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.
At a press event at the Capitol Building on February 23, 2010. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-5) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) joined the leadership of the Justice For All Action Network (JFAAN) in kicking off the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
HLAA joined other advocates in a wide ranging discussion regarding how to have greater access to audible presentations at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art on October 19. Topics discussed included how to provide access to exhibit videos, IMAX films, art work and public program films. Joe Gordon, Chair of the HLAA-New York State Caption Committee was also present at this meeting.
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) recently posted a call for action to the community: we asked you to sign on to a letter to be sent to President Obama, requesting that coverage of hearing healthcare be included as part of the White House agenda and healthcare reform. We have been overwhelmed with responses: in just one month, between July 9 and August 4, 4,682 people signed onto the letter to the President.