jury duty


I had an embarrassing situation when I tried to get assistive listening devices after being called to jury duty. I was impressed that the jury questionnaire had a box to check if you needed assistive listening devices. But when I got to the jury room no one knew what they are. I kept asking if they had been found, but by the time I was called to the courtroom none had been located.

In the courtroom as the judge was about to describe the case I asked about the ALD so I could understand her explanation. She called the clerk over, and everyone had to sit and wait for 15 minutes before the clerk returned with an ALD. I was then dismissed even tho’ I hadn’t indicated that I wanted to be excused.

I asked on my chapter email if anyone had been bumped when they asked for an ALD. Seven people replied. Six had been bumped. Only one had actually served and she said it was awful because the sound kept cutting in and out.

The Hearing Life magazine had a story about a similar incident in California that led to the US Attorney enforcing the ADA. Any experience in other places? Is this an issue the HLAA could look into?

Carol Agate
Boston chapter

Lise Hamlin

Getting accommodations for people with hearing loss for jury duty has been an issue for a very long time. See this article by Brenda Battat, former executive director of HLAA, written back in 2011: https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/Battat_Column_MarApr_2011_HLM.pdf?pdf=2011-hlm-mp-bbattat NY State, which does not have any automatic exemptions, has a brochure that includes a brief look at case law regarding jury duty for people with disabilites. https://ww2.nycourts.gov/sites/default/files/document/files/2018-08/jurors-w-disabilities02-03-14-1.pdf 

Inclusion of people with disabilities in jury duty is covered under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, so you can file a complaint with the US Department of Justice. How to File an ADA Complaint 

You can also do some local investigating and education the local court system - in fact, you have already started. The local court system should hear about what you have learned so far. It may be a long process of finding the right people and how to make change happen, but your actions could result in a more enlightened court view of accommodating people with hearing loss. 

Thanks, Carol for starting this thread. If others have had experiences in jury duty or finding ways to ensure the court provides accommodations, please do chime in.


Thanks, Lise. Do you have the date issue that included the results of the survey Brenda mentions?

Lise Hamlin


The July/August 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine had the results of that survey. Unfortunately, at that time we did not post all the articles on line. Send me an email and I'll send what we do have from that survey LHamlin@...