Hearing Loss Association of America Washington State

Our Mission
To open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support, and advocacy.

Our Vision
All aspects of life will be accessible to people with hearing loss.

We’re dedicated to helping people with hearing loss live their best lives. We provide support and hearing technology education. And we remove barriers, encourage communication access, and advocate for a world that allows everyone to participate equally, regardless of their ability to hear.

Your HLAA membership automatically includes membership to HLAA-Washington.

We’d love it if you joined us.

News & Events

Captions Are Immediately Needed For Video and Meeting Platforms

For people with hearing loss to work from home, watch videos, and participate in online events and meetings, captions aren’t optional–they’re required. Yet captions aren’t automatic on most virtual platforms–most require an add-on program that’s complicated and confusing.

During the COVID-19 era, people with hearing loss are even more at risk of isolation and loneliness. Many are working from home or trying to reach out to friends and family via platforms like Zoom. Zoom captions are an optional add-in, but they cost $200 and require some technical expertise to install. All of which places an unrealistic and unfair burden on people with hearing loss, says HLAA Board Member and hearing loss advocate Shari Eberts.

The Hearing Loss Association of America supports free access to captioning for people with hearing loss to support social engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read HLAA’s position paper here.

And of course, HLAA-WA and Let’s Loop Seattle support technologies, including loops and captions, to keep people connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

You can help!

If you’d like to sign the petition to get free captions on virtual platforms, click here.

If you need help finding and turning on captions, visit Theater Development Fund’s guide, “How to Turn on Captions for Online Performances.”

Current E-News from HLAA-WA, November 20, 2020

  • Hearing dogs lending an ear
  • Hearing loss on KOMO news
  • Dr. David G. Myers’s talk now on video
  • Race and hearing loss
  • Rise to the HLAA Challenge Grant
  • How to participate in a study on hearing loss and music perception
  • Leasing a hearing aid?
  • What better captions would look like

Read the e-news online here.

 Subscribe to our e-news here. It’s free, and we never sell your information.

Hearing Aid Coverage in Washington State

Will Washington State insurers soon be required to cover hearing aids under the ACA guidelines?

Maybe. A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision (Schmitt v. Kaiser) could result in hearing aids be mandated as “essential health benefits.” The case has been sent back to trial court to decide if excluding hearing aid coverage predominately impacts people with disabilities, according to attorney and hearing loss advocate John Waldo, writing with Trevor Finneman in the HLAA-California September 2020 newsletter.

Read Waldo and Finneman’s update, which includes analysis of how a 1985 Supreme Court decision may play a role in the next ruling.

Coronavirus and Hearing Loss

20% of the population has hearing loss, many of them older adults who may be susceptible to COVID-19 and may also be less adaptable to the changes that are coming quickly. Here are some tools to help: Coronavirus and Hearing Loss.

Newest Edition of Sound Waves

Sound Waves is our award-winning quarterly printed newsletter, currently on hiatus. The most recent issue is below. Please click here for Sound Wave archives.

Sound Waves Fall 2019

City of Seattle Enacts TV Caption Ordinance

On April 15, the City of Seattle enacted an ordinance that, when it takes effect, will require televisions in places of public accommodation have captions turned on.  This will benefit those with hearing loss as well as people with other reasons to need visual support for what is being said.  Read the ordinance here.

Buying Hearing Aids in Washington
(What to expect)

Our new and updated flyer Buying Hearing Aids in Washington (What to expect) is now published.