Be a Hearing Health Advocate

Join in and make a positive difference

Color photo of a smiling woman with short hair and glasses. She's standing behind an event table with tabletop signs and brochures.

I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is to be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.

~ Maya Angelou

Creating social change

Sometimes advocacy speaks. Like asking for hearing accommodation at a public venue where you work, play, seek medical help, or pray.

Sometimes advocacy is putting pen to paper. Like emailing or writing your legislative representative to support a hearing health bill.

And sometimes advocacy whispers. Like signing a petition to ensure captions on virtual meeting platforms are free.

Loud or quiet, individual or collective, all advocacy contributes to creating laws and policies for hearing-friendly communities throughout Washington State.


Color photo of a smiling woman holding a hearing assistive device. She's standing next to a blue sign with the white ear and the letter T, the universal symbol for hearing access via hearing loop.

One of the greatest actions you can take to live well with hearing loss is to self-advocate. Being able to communicate your hearing needs can help you thrive in school, work, and life. HLAA-WA is committed to providing you with the information and support you need to gain communication access in all aspects of your life.

The added benefit? Every time you advocate for yourself — helping people solve hearing access problems — you help everyone with hearing loss gain greater access.

Check out our How to Ask for Hearing Help page for tips, information and legal resources.

HLAA also offers self-advocacy guides for specific purposes

Legislative advocacy

At the legislative and policy level, advocacy can impact the lives and well-being of millions of people with hearing loss. Remember life before the ADA? We sure do! Much of what we take for granted today — wheelchair ramps, hearing loops, Braille signs — didn’t exist a few generations ago. These changes only came about because of dedicated advocates who didn’t give up.

Color photo of a man in a suit signing a document. He's surrounded by other people dressed up and smiling. The State of Washington seal and the American and Washington State flags are behind them.

Governor Inslee signs the Telecoil-Bluetooth Consumer Education Bill into law, 2019. We were proud to advocate for this law that ensures people buying hearing aids are told about the components and technologies they need to connect their hearing aids to devices and to public assistive listening systems.

Communication access advocacy

Helping your community become more hearing-friendly is an extremely rewarding form of local advocacy. Participate in local meetings to raise awareness about hearing access. Ask a local venue or your place of worship to install a hearing loop. Your advocacy for communication access at public venues will help you and others with hearing loss participate equally. Maybe it’s your dad or sister, maybe a friend, or many people you will never meet.

Color photo of three people with gray hair. All are smiling and looking at the camera.
Longtime Washington State hearing loss advocates, Joanna and Jerry Olmstead and Don Gisher (l to r), are responsible for many of the hearing loops you’ll find in Whatcom County, north of Seattle.
Color photo of three people smiling and looking at the camera. One is holding blue signs with a white ear and the letter T, the universal symbol for hearing access via telecoil.
When the Burlington Library installed hearing loops after Jerry and Joanna requested hearing access, Librarian Maggie Buckholtz (center) was inspired to become a hearing loop evangelist herself.

Grassroots movements create an opportunity for everyone to have a voice in what our society looks like — it’s at the core of what democracy can and should be.

Shannon Frattaroli
John Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health

Advocacy is contagious!

It’s truly thrilling to help a law get passed, to see a venue get a hearing loop installed, or simply to summon the courage to ask for hearing help. We warmly invite you to join our advocacy efforts, even if your voice shakes, even if you’re just learning to speak out. We need every voice.

Help Our Efforts

Join our Legislative and Policy Advocacy Committee and participate in creating a hearing-friendly Washington State that helps us achieve our full potential

How to ask for Hearing Help

Asking for accommodations gets easier with practice and keeps us connected and active in the places where we live your lives

Advocate for Hearing Loops

HLAA-WA has a dedicated hearing loop advocacy program called Let’s Loop Seattle and HLAA has a national program, Get in the Hearing Loop