Our Latest News, April 9, 2024

Madonna goes inclusive, highlights of our annual meeting, help for sleeping better with tinnitus, and more.

Washington State Hearing Loss News

Annual Meeting and Awards Show We’re Stronger Together

Thank you to everyone who made our annual meeting a wonderful success this year! It was energizing and inspiring to connect with you all.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors ODHH, Dr. Chad Ruffin, and Spencer Norby.

Kudos to the many behind-the-scenes volunteers who made this event possible.


Come Meet Us at Outreach Events

As part of our community education program, we’re sending our outreach team to a location near you. Come see us, say hi, grab some information, ask questions about hearing loss, and find out how we can help you.

If you’d like representatives from HLAA-WA to participate at a community group or event, please contact us: hope@hearingloss-wa.org.

color photo of two women and a man standing behind a table filled with brochures.

Looking for Peer Support for Your Hearing Loss?

Several support groups are available to you here in Washington State, including online (HOPE), Whatcom County, Renton, and Panorama in Lacey. Visit our website for more information and ideas, or read on below.


HLAA-Whatcom County Meeting
April 20, 2024

Meet Jess Taluth, Field Representative from Dogs for Better Lives, at the next HLAA-Whatcom County chapter meeting.

The award-winning HLAA-Whatcom County Chapter meets the third Saturday of every month at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2600 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, Washington. Social time starts at 9:30 am and the meeting runs from 10:00 – 11:30 am. Live CART is provided and the room is looped. Everyone is welcome.

color photo of golden retriever or yellow lab, blurred green grass in background

Renton Hearing Loss Support Group
Friday, April 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.

graphic with purple background and color photo of woman with white hair. she's wearing a bright blue top. text reads hearing loss help, renton support group, april 12, 2024, 1 to 2:15 pm, renton senior activity center

Next HOPE Meeting: May 1, 2024
Guest Speaker: Cynthia Moynihan, “Life with a Hearing Dog”

Our May meeting features an opportunity to learn about hearing dogs from our special guest speaker, Cynthia Moynihan. Cynthia is also a Gallaudet-trained peer mentor for people with hearing loss.

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.

Get Excited: The Seattle Rep Announces Their
2024-2025 Season

The very hearing-friendly Seattle Rep Theater has announced their 2024-2025 Season. The Rep has hearing loops throughout their three theaters and at the ticket windows, concierge, and concessions. Also, some shows are captioned. You can check out receivers and headphones at coat check.

  • The Skin of Our Teeth, September 26 – October 20, 2024
  • Primary Trust, October 24 – November 24, 2024
  • Blithe Spirit, November 29 – December 22, 2024
  • Blues for an Alabama Sky, January 30 – February 23, 2025

Subscriptions are now available. Single-show tickets will be on sale soon.

Remember, you can always find hearing-friendly events all across Washington State on the events page of our website.

orange and blue color graphic with a photo of a woman in costume lifting one arm. she's holding a jar. text reads seattle rep 2024 2024 season.

National Hearing Loss News

Latest Hearing Life Magazine Features Tech, Tech, and More Tech

How is artificial intelligence working to help people with hearing loss? What’s the latest must-have hearing technology for workplace accommodations?

HLAA’s quarterly magazine, Hearing Life, has answers.

silver and white graphic with tech and human head suggesting a high-tech space-age world. text reads hearing life magazne spring 2024 the magaine for people with hearing loss, AI and other hearing technology advancements

Madonna Goes Inclusive

Madonna was everywhere in the 80s and 90s and she’s still making audiences dance — including Deaf audience members — on her latest tour.

In this blog post from Deaffriendly Consulting, Melissa Greenlee explains why Madonna’s “Celebration” tour became a “milestone for the Seattle Deaf community.” This concert included two ASL interpreters and performances by Deaf performer Russell Harvard.

For an example of how powerful an experience this can be, you can watch Russell Harvard interpret and perform Madonna’s “I’ll Remember” in this video. We could watch Russell for hours, honestly.

Pssst: Hey, Madonna, how about a hearing loop and captioned performances next?

color photo of pop music star madonna with golden shoulder-length hair

How to Sleep Better with Your Tinnitus

Tinnitus can sound even louder and be even more bothersome when you’re lying in bed trying to sleep.

On Doctor Cliff’s YouTube channel, audiologist Rachel Cook shares some advice on getting a good night’s sleep with your tinnitus. It starts with a “detox” 2-4 hours before bed.

color photo of young girl with long brown hair; focus is on her  ear, which is shaded red to show pain

Find a Walk4Hearing to Cheer and Support

While we don’t yet have a Walk4Hearing here in Washington State, there are many such walks all across the country. You can find one to cheer, share, and donate to.

