On December 1, 2016, Senate Bill S.9 was introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to provide for the regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. The “Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016” would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter and remove many of the barriers for consumers who could benefit from hearing aids.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee) is working on a negotiated rulemaking (RegNeg) to create an agreement between advocates for people with disabilities and the airline industry to ensure greater access.
In June 2016 the National Academies of Sciences (the Academies) issued a groundbreaking report, Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. The recommendations accurately reflect the needs, concerns, and frustrations that consumers face when making hearing health care decisions, including whether to seek treatment at all. HLAA is proud to be the only consumer organization to serve as one of the sponsors of the report.
On August 4, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules to ensure people with hearing loss have full access to wireless devices. As the FCC noted, the action taken “will modernize existing hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules while maintaining the balance between fostering accessibility and promoting innovation and investment.”
HLAA filed comments with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in response to their draft Advisory Circular (AC), Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities.
The FAA offered the AC for public review and comments in June 2016. The AC provides guidance and recommendations for operators of airports to ensure access to airports by individuals with disabilities. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDI) both signed onto HLAA's comments.