Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


January is National Braille Literacy and National Mentoring Month

Reading Braille                 Mentoring month

Click on the Calendar to go directly to ODHH's Calendar of Events Webpage.


Accessibility Quick Links








Sign up

Sign up for news and updates 



Communication Access

Communication Access

Trainings for Service Providers
To request a training:
Hearing Loss Awareness - A Common Problem for Older Adults

Communication Technology

Communication Technology


Community Outreach

Community Outreach


SLI Contracts & Resources

Sign Language Interpreter Contracts & Resources


Social & Human Services

Social and Human Services

Training & Presentations

Training and Presentation

Trainings for Community Members
To request a training:


For your information...

October 29, 2019                                             

Dear Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened community consumers, interpreters, and referral agency owners,

As you know the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)/Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) and the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) have been collaborating to implement a cooperative purchasing agreement that will help to expand language access across the state. 

To gain a better understanding of everyone’s needs, over the last few months we held multiple listening sessions. We learned so much from those sessions and want to thank everyone who attended and/or provided feedback.

In order to incorporate all the feedback we received, we need additional time to finalize the solicitations. Therefore, DSHS is extending its existing ASL Interpreter Services contract until March 30, 2020.  This additional extension will ensure there is no disruption of services.

Once the new contract(s) is awarded, state agencies, and other eligible purchasers, will be able to use the cooperative purchasing agreement.

During the limited contract extension period, state agencies either may (1) work with ODHH to continue to use the existing contract; or (2) use their direct buy authority to procure such services (which can include using ODHH's vendor list of qualified and experienced vendors).



Public Videophone

Available to Community Members
Outgoing Calls Only

9 am - 4 pm
Lobby Area
Blake West Building
4450 - 10th Ave
Lacey, WA

VP Booth

Eci Ameh

Eci Ameh
Assistant Director, DES Contracts & Procurement

Deborah O'Willow

Deborah O'Willow
Director, DSHS Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


Hearing Aid Consumers

Click on this flier for information on wireless technology and hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Resources


Universal symbol that identifies a looped venue.The Telecoil - Connecting Directly to Sound

A telecoil can make a dramatic difference in your ability to hear clearly and understand dialogue.



Medicaid Coverage for Hearing Aids Starts January 1, 2019

Approved by the legislature last year, coverage of hearing aids for adults on Medicaid will begin January 1, 2019.  The coverage limited, as it only restores coverage that existed before 2011, but it will give eligible adults some hearing aid coverage, where they have none at present.  People with 45 db or more hearing loss in their better ears will be eligible for one hearing aid.  This will be bundled with the hearing evaluation, ear mold and three follow-up visits to the provider.  New hearing aids may be obtained every five years.  Two hearing aids may be approved under certain circumstances and requires prior approval.

Cochlear Implant replacement and repair will also be covered and new CIs may be covered with prior approval. Batteries for hearing aids and CIs are not covered.

The WA Health Care Authority (HCA) is still developing the regulations for this coverage but will operate under interim "emergency" regulations until the final rules have gone through the internal review, public comment and adoption processes.  HCA will have a comprehensive web site with information including Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact: Jean Gowen, PA-C, MPH
Clinical Program Manager - Hearing Hardware Program

Did you know?

Interesting Videos about Deaf Culture

Americans with Disabilities Act Resources

Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Americans with Disabilities Act (National Association of the Deaf)

(ASL Videos): Review of disability discrimination laws in ASL, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

What is Effective Communication under the ADA?

ADA Requirements: Effective Communication (Dept. of Justice):

ADA National Network: Effective Communication:

Effective Communication: Health Care (Northwest ADA Center):

Health Care Providers (National Association of the Deaf):

Questions and Answers for Health Care Providers (National Association of the Deaf):

Employment Rights

Questions and Answers about Deafness and Hearing Impairments in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (EEOC)

Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodations (National Association of the Deaf)

ADA Information, Technical Assistance, and Training

Northwest ADA Center: 
Provides information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
To learn more about the Northwest ADA Center:
425-233-8913 (Videophone)

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Mental Health Resources

Hearing Loss Association of Washington (HLAA-WA)

HLAA-WA is affiliated with the national organization called Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).  HLAA-WA has a website with information to learn more about the latest technologies available and how to deal with different communication strategies:

Hearing Loss Information

People with hearing loss who are oral and do not sign are often left out of the opportunity to socialize as their local community centers and senior centers are not “hearing friendly.” That is, they often lack the technology or fail to use even basic amplification of their programs where people who are hard of hearing might participate. There is one place where we know that people with hearing loss can be welcomed and know that their communication needs can be met. This would be a local HLAA chapter meeting.

If you are interested in starting a local HLAA chapter or hearing loss support group in your area please contact and share your ideas. We’d love to hear from you.

Interesting Reads of ASL and Deaf Culture

Interesting Resources of Inclusive Public Events and Meetings

  • Like the Mic: This is a video campaign launched by Rooted in Rights and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to bring awareness that life should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to hear.
  • Closed Captioning: Information about the benefits and requirement of turning on closed captioning at public places.
  • New Seattle Law: Seattle will require closed captioning for TVs in bars, restaurants and stadiums.
  • Let's Loop Seattle: Advocacy to remove communication barriers and open doors to employment, public accommodations, state and local government services, transportation, and telecommunications.
  • Text to 911: Information about the status of Text-to-911 service across Washington State