Proceeds from Walk4Hearing events go to HLAA and to the local or state organization and ultimately, to help people with hearing loss thrive.

color photo of people smiling in the sunshine; they are wearing flower leis

School Bus Driver Is Gifted Hearing Aids

In Akron, Ohio, a school bus driver loves his job helping autistic kids get to school. Plus, he also cares for his grandchildren. He needed help hearing them clearly, though.

Read the story of how he can hear the kids in his life much better, thanks to a gift of hearing aids.

color photo of hands holding hearing aid

Hearing Loops & Telecoils Spotlight

Public-Access Ready Hearing Aids: The Past, Present, and Future

Hearing aids can connect you to people, and also — with a little tech help — connect to public assistive listening systems and to phones, computers, and tablets. To easily use public assistive listening systems like hearing loops, you need “public access ready” hearing aids with telecoils — and systems like hearing loops.

In this thoughtful HearingReview article from Thomas Kaufmann, AuD, find out more, and learn why Auracast ALS isn’t quite public-access ready yet.

color photo of hearing loop sign outside a meeting room


Stay Involved with HLAA and HLAA-WA

We’re glad you’re part of our community.

What more can you do to support people with hearing loss here and across the country?

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

Stronger Together: Raising Our Community’s Voice

color photo of a group of award winners at the front of a meeting/event room

Stronger together: That was the theme of our annual meeting and awards luncheon on March 23, 2024.

To truly bring everyone together meant planning our first fully accessible, hearing-friendly, hybrid meeting. That’s no easy task. Imagine a dozen moving parts, sixty people who needed to hear and to be heard, an unfamiliar venue in Auburn, and the evolving technology and tech skills needed to support it all.

Thanks to the efforts and talents of so many people, it all went beautifully! And no one had to ask for access.

“Asking for access is a barrier to access,” said Cheri Perazzoli, HLAA-WA president. “People with hearing loss may be reluctant to ask for help hearing. Or they may not even know what kind of access is available to them.” To remove the “ask” and ensure everyone, including members of the Deaf community, could participate equally, HLAA-WA arranged for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in person and online, plus online and in-person live captioning, and a temporary hearing loop in the meeting room at Green River College.

This communication access helps us connect not only with one another, but also with communities we support and who support us. By drawing strength and learning from these connections, we can become even more empowered to advocate for ourselves and others.

Our awards this year in particular celebrated both the hearing loss community and our many connections across Washington State, such as ODHH, HSDC, and the Washington State Senior Lobby.

Our HLAA-WA 2024 Awards

Outstanding Community Service
Laura Gramer, HSDC
Doug Sladen, AuD, Western Washington University
Christine Griffin, Hands & Voices

Legislative Impact
Representative Tina Orwall
Jill Bujnevicie, Let Washington Hear
Cynthia Stewart, HLAA-WA Legislative Liaison

Rising Star
Hugo Esterhay

Heart to Heart
The HOPE Crew:
Kimberly Parker
Carolyn Odio
Glenda Philio
Jerry Paulukonis
Erlene VanDerMeer
Devin Myers

Community Connections (Outreach)
Rick Faunt
Sandy Bunning
Glenda Philio
Bev Ziarko
Diana Thompson
HLAA-Whatcom County

Our award winner, guest speaker, and all-around hearing loss heroine Rep. Tina Orwall updated us on hearing loss legislation in the Washington State Legislature. Several members mentioned how important it was to improve open captions at movies–sometimes, caption glasses or tablets simply don’t work, and many of the current open caption movies are at inconvenient times (like the middle of a Tuesday). Attendees also gave Rep. Orwall excellent suggestions, such as improving hearing access at SeaTac Airport, which she promised to work on as much as possible. We’ll continue to work with Rep. Orwall and other legislators on issues that are important to hearing loss.

So many people deserve huge kudos and our enthusiastic gratitude for making this day a success. THANK YOU to the folks below and to all who attended, cheered, and connected.

  • Ann Thomas and Alan Katsura, technical experts extraordinaire from HLAA-Diablo Valley, our “sister” chapter, who we rely on regularly for help
  • Tech and event staff at Green River College. We can’t recommend GRC highly enough as an event venue. They patiently and skillfully worked with us every step of the way.
  • The many volunteers and members who hustled behind the scenes: Heather Patrick, Carolyn Odio, Glenda Philio, Rick Faunt, Sandy Bunning, and JoAnne Dyer.
  • Our generous sponsors:
    • Dr. Chad Ruffin, for treating us to lunch. Dr. Ruffin hosts an open online meeting for people with hearing loss each month.
    • Spencer Norby, who designed and installed the temporary hearing loop.
    • The Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ODHH, who sponsored our ASL interpreters.
  • The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center, who sent us three indefatigable ASL interpreters
  • Special guests from the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), who gave their time to us on a Saturday: Earnest Covington III, Maggie Campbell, and Morgan Jerico

You can watch our annual meeting slide show here. Stay tuned for a video of the meeting on our YouTube Channel, too.

