HLAA-WA E-News March 28, 2023

Washington State Hearing Loss News

Welcome to our March 28, 2023 e-news.

Legislative Update: One Bill Passed, One More to Go!

Senate Bill 5338 passed the full legislature! Next stop: Governor Inslee’s desk. This is an exciting victory for many people with hearing loss in Washington State.

This bill aims to make hearing aids part of the State of Washington’s Essential Benefits Plan, so that Washington State Health Benefit Exchange insurance plans must provide coverage for hearing instruments and related care.

Next, House Bill 1222 is being sent for a full Senate vote.

If passed, HB 1222 will join 5338 on the governor’s desk. House Bill 1222 would mandate hearing aid insurance coverage by group health plans offered by employers, unions, and associations.

We need both bills to pass. Together, SB 5338 and HB 1222 help the largest number of people with hearing loss by providing equitable coverage for hearing instruments across all health insurance options.

What You Can Do Now: Help the Final Push for HB 1222

  • Please make sure your senator knows you’d like them to vote YES when 1222 comes for a full Senate vote.* If it’s helpful, cut and paste the following statement into your email:

    Please vote YES on HB 1222. This bill has received extraordinary bipartisan support throughout the legislative process. HB 1222 will help hundreds of thousands of children and adults living with hearing loss and will save Washington State billions of dollars in healthcare costs due to untreated hearing loss.

THANK YOU for staying committed to getting these bills passed. Your enthusiasm has helped all along the way. We’re almost there!

Read more about this hearing loss advocacy movement, and the heroes — big and small — who are leading the way, on our blog.

right side: color photo of man with dark hair and beard putting a hearing aid in his ear. Left side reads support hearing aid insurance coverage in Washington State, HB 1222, SSB 5338

Three-part photo that shows fire safety equipment for people with hearing loss. One photo reads safe awake, one reads FIRE.

Free Emergency Alerting Devices from the American Red Cross

Residents of Washington and Idaho can receive free bed shakers, strobes, and fire alarms from the American Red Cross. These safety devices are designed people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Simply request the bed shaker and strobe along when you request a fire alarm at the American Red Cross website.

Thank you to the American Red Cross for this terrific program, and kudos to Jim House for the news tip.


More Open-Captioned Shows at Seattle Film Festival Theaters

All Tuesday showtimes and Sunday matinee shows at Seattle’s year-round SIFF Cinema Uptown and SIFF Cinema Egyptian will now have open captions. Thank you, SIFF.

Assistive listening devices will be available when open captioning is not. See the venue manager for help.

color photo of a movie theater with red seats, taken from below. the words open caption run across the photo.

Graphic with five headshots in circles, four women and one man. Text reads HSDC, we miss you

Open House at the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC), March 30, 2023

Meet the staff at HSDC, take a tour, and find out how they can help you on March 30, 2023, 4-6pm.

HSDC offers audiology services, classes, interpretive services, meeting space, and much more. The open house is at their Seattle office at 1625 19th Avenue. You can RSVP at rsvp@hsdc.org or 206-323-5770.

At HSDC, providers don’t bundle their services with available hearing aids for sale. This model is unique among audiology clinics and can save you money on purchasing hearing instruments. HSDC also occasionally provides low-cost, refurbished hearing aids to community members in need.

We’re happy to partner with HSDC to support people with hearing loss across Washington State.


Watch Our Empowerment Series Webinar

The video of our March 15 webinar, “Ask for the Hearing Access You Need,” is now on our YouTube Channel. When you watch the video, be sure to “like” it, leave an encouraging comment, and subscribe to our channel.

Thank you to star presenter Ann Thomas and to tech wizard Alan Katsura for their help.

Three-part graphic. Right side is line drawing of two people with a tangled string between them, signifying a communication breakdown. Left side reads communication access, everyone gets the message. Bottom reads know your rights, ask for what you need.

Next HOPE Meeting: Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 4 pm Pacific

How can I gently (indirectly?) encourage my spouse to get a hearing exam? Can I still listen to loud music when I have a hearing loss? These are two of the questions we talked about at our March 2023 HOPE meeting.

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.


Color photo of a smiling man in a gray suit, white shirt, and black tie

Meet Earnest Covington III, ODHH Director, at Meetings Around Washington State

The Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is hosting meetings around Washington State. Join one of the in-person meetings below and get to know Earnest, plus find out how ODHH might help you and others with hearing loss.

Saturday, April 8th, 2023

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Olympia Senior Center
Multipurpose Room B
222 Columbia Street NW
Olympia, Washington 98501

Saturday, June 10th, 2023

1:00 to 3:00 pm

Tacoma Public Library
Anna Lemon Wheelock Branch
3722 North 26th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407

Deaf interpreters, American Sign Language interpreters, a hearing loop system, and CART (live captions) will be provided.


National Hearing Loss News

Mary Louise Kelly, NPR Reporter, Is Not Shy About Her Hearing Loss


In this Washington Post interview, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly opens up about her hearing loss, including her frustrations, how she copes, and the grace she brings to her job and her life.

Kelly also has a new book, It. Goes. So. Fast: The Year of No-Do-Overs, coming out in April. In her book, she talks about the challenges of parenting while dealing with a hearing loss.

color photo of a smiling woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. she is looking up and to the right

Color photo of the Presbytere in New Orleans at dusk.

Don’t Miss the Lineup of Fun Events at the 2023 HLAA Convention

Connect with old friends, make new ones, and enjoy yourself at several informal, relaxed 2023 HLAA convention events: a Welcome Back Bash at The Presbytere (photo, left) on June 29 and an Awards Ceremony and Reception on June 30. Those events are in addition to the convention’s workshops, a research symposium, exhibits, and more.

Register for the convention here. Early bird registration, which ends March 31, starts at just $375.


Get Involved with Us: Volunteer Today

If you have a hearing loss or you know someone who does, we need your help!

Volunteering with your peers can be powerful. You can learn more about advocacy and self-advocacy, built enduring friendships, and yes, even change the world. Your lived experience with hearing loss is a resource for others to learn from and be inspired by.

We have lots of different volunteer opportunities. Check out our webpage to find out ways you can serve the hearing loss community, then drop us a line.

HLAA-WA does not endorse any technology, nor does exclusion suggest disapproval. We support the full spectrum of hearing technologies for everyone.


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