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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH)?

ODHH is an office of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, working to reduce barriers faced by people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or deaf-blind, their families and care providers, in order to improve their quality of life and economic security.

What does ODHH do?

ODHH Advocates, Informs, Refers and maintains a database of registered sign-language interpreters.

Where is ODHH located?

ODHH, with offices in Allentown, Harrisburg, Johnstown and Erie, serves residents of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Find the office serving your county.

Is there a fee for your services?

Our training, advocacy, information and referrals are available at no charge.

Who contacts your office?

Anyone seeking information for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind may contact our office. We work with state agencies, legislators, parents, adult children of older residents, private businesses, interpreters, service providers, schools, attorneys, hospitals and others.

Does ODHH provide training?

ODHH staff provides training in the use of technology such as captioned telephones and TTYs (teletypewriters), and in topics such as Deaf Culture, legal rights, emergency preparedness and communication methods.

ODHH can customize training to meet your specific goals, or refer you to providers of job training or specialized training, such as orientation and mobility.

How does ODHH advocate?

The office provides advocacy for individuals seeking accessible services, such as getting an assistive listening device for a doctor’s visit or an interpreter for a play at a community theater.

ODHH assists organizations in becoming fully accessible for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind. For example, ODHH is working with the PA Department of Corrections to give deaf inmates access to the same services as the non-deaf inmates; with the PA Bar Association to set aside funds to reimburse private practice attorneys for Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and sign-language interpreting services; and is involved with a western PA task force to implement support services for persons who are deaf-blind.

Our goal is to help reduce barriers for individuals as well as for the organizations whose services they are seeking.

How does ODHH inform?

ODHH acts as an information clearinghouse. We are the first place to contact when you have a question about hearing loss!

Do you want to take a sign language class? Looking for a low-interest loan to buy hearing aides? Do you need a list of Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) providers? Are you looking for an interpreter? Do you need orientation and mobility training? Would you like to try out an assistive listening device before buying? Do you qualify for free equipment to help you hear on the phone?

And if the answer isn’t readily available, we will do our best to find it for you.

How does ODHH refer?

ODHH does not directly provide services such as CART and sign-language interpreters, but can refer you to service providers. Our representatives assist persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind to become fully informed of their options. Once an individual has chosen a service provider, an ODHH representative will assist the provider in coordinating accessible services.

What is the Interpreter Registration Act?

Act 57, the Sign Language Interpreter and Transliterator State Registration Act, was written to protect persons who depend on interpreters for communication. To help ensure quality services, the law requires interpreters to register with ODHH.

Where can I find ODHH online?

We have expanded our searchable interpreter database, which currently has over 225 nationally certified, registered interpreters. We have added a comprehensive resource directory and calendar of events. If you cannot find what you are looking for online, our knowledgeable staff is ready and able to assist you.

Can ODHH help me find a job?

Services related to job placement or preparation are provided by the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation or OVR. ODHH can refer you to an OVR representative in your area.

OVR services are now available online! You can access services or locate an OVR office near you at www.cwds.state.pa.us, the new online home of Pennsylvania workforce development and independent-living services.

Pennsylvania Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

717-783-4912 voice/tty/videophone
toll free in PA: 800-233-3008 voice/tty
e-mail: Ra-li-ovr-odhh@pa.gov
America Online Instant Messenger (AIM): pennsylvaniaodhh

 

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Program