New Board Member, Annual Meeting, and More News
January 9, 2024

A new board member, our annual meeting and awards, and more hearing loss news from Washington State and across the country.

Washington State Hearing Loss News

Mark Your Calendars: HLAA-WA Annual Meeting & Awards, March 23, 2024

We’re planning an exciting annual meeting and awards ceremony this year at Green River College in Auburn. Rep. Tina Orwall will be our special guest. This hybrid online/in-person event will be hearing friendly, of course. Watch for more details and registration information.

Welcome to Our New Board Member

We’re excited to welcome Becky Montgomery, our new board member.

A former tech writer and accessibility expert, Becky accepted a 3-year term beginning in 2024. Read her brief bio on our “Our People” webpage.

Scholarship Opportunities for Teens with Hearing Loss

Do you know a graduating senior with hearing loss who’s headed for college or trade school? If they live in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, or San Juan County, let them know about scholarships from the amazing folks at HLAA-Whatcom County.

Meet Your Peers and Find In-Person Support
Friday, January 12, 2024

You’re invited to our in-person Renton Support Group meeting. This group meets the second Friday of each month (except July and August) at 1 pm at the Renton Senior Activity Center, 211 Burnett Avenue North in Renton. No need to register; simply check in at the front desk.

This group is led by our award-winning HLAA-WA secretary Glenda Philio. A hearing loop is available, and everyone is welcome. Always free.

Washington State Legislature 2024 Session: Update

One bill we’re watching during the legislative session: House Bill 2221, which would establish an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter work group. The bill, introduced by Rep. Tina Orwall, would be a step toward addressing the huge ASL interpreter shortage in our state. Check out the Community Coalition for WA Interpreters to learn more.

Last year, our state legislature came through for us on key legislation to get hearing aid coverage for many group private insurance policies. Hearing aid insurance coverage through some employers, unions, and associations began January 1, 2024. If you have a story about this legislation helping your access to hearing health and hearing aids, we’d love to hear from you:

Next HOPE Meeting: February 7, 2024

How can you advocate for yourself at a restaurant? How can you hear better during telehealth appointments?
Is pain after cochlear implant surgery normal? These are some of the topics we discussed at our January 2024 HOPE meeting (click on the link to read the meeting notes)

At our February meeting, we’ll welcome Dr. Meghan Nightingale, who will talk with us about tinnitus, dementia, and hearing loss. Dr. Nightingale is an audiologist at Peninsula Hearing in Poulsbo, Washington.

Facilitated by a caring, compassionate HOPE Crew, these monthly virtual meetings are free, live-captioned, and open to everyone with hearing loss and to their friends and family. You’re welcome to ask questions, and also to simply relax, listen, and spend time with people who understand what it’s like to live with hearing loss.

We hope you can join us at this meeting.

National Hearing Loss News

Hear Your TV Better

It’s not your imagination: Understanding dialogue on your television really has gotten harder for everyone, including for people with good hearing. But if you have hearing loss or wear hearing aids, the struggle to hear TV dialogue clearly is even worse.

In this article in Hearing Life, you can find some ideas to help you hear better, like turning on your television’s sound enhancer or dialogue boost feature and buying and installing a good sound bar.

Hearing Aid Charms from a Charming 9-Year-Old Girl

Audrey Brown is only nine years old, but this cancer survivor (!) is making hearing aids glamorous and fun for herself and other kids. She’s making sparkly charms to match her sparkly personality.

Don’t miss this sweet story of a girl with hearing loss helping others.

Learn to Lipread

Our friends at Hearing Loss LIVE! offer online lipreading classes at a very affordable price. Classes are taught in a live format, and the next session starts in February. Find a date and time for a lipreading class that works for you.

Hearing Loops & Telecoils Spotlight

What’s a Telecoil?
Do I Still Need One in My Hearing Aid?

A telecoil is a tiny feature in your hearing aid or CI that connects you to assistive listening systems. Best of all, a telecoil connects wirelessly, easily, and discreetly to a hearing loop in a public venue.

We often get asked whether we still need telecoils, considering that emerging technologies like Auracast Bluetooth LE Audio and Wi-Fi systems may be coming. The answer is YES, you still need telecoils! Hearing loops will be with us for years, at least decade or longer. You don’t want to miss out by waiting for the next technology. Loops are available to you now at venues around the world.

Ask your audiologist about telecoils in your hearing aids. Many hearing aids have telecoils, but they do need to be programmed and activated. And you need to turn your hearing aid to T or Telecoil mode to connect to a public hearing loop.

Happy New Year!

We have big plans for 2024. Join our efforts by visiting our Get Involved webpage.

Become a member of HLAA and HLAA-WA or renew your membership online.

HLAA-WA does not endorse any technology, nor does exclusion suggest disapproval. We support the full spectrum of hearing technologies for everyone. As an all-volunteer run organization, 100% of every dollar donated is directed to our programs. HLAA-WA is an IRS non-profit 501(c)(3) organization; all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by relevant IRS code.

Related Posts

Bill to Require Private Insurers to Cover Kids’ Hearing Aids Will Not Move Forward in 2021

Poster with photo on left of dark-skinned little girl with natural hair laughing. On the right, text reads Let Washington Kids Hear, Support the Twenty Twenty One Washington State Children's Hearing Aid Bill. Bottom is a logo reading HLAA, Hearing Loss Association of America Washington State Association.

UPDATE February 24, 2021 – Call to action by March 5, 2021: Email your representatives and ask them to support the budget proviso from Rep. Emily Wicks. This proviso would provide $75,000 for the OIC to perform an accurate cost analysis, which will help lawmakers make an informed vote in 2022.

Remember to stress how hearing aids are important for children’s education, socialization, and overall health, and that hearing aids aren’t affordable for many families. Lawmakers will be “on the floor” the week of March 1, 2021, so this would be a good time to contact your representatives. Read more on our website about this proviso, courtesy of Cynthia Stewart.

December 18, 2020 – A bill introduced in the 2021 Washington State Legislature will require private insurers to cover hearing aids for children and adolescents.

When kids can’t hear well, their language development, social skills, and school performance are harmed. Hearing aids make all the difference, but one in five families can’t afford hearing aids for their children, according to the Better Hearing Institute.

Visit our Advocacy page to find out how YOU can help these vulnerable children learn better and thrive.