HLAA sent comments to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on the issue of screening for hearing loss in older adults December 7, 2011. HLAA Board Member Meg Wallhagen provided valuable advice, helping us draft our comments. USPSTF is a national, independent panel of medical experts that makes recommendations, based on scientific evidence, to primary care doctors and other health care providers about which clinical preventive services they should offer their patients. USPSTF invited public comment on its draft Recommendation Statements before publication. One of the three draft statements open for public comment was: “Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.”
HLAA, along with some 360 participants from 30 different countries attended the M-Enabling Summit, 2011. The Summit was billed as a “global summit and showcase for mobile applications and services for seniors and persons with disabilities.”
More than one billion people around the world live with disabilities, including a large number of seniors. The M-Enabling Summit provided a forum to identify global opportunities for accessible and assistive mobile applications and services.
The 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference was co‐hosted by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the American Academy of Audiology (Academy) in Crystal City, Virginia, from June 18 through June 20, 2011.
The UnitedHealthcare® hi HealthInnovations announcement of its direct hearing services to consumers has caused quite a stir. The audiology professional organizations and the hearing aid specialist organizations and some hearing aid companies have already staked out positions against it reiterating that the only approach to effective hearing health care is through an audiologist or hearing aid specialist.
On Monday, October 24, 2011, The New York Times published a front page article on hearing loops, composer and HLAA Manhattan Chapter Member Richard Einhorn, and the Get in the Hearing Loop Campaign. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/science/24loops.html
By Tuesday, October 25, NYTimes reported it was their most e-mailed story. Their website had posted more than 125 comments from all over the country responding to the article. HLAA sent in a comment as well. Here’s what we wrote:
“Get in the Hearing Loop” is a campaign to enlighten and excite hearing aid users, as well as audiologists and other professionals who dispense hearing aids, about telecoils and hearing loops and their unique benefits. Hearing loops transmit the audio from a PA system directly to telecoil-equipped hearing aids and cochlear implants. The telecoil functions as an antenna, relaying sounds directly into the ear without background noise just like Wi-Fi connects people to the Web.
Once again this year, HLAA has accepted the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) invitation to be a voting member of the Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC). The mission of the CAC is to make recommendations to the FCC regarding consumer issues and facilitation the participation of consumers, including people with disabilities and underserved populations in proceedings before the FCC.
In our June 24, 2011 blog, we mentioned that HLA-Georgia members Cathy Fletcher, Jeff Bonnell, and Anne Taylor took advantage of the HLAA Convention in DC to visit their congressional representatives’ offices on Capitol Hill. During those visits, our advocates spoke about why people with hearing loss need the kind of financial support toward the purchase of hearing aids that the hearing aid tax credit legislation, HR 1479, would provide.
Over the last several years, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC) has supported the Captioned Radio Pilot Project developed by National Public Radio (NPR) and Towson University. It is a project whose goal is to provide a text version of radio broadcast over digital radio.
HLAA was delighted to be able to provide a presentation before the National Association of Speech Hearing Centers (NASHC) Spring Conference April 8, 2011. NASHC is an organization of 35 member agencies across the country that provide speech and/or hearing services. HLAA’s director of public policy, Lise Hamlin provided an update on HLAA and our advocacy efforts to CEO’s representing the Speech and Hearing Centers. They were interested to hear about HLAA’s work and provided important feedback from their own perspective on a wide range of topics, from movie captioning to the cost of hearing aids.