Our Latest News, March 19, 2024

A star hearing loss advocate wows with a TED talk, a big local legal victory with national implications, and more.

Washington State Hearing Loss News

Last Chance to Register for Our Annual Meeting Online

THIS SATURDAY, March 23, 2024

There’s still time to register to attend our annual meeting via Zoom. Our in-person event is fully booked, but you can still attend online.

We have awards, updates, and a chance for you to connect with Rep. Tina Orwall, our greatest ally in the Washington State legislature. After the meeting, our board will meet, and you’re welcome to join.

Remember, all activities in-person and online are fully hearing accessible with ASL interpreters, live captions, and a hearing loop.

Read more about the day’s festivities on our blog.

If you’ve already registered, thank you! We look forward to seeing you in person or online.

crystal stall award with deep blue background


Looking for In-Person Support for Your Hearing Loss?

Several support groups are available to you here in Washington State, including online (HOPE), Whatcom County, Renton, and Panorama in Lacy. Visit our website for more information and ideas, or read on below.


HLAA-Whatcom County Meeting
April 20, 2024

Meet Jess Taluth, Field Representative from Dogs for Better Lives, at the next HLAA-Whatcom County chapter meeting.

The award-winning HLAA-Whatcom County Chapter meets the third Saturday of every month at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2600 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, Washington. Social time starts at 9:30 am and the meeting runs from 10:00 – 11:30 am. Live CART is provided and the room is looped. Everyone is welcome.

color photo of golden retriever or yellow lab, blurred green grass in background

Renton Hearing Loss Support Group
Friday, April 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.

graphic with purple background and color photo of woman with white hair. she's wearing a bright blue top. text reads hearing loss help, renton support group, april 12, 2024, 1 to 2:15 pm, renton senior activity center

Next HOPE Meeting: April 3, 2024

Telehealth captions and finding help with auditory training after cochlear implant surgery were two of the topics we discussed at our March HOPE virtual support meeting.

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.

Hearing-Accessible Events Coming Up in
Mount Vernon

The beautiful vintage Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon is LOOPED. That means you can enjoy lots of events by turning your hearing aid or CI to T or telecoil mode to hear more clearly. Coming up…

  • April 4, 2024 – Jake Shimabukuro, live in concert
  • April 26, 2024 – Best of the Seattle Comedy Competition
  • May 5, 2024 – Villalobos Brothers Cinco de Mayo, live in concert
  • September 19, 2024 – Hot Tuna, 60s band with Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, live in concert

The Lincoln also shows movies several times a week. We didn’t see any open-caption shows mentioned, but you can call and request them.

Remember, you can find hearing-friendly events all across Washington State on the events page of our website.

color painting of an old time building. sign reads 1926, lincoln theater

National Hearing Loss News

Local Legal Victory May Have BIG National Impact, and You May Have a Claim

In a legal victory for people with hearing loss, a lack of coverage for hearing aids may violate the Affordable Care Act’s antidiscrimination provision, according to a recent settlement in the Schmitt v. Kaiser lawsuit here in Washington State. And you may be eligible to file a claim.

Thanks to local and national lawyers and advocates, a $3 million settlement fund has been established. If you were covered under certain Kaiser Foundation Health Plans in Washington State between October 30, 2014 and December 31, 2023, and you paid out of pocket for hearing aids or related services, you may be eligible to file a claim.

Read more about how to file a claim, why this may have broader implications for insurance coverage, and more in this excellent summary from HLAA.

A special thank you to John Waldo for his leadership in this lawsuit. John passed away recently. We’re imagining him smiling down on this huge win.

The deadline to file a claim is April 2, 2024, so don’t wait.

color photo of a judge's gavel, gold scales representing justice blurred in the background

Registration Is Open for the HLAA National Convention This Summer

Sunshine and resort luxury join the usual wonderful combination of friendship and learning at the HLAA convention, June 26-29, 2024, at the Sheraton Grand Resort at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona.

Shanna Adamic will be the keynote speaker. The research symposium will focus on the emotional side of hearing loss. And that’s just the start of all the terrific opportunities. Will we see you there?

color photo of a southwest-style hotel, swimming pool, and lake. puffy clouds and blue sky above

How Can You Enjoy and Play Music with a Hearing Loss?

Video from the 2023 convention symposium is now available

Music is important to nearly everyone, and losing the ability to appreciate or play music can be a tremendous loss. But there’s hope.

