Services and Resources
Support for hearing loss is readily available
Information and support are essential to living well with diminished hearing. Across Washington State, you’ll find lots of help and ways to connect with the hearing loss community.
Washington State Agencies Serving People with Hearing Loss
The Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) provides telecommunications, accommodations, and social services to hard-of-hearing, Deaf, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled people across the state. ODHH serves clients at its office in Lacey and through Regional Service Centers (RSC). Each RSC, listed below, has an assistive listening system (ALS) program to provide hearing access equipment for meetings and events (more information below).
- The Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center (HSDC) is a nonprofit serving the Puget Sound area. HSCD offers audiology services and hearing aids, Deaf and hard of hearing services, speech and language services, and more. HSDC works from a central location in downtown Seattle with satellite offices in Bellingham and Tacoma.
- Washington Advocates of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WADHH) serves and empowers hearing, Deaf, or DeafBlind people living in Eastern Washington. WADHH offers support groups, education and outreach services, an Assisted Listening Devices Program, and more. WADHH has offices in Yakima, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver, WA.
Enabling Effective Communication Access — Assistive Listening Equipment and Services
In accordance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) manages programs that enable effective communication access to people with diminished hearing. Real-time captioning (CART) and assistive listening systems (ALS) are available to state and local government agencies, community service offices, and non-profit organizations.
Assistive Communication Technology (ACT) Program
ACT provides assistive listening systems for large conferences and small meetings, courtrooms, classrooms, etc. Equipment is available through ODHH or one of its Regional Service Centers
Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART)
CART provides real-time captioning for individuals, groups, and public meetings. The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) oversees the CART program
Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED) Program
The TED Program provides amplified phones, TTY captioned phones, iPads & other phone devices to state residents with hearing loss on a sliding scale
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP)
WATAP provides assistive technology resources and expertise to state residents facing disability and age-related challenges, as well as service providers in healthcare, employment, education, and community living
Washington Telecommunication Relay Services, also known as Washington Relay, offers multiple, free services to ensure equal communication access to telephone service for people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, and speech disabled. Presently, Hamilton Relay is the TRS provider offering TRS and Captioned Telephone Service to state residents.
Washington Relay: RCC
(Remote Conference Captioning)
RCC provides Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services to help individuals understand what is being said during telephone conference calls. With text captions provided in realtime, this service allows people with hearing loss to participate in conference calls in a more effective manner.
Emergency Services — Texting 911
If you are in an emergency situation and fear that you will not be able to hear a 911 operator, or if you are in a situation where you cannot safely speak, you can now text 911 in most Washington State counties.
Currently, 31 of our state’s 39 counties have Text-to-911 service or are effectively testing the system. In addition to texting your location and emergency, remember to identify yourself as have hearing loss so dispatchers to not try to call you.
Hearing health care providers
- Seattle Children’s Hospital Audiology Clinic
- Seattle Children’s Hospital outpatient mental health therapy for Deaf and hard of hearing patients
If you need help with the high cost of hearing aids or other medical grade hearing instruments, there are several state and national programs that can help people who qualify for assistance. Learn more on our Financial help for buying hearing aids page.
- HLAA Employment Toolkit is a resource for people with hearing loss who are looking for work, employees with hearing loss who need support, as well as for a current or prospective employers of people with hearing loss.
- The Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides counseling and employment services to people with hearing loss and other disabilities. Staff at DVR also offer assistance and training to employers to help them recruit and hire people with disabilities. Learn more about DVR services and office locations across the state.
Families and children
- Listen And Talk is a non-profit, early development program that focuses on helping children with hearing loss reach their full language and learning potential. Listen and Talk helps families and children with programs, audiology services, language therapy, outreach, and more.
- Washington Sensory Disabilities Services (WSDS) supports the developmental and learning needs of children from birth to age 21 who are hard of hearing, Deaf, blind or low vision, or DeafBlind. Through its Washington Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth, WSDS offers statewide services to deaf and hard of hearing students, teachers and educators serving the deaf, educational interpreters, and families of deaf infants, toddlers and students.
- Washington State Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY) is a statewide resource committed to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing students in Washington reach their full potential regardless of where they live or attend school. CDHY operates and manages the Washington School for the Deaf, provides outreach services for deaf and hard of hearing children throughout the state of Washington, and provides statewide professional development to those working in the field of Deaf Education.
- Washington State Hands and Voices is a parent-led, non-profit that provides emotional support and resources to families with children with hearing loss. Trained Parent Guides support all families in Washington State who think their child may have a hearing loss, or whose child has been identified hard of hearing, Deaf, or DeafBlind. There is no fee to request or receive support from WSHV Parent Guides.
- My Child Has Hearing Loss Now What? Dr. Michelle Hu grew up with hearing loss and is now a pediatric audiologist
Hearing Loss Association of America: National, State, Chapter
HLAA operates at national, state and local chapter levels. All three tiers focus on providing support, information and advocacy, but at different scales.
At the national level, HLAA operates near Washington DC and advocates at the federal level for laws and policies that support hearing access. The HLAA website provides a wealth of online support and information. You can also access online chapter meetings anywhere and free educational webinars.
HLAA’s hearing-friendly, annual convention is a great chance to discover new insights and meet other people living with hearing loss. There is also a product fair and research symposium.
Membership in HLAA includes membership in HLAA-WA.
HLAA-Washington State Association (that’s us!), is affiliated with HLAA national but is a separate non-profit. HLAA-WA focuses on helping people with hearing loss in our home state.
We offer state-specific information and resources.
We work make our state more hearing-friendly through our advocacy, community outreach, and support programs.
Our virtual HOPE meetings offer peer support and practical skills for living well with hearing loss.
Explore our website and become part of our community.
Local chapters and support groups connect people with hearing loss in specific communities; it might be a town, a neighborhood, or a senior living residence. Local groups often advocate within their communities for greater hearing access. Learn more.
HLAA Whatcom County Chapter members Joanna and Jerry Olmstead stand with librarian Maggie Buckholtz (center) to celebrate the the installation of hearing loops at the Burlington Library.
Across Washington, there is help for your hearing loss and people who will lift and encourage you.