s 22 keys and a number bar, they learn unique combinations of letters to represent sounds or phonemes. The keyboard is chordal; therefore, multiple keys are pressed at the same time, much like playing chords on a piano, to represent certain phonemes. When an outline is written on the keyboard, it passes via cable to a computer for processing. This processing can be referred to as “translation” because it takes the phonetic outlines written by the reporter and translates them into English words using a special dictionary created by the reporter. This dictionary contains word parts, whole words, phrases, names, punctuation, and special entries used by the reporter during a realtime session.


National Deaf Center Website:Speech-to-Text Services



Working with an Interpreter

An interpreter’s role is to facilitate communication and convey all auditory and signed information so that both hearing and deaf individuals may fully interact.

Regardless of what type of interpreting is used at your educational institution, interpreters associated with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) are bound by a Code of Professional Conduct (CPC).

Principles guiding the professional behaviors of interpreters/transliterators are:

  • they shall keep all assignment-related information strictly confidential.
  • they shall render the message faithfully, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker, using language most readily understood by the person(s) whom they serve.
  • they shall not counsel, advise, or interject personal opinions.
  • they shall accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, setting, and the consumers involved.
  • they shall request compensation for services in a professional and judicious manner.
  • they shall function in a manner appropriate to the situation.
  • they shall strive to further knowledge and skills through participation in workshops, professional meetings, interactions with professional colleagues, and reading of current literature in the field.
  • by virtue of membership in or certification by RID shall strive to maintain high professional standards in compliance with the Code of Professional Conduct.

The interpreter’s job is to faithfully transmit the spirit and content of the communicator, allowing the student and instructor full access in the communication interaction. The interpreter’s primary responsibility is to facilitate communication.


Note Taking

Note Taking Support Services

Why Provide Note Taking?

In one form or another, note taking is the support service most widely used by students who are deaf or hard of hearing, surpassing even interpreting in frequency of use. Students request note taking because it provides them access to course content in a way no other service can duplicate. However, note taking is not a substitute for interpreting. In many cases, both services are necessary because of the physical impossibility of watching an interpreter or speech-reading while simultaneously taking notes. In addition, for non-signing students, notes may be their only means of access.

Note Taking Services

Based on a student’s documented disability the Note Taker accommodation may be approved for a student.

The LA Center maintains a confidential master schedule of all note-taking assignments for potential note takers to review. Peer note takers may or may not be enrolled in the same course they are assigned to take notes for. The LA Center will send the student an email when a note taker is hired.

  • The LA Center provides materials and training to note takers.
  • A student will not receive notes for days/times they are not in class.
  • Coaching or extra help is not part of the note taker’s job.
  • Audio recording a class lecture may be an option if a note taker is not found right away.
  • The student is to notify the LA Center if Note Taking services are not needed in a particular course.

Community Resources

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