Hearing Loss is a Civil Rights Issue

Civil Rights and You

Ask for the accommodation you need!

Hearing is a covered civil right under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and also the California Unruh Act.


ada_anniv_national project_logo_3The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life: enjoy employment opportunities, participate in Federal, State and local government programs and services and purchase goods and services.

Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin—and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.1

You may find interest in the following links are to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s ADA.gov website.

Effective Communications (2014), Revised ADA requirements
This 7-page publication provides guidance on the Department’s 2010 regulations relating to communicating effectively with people who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities.

ADA Frequently Asked Questions
A 31-page booklet giving an overview of the ADA’s requirements for ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation, and requiring the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services.

How to File an ADA Complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice
You can file an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint alleging disability discrimination against a State or local government or a public accommodation (including, for example, a restaurant, doctor’s office, retail store, hotel, etc.) by mail, fax, or email.

Revised ADA requirements: Service Animals (2011)
This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions on effective communication for students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities in public elementary and secondary schools (2014)
This 30-page document, issued jointly by the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Education, explains public schools’ responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to meet the communication needs of students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities.

ADA: Know Your Rights – Returning Service Members with Disabilities (2010)
This 28-page booklet is designed to provide military service members who have been seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom a basic understanding of their rights under the ADA and where to turn for additional information and assistance.

Title I – How the ADA protects people with disabilities in employment

Title II – How the ADA protects people with disabilities in State and local governments

Title III – How the ADA protects people with disabilities in public accommodations and commercial facilities

1. introduction from ADA.gov homepage