Hearing Loss Advocacy
Taking action for all Washingtonians with hearing loss
“Civil Rights opened the windows. When you open the windows, it does not mean that everybody will get through. We must create our own opportunities.”~ Mary Frances Berry
Chair of the U.S. Commission
on Civil Rights, 1993–2004
Why is advocacy important?
Communication access is a civil right upheld by the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal and state laws. However, for decades the infrastructure to support people with hearing loss has lagged behind supports for people with other disabilities. Hearing-friendly communities need systems, laws, and policies that respond to the needs of all people who are hard of hearing. It’s about equal access and opportunity.
Imagine if in addition to having wheelchair ramps and automatic doors, every building had visual messaging and assistive listening systems like hearing loops
We are working for a Washington State that doesn’t discriminate against people with hearing loss, but rather helps us to achieve our full potential.
HLAA-WA, working with allies, successfully advocated for state laws:
- restoring hearing aid coverage for adults under Medicaid
- requiring visible open captions on all Public TV’s at all times
- requiring hearing health professionals to inform consumers about telecoil and Bluetooth technologies in hearing devices
- requiring long-term care workers to receive education and training in communicating with people with hearing loss.
HLAA-WA has also been effective in championing:
- the Washington State Department of Health to require hearing screenings for newborn babies
- the local hospitality industry to provide essential communication and alerting tools for guest with hearing loss. This includes TTY and amplified telephones, strobe/visual fire and door alert, and more.
- online virtual platforms, like Zoom and WebEx, to providing captions at no additional cost.
Educating state lawmakers and city council members about what our community needs. Explaining how government can ensure inclusion and equity for people of all ages who experience hearing challenges.
Improving health care for people with hearing loss. Fighting for public and private insurance coverage for hearing health and hearing aids. And working with doctors and medical facilities to provide hearing access technologies and services for hard of hearing patients.
Rallying the troops and making it easy for people to express their support for hearing access laws and policies to their representatives and council members.
Working with decision makers to provide communication access. As example, making sure TVW (TV Washington) programming and the governor’s press conferences are live-captioned. This equal access to information was imperative during the Covid pandemic.
Join 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
History and Impact
For over 15 years, HLAA-WA has been making a difference in the lives of Washingtonians living with hearing loss — and we’re just getting started
Work for Change
There are many ways you can help HLAA-WA supports people with hearing loss, some might surprise you