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Washington State Hearing Loss News
Legislative Update: Closer to Hearing Aid Private Insurance Coverage
House Bill 1222 is currently in the House Rules Committee waiting to be nominated for a floor vote. This bill would require private insurance to cover hearing aids and some related services.
- Help by emailing these members of the House Rules Committee and ask them to bring HB 122 to the floor–and then vote YES : firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senate Bill 5338 is currently in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee waiting for a public hearing. This bill aims to add hearing aids under Washington State’s Essential Benefits.
- Stay tuned for how you can help move this bill forward sometime after March 8, when House bills are more likely to be heard in the Senate.
Read more about this hearing loss advocacy movement, and the heroes–big and small–who are leading it, on our blog.
Thank you for your support of hearing-friendly legislation! YOU are making the difference in keeping these bills moving.
Local Advocates from HLAA-Whatcom County Featured in Presentation
Local hearing loss advocates Lou Touchette and Mike Sweeney will present to the HLAA-West Valley Chapter on March 14, 2023, at noon Pacific time. Find out more, including how to join via Zoom, on our blog.
Next HOPE Meeting: Next Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 4 pm Pacific
What can you do if someone has a hearing loss, but they’re reluctant to get tested? How do you hear better in a senior living situation?
Our Hearing Other People’s Experiences (HOPE) meetings are a safe, welcoming space where you can ask questions from your peers about anything and everything hearing loss and hearing tech.
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 relax, listen, and simply spend time with people who understand what it’s like to live with hearing loss.
Hearing-Friendly History Events Coming Up at MOHAI
At Seattle’s terrific Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), don’t miss these hearing-friendly, in-person events.
Upcoming programs with both CART captioning and ASL interpretation:
History Café: Creating a Hopeful Future for The Puget Sound on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 6:30pm
CART captioning will also be available at the following programs:
- Designing with Intention: Three Generations of Black Architects on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 7:00pm
Find more hearing-friendly things to do on our Events page. Remember to check back regularly, as we update that webpage at least monthly.
In Honor of Black History Month, We Salute Folks Helping People with Hearing Loss
Whether they’re working in schools, nonprofits, sports, advocacy groups, or other professions, many Black and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing/DeafBlind folks have made Washington State a better place for all of us.
Our Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff highlight some of these folks here, including Napal Tesfai of the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services, Bart Williams at Nexus Inland Northwest HSDC, and our current ODHH Division Director Earnest Covington III.
National Hearing Loss News
HLAA Convention Scholarship Applications Are Due March 15. Meet Us in New Orleans!
New Orleans is the place. Late June is the time. A fun, educational HLAA convention is the thing.
Senator John Fetterman Raises Awareness of Captions as a Needed Workplace Accommodation
Newly elected U.S. senator John Fetterman (D-PA) is using captions as an accommodation for an auditory processing disorder.
Fetterman is helping not only himself, but also others. By removing the stigma that surrounds communication access in the workplace, more people who need ADA-mandated communication access will feel empowered to ask for what they need.
We hope the technology he’s using–which includes an iPad with a speech-to-text app and a live caption display at his desk–becomes available for anyone else who needs it.
Thank you, Senator Fetterman, for helping the millions of people with hearing loss by courageously telling your story and asking for what you need to do your job.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: Right for You, or Downright Frustrating?
Walgreens offers an $800 hearing aid. Might it work for you…or not? Watch this story from WGN-TV in Chicago and learn why one patient chose a prescription hearing aid instead.
You can also check out hearing loss advocate Stephen O. Frazier’s story about his shopping trip to look for OTC hearing aids. (Hint: Frazier’s adventure didn’t turn out well.)
Have you found an OTC hearing aid that works for you? Let us know in comments below, or email us: email@example.com.
Hearing Loops Are the Leading Assistive Listening Option: Interviews with Juliette Sterkens, AuD
Have you tried a hearing loop? Or are you looking for places to go that have easy-to-use, discreet ways to hear better? Juliette Sterkens has a few wise words for you.
Sterkens, HLAA’s Get in the Hearing Loop spokeswoman, explains in an AccessiBe blog post why hearing loops are a terrific hearing access choice for venues of all types. You can watch an AccessiBe interview with her, too. She also discusses hearing loops in houses of worship in this article for the Christian Reformed Church.
Making Telehealth Accessible to People with Hearing Loss
Telehealth visits are often not accessible to people with hearing loss, even though miscommunication with a healthcare provider can be not only awkward, but also harmful.
At HLAA, Director of Advocacy Lise Hamlin understands the struggle. Along with HLAA’s Communication Access in Health Care (CAHC) program, she’s working on systemic changes to get equal access for people with hearing loss. Recently, they’ve been talking about voice-to-text technology with Google’s accessibility team and meeting with the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Help is on the way!
To follow this group’s terrific work, subscribe to their email list.
Updated Requirements Available for Hiring People with Hearing Loss
Employers, take note: Updated requirements for hiring and accommodating people with hearing loss are now in effect, thanks to an update from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The update includes the questions that employers can and can’t ask, technologies that qualify as reasonable accommodations, and more.
Join HLAA and HLAA-WA
Member benefits include product discounts, reduced convention registration fees, help with the latest hearing loss tech, and HLAA’s award-winning quarterly magazine, Hearing Life. Your HLAA membership automatically includes HLAA-Washington. Dues start at $45 a year.
HLAA-WA does not endorse any technology, nor does exclusion suggest disapproval. We support the full spectrum of hearing technologies for everyone.