Services for the deaf and hard of hearing

The Division of Rehabilitation Services offers specialized programs and services that help West Virginia citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing to reach their employment goals. DRS can provide:

  • Assistive Devices
  • Audiological Evaluations & Assessments
  • Telecommunications Devices
  • Interpreter Services
  • Vocational Counseling & Guidance
  • Vocational Evaluations & Training
  • Hearing Aids & Assistive Listening Devices
  • Life Skills • Work Adjustment • Job Coaching • Direct Placement

All DRS Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf have specialized training needed to meet the unique employment needs of people who have hearing loss. These counselors for the deaf understand deaf culture, as well as the needs of those who have lost their hearing later in life. These counselors can talk with you about how to go to work, including how to:

  • Find out about accommodations you will need to attend school or training
  • Interview for a job
  • Ask an employer for reasonable accommodations

Offices near you

Rehabilitation counselors for the deaf are available at these DRS offices:

District 1: Charleston

Serving the counties of Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam and Roane:

Barbara Schauland
115 Liberty Square
Hurricane, WV 25526

District 2: Clarksburg

Serving the counties of Barbour, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur:

Crystal Bennett
107 Cambridge Place
Bridgeport, WV 26330
Video Phone: 304-608-3710

District 3: Wheeling

Serving the counties of Brooke, Doddridge, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Pleasants, Ritchie, Tyler, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood:

Beth Lipscomb
Wheeling District Office
Central Union Building
40 14th Street, Suite 102
Wheeling, WV 26003

District 4: Beckley

Serving the counties of Braxton, Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers and Webster:

Alyce Almond
Beckley Branch Office
800 New River Town Center
Beckley, WV 25801
Video Phone: 304-944-0290

District 5: Huntington

Serving the counties of Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, McDowell, Wayne and Wyoming:

Sarah Lilly
Logan Branch Office
216 Dingess Street
Logan, WV 25601

District 6: Martinsburg

Serving the counties of Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton:

Barry Hill
Martinsburg District Office
489 Mid Atlantic Parkway, Suite 2
Martinsburg, WV 25404
Video Phone: 304-707-3039

Frequently Asked

I need a hearing aid and cannot afford one. Where can I get help?

If you are eligible for DRS services and you need a hearing aid to become employed or to stay independent in your home or community, your DRS counselor will talk with you about the best way to obtain a hearing aid.

If you are not eligible for DRS services (or if working is not your goal), you can contact these places to find out more about obtaining low-cost or no-cost hearing services:

  • The West Virginia Children’s Hearing Services Project can provide hearing aid services and supplies for children from birth to 18 years who lack insurance coverage and/or credible coverage for this benefit. Not eligible are children who have Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance, or commercial coverage that pays at least the Medicaid rate.
  • Kids First provides hearing aids and supplies for hearing-impaired children ages 3, 4, 5 or 6 who do not have insurance that covers this benefit.
  • Hear Now is a national non-profit program committed to assisting those permanently residing in the U.S. who are deaf or hard of hearing and have no other resources to acquire hearing aids.
  • Local civic groups sometimes sponsor projects to assist people with vision and hearing loss. In Kanawha County and all adjacent counties, for example, the Quota Club has recycled and repaired used hearing aids for more than 25 years, giving them to people in need. For information about their program, write:

    Quota Club International, Inc.
    P.O. Box 1055
    Charleston, WV 25324

    Nationwide, the Foundation for Sight and Sound, through its Help America Hear Program (HAH), provides hearing aids for men, women, and children with limited financial resources.

    Six West Virginia centers for independent living offer referral services and can sometimes arrange to purchase hearing aids for eligible individuals.

What if I need a sign language interpreter for a job interview?

Working through your rehabilitation counselor, the Division can arrange for an interpreter to assist you.

Does WVDRS pay for college or vocational training?

DRS is not a primary funding source for post-secondary education, but may assist with certain costs after the student has applied for scholarships and grants.

Can I work and keep my Social Security benefits?

The Social Security Administration has several incentive programs to help people who are receiving Social Security benefits go to work while not immediately affecting benefits. Learn more here.

Links to resources for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WVCDHH) — The mission of the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is to advocate for, and to develop and coordinate public policies, regulations, and programs to assure full and equal opportunity for, persons who are deaf and hard of hearing in West Virginia.
  • PEPnet — The goal of PEPNet is to assist U.S. colleges and universities to attract and effectively serve individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind provide students a specialized education environment where their unique skills are recognized and valued, they are given opportunities to experience success, and they feel part of a community in which they are encouraged to be lifelong learners.
  • West Virginia Relay Services is a free public service for telephone communication between standard (voice) users and persons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled using text telephones (TTYs) or personal computers via the Internet.
  • Video Relay Service (VRS) is a form of Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) that enables persons with hearing disabilities who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment, rather than through typed text.
  • CapTel® is short for Captioned Telephone. CapTel® users make calls just as if they were dialing a traditional phone. CapTel® uses voice recognition technology to display captions of the conversation on the telephone screen, allowing users to hear and read everything the person on the other line says.
  • West Virginia Hands & Voices is affiliated with the international non-profit parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • The West Virginia Association of the Deaf (WVAD) is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization which strives to promote the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in West Virginia. It is supported by membership dues and contributions, and affiliated with the National Association for the Deaf.
  • Gallaudet University is a bilingual, diverse multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English.
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf is the world's first and largest technological college for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is one of nine colleges of Rochester Institute of Technology, a privately endowed coeducational university that is student-centered and career-focused.