Authorized in October 2001, the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing began operation in July 2002 (Chapter 537, Acts of 2001).

[photo, 100 Community Place, Crownsville, Maryland] The Office advocates for and promotes the general welfare of individuals in Maryland who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf and blind. In doing so, it provides, advocates, and coordinates the adoption of public policies, regulations, and programs that will benefit these individuals. The latest federal census of 2020 indicates that 1.2 million Marylanders are deaf or hard of hearing in at least one ear.

For persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf and blind, the Office seeks to improve access to communication, services, and programs; works with State and local agencies to ensure access to safety and emergency services; and strives to increase access to educational, health and social opportunities.

100 Community Place, Crownsville, Maryland, July 2016. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Formerly located at 217 East Redwood Street, Baltimore, the Office moved to 100 Community Place, Crownsville, on June 1, 2016.

Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Director heads the Office (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-2401 through 9-2407). The Director administers the Sign Language Interpreters Fund.

Under the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters. The Office is assisted by the Maryland Advisory Council on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

In October 2023, the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters was authorized within the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by the General Assembly (Chapters 269 & 270, Acts of 2023).

The Board licenses and regulates sign language interpreters in Maryland.

Appointed to two-year terms by the Governor, the Board consists of seven members. The Chair is chosen by the Board.

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