At the HLAA convention last summer, the research symposium focused on the joy of music and loving your ears. Topics included listening safely to music, preventing hearing loss whether you’re a listener or a performer, and perceiving music when you have cochlear implants. You can watch the series of symposium videos on the HLAA website.

illustration of musical notes

Are AirPods About to Become Hearing Aids?

Apple’s AirPods Pro already have some hearing-aid-adjacent type of functions, but these devices may go even further with the next iOS 18 update via an “official hearing aid mode.”

How do you use your AirPods Pro to hear better? We’d love your feedback. Your tech insight may help others: webmaster@hearingloss-wa.org.

close up of white earbuds with blue background

Hearing Loops & Telecoils Spotlight

What You Don’t Know About Hearing Aids

You can learn a lot from Juliette Sterkens.

Hearing aids can help you hear, but tips, tricks, and tech can change your life. And there’s no better messenger on the subject of hearing aids, assistive tech, and hearing loss than Juliette Sterkens, spokeswoman for HLAA’s Get in the Hearing Loop program.

Juliette’s incredible, passionate TEDx Oshkosh talk has already earned over 183,000 views and almost 400 comments. We encourage you to watch the video, like and comment, and share with everyone you know. It’s that good.

color photo of a woman with short white hair in a bright red dress. she looks excited and is sitting on the edge of a stage. in the background, a large sign reads Ted X Oshkosh


Stay Involved with HLAA and HLAA-WA

We’re glad you’re part of our community.

What more can you do to support people with hearing loss here and across the country?

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

Notes from Our March 2024 HOPE Meeting

If you missed our March 2024 HOPE virtual hearing loss support meeting, here are the notes. Our topics included getting successful telehealth captions (!) and finding help with auditory training after cochlear implant surgery.

You can read more about our HOPE program here. Notes from HOPE meetings are always available on our blog shortly after the meeting.

Captions for Telehealth Appointments: A Victory!
Patience, persistence, and perseverance paid off for one attendee who needed captions for her telehealth appointments. After complaining to many people and drawing upon HLAA and all her resources, the attendee drafted a formal letter. The letter stated she was a person with a hearing disability and she needed captions for the appointments, but she was being discriminated against. In the letter, she asked the provider to use a platform that included captions, and the clinic did so! If you’d like to see a copy of her successful letter, please let us know: webmaster@hearingloss-wa.org.

Follow-Up Note: Starting September 3, 2024, all video platforms and video conferencing, including telehealth, will be required to have built-in accessibility features. Read more about the new rule here

Video of Dr. Chad Ruffin at Panorama
Dr. Chad Ruffin, local ENT surgeon and CI recipient, spoke to the hearing loss support group led by Carolyn Odio at Panorama in Lacey. His topics included hearing loss, hearing aids, and cochlear implants. You can watch the video of Dr. Ruffin’s presentation on YouTube.

A Light-Up Doorbell and a Helpful College Student
A nursing student from Green River College visited a couple attendees who live at Aegis Assisted Living. The student, who is deaf, wanted to help Deaf and hard-of-hearing people by explaining their rights and helping them advocate. The attendee didn’t hear the doorbell when the student entered, so the student suggested a doorbell that lights up. The attendee was pleased to learn they can simply request the doorbell.

Jury Duty Accommodation Concerns
An attendee was called for jury duty and expressed her concerns about how to serve without hearing accommodations. Some group members suggested possibly being released from jury duty; others suggested that they’ve wanted to request accommodations but had no way to do so. 

Concerns with Adjusting a Cochlear Implant at the Opera
While at the opera, an attendee was reluctant to pull out his phone to adjust the volume on his CI during the performance. He was concerned that the light would distract others in the audience. The group suggested dimming the phone background, using reverse contrast on the screening, and learning to adjust the CI manually/tactically.

Help and Guidance for Cochlear Implants
An attendee asked the group for advice on listening exercises after he received his cochlear implant. The group suggested using Bluetooth with a smartphone.

Note: Some auditory training programs can be done on the computer; here’s a list from HLAA.

Training in American Sign Language
An attendee asked for information on learning ASL. The group suggested LifePrint

Resort-Style Fun and Learning Awaits You at the Sunny HLAA Convention

Find friendship, inspiration and support for your hearing loss, and relaxation in Phoenix this summer

photo/text graphic: color photo of phoenix with mountains in back and cacti in front. text reads join us for the hlaa 2024 convention, phoenix, AZ, june 26 through the 29, 2024

The emotional side of hearing loss, an inspirational speaker, workshops on finding your hearing loss community, and more hearing loss programs await you at the Sheraton Grand Resort at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona, June 26-29, 2024.

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the indigenous culture of the Gila River Indian community, visit the spa, play golf, swim, ride a horse, and enjoy authentic Native American cuisine.

Sounds like a can’t-miss, kinda luxurious, really valuable opportunity to us. Will we see you there?