HLAA History

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HLAA History


At the Opening Session at the Convention 2009 in Nashville, TN, Executive Director Brenda Battat, along with T. Alan Hurwitz, Ph.D., of NTID, announces an exciting partnership and agreement between HLAA and RIT and NTID that will benefit thousands of men and women who have suffered a hearing loss as a result of their service to our country, in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Brenda Battat joins President Barack Obama and disability representatives from around the country at the White House to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ground-breaking civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. 

Walk4Hearing™ continues to grow nationwide; a new logo is implemented to better identify our branding. 

Hearing Loss Association of America® celebrates its 30th anniversary. 

Editor’s Note: This history of SHHH is not a complete account of all data or a complete listing of all pieces of legislation SHHH/HLAA had input to. However, it is an informative sketch of some of the major highlights of the organization. 

Updated October 2009 


Produced seven, captioned videos on Hearing Loss 101 to encourage people to seek help for their hearing loss. We partnered with Knowlera Media, Inc., to produce the videos which are posted on YouTube, www.monkeysee.com, and on www.hearingloss.org. With funding from the Better Hearing Institute, the DVDs are available free on request from HLAA for anyone who wants to show them in their waiting rooms, at HLAA chapter and state events, or for other educational uses.

Developed a new informational Wiki for parents of children with hearing loss. The goal of the site is to empower parents by providing the resources necessary for them to make informed decisions about their children’s hearing loss. www.kidsandhearingloss.org.

Partnered with the American Academy of Audiology on the “Get in the Hearing Loop” project to increase usage of technology beyond the hearing aid that benefits people with hearing loss. With funding from two family foundations, we are developing educational materials on telecoils, assistive technology and how to advocate for them in local communities.

The 2010 HLAA Convention is held in Milwaukee, WI, June 17-20. Joan Haber received the Howard E. “Rocky” Stone Humanitarian Award, named after the founder and given to a former national board member.

Secured funding to hold the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference overlapping with the Hearing Loss Association of America 2011 Convention in June.

Held 18 Walk4Hearing events throughout the nation to raise public awareness and generate funds to improve services for people with hearing loss. Reed Doughty, safety with the Washington Redskins, is national honorary chair.

The Center for Hearing and Communication (formerly the League for the Hard of Hearing) gave HLAA the Sheldon Williams Leadership Award at their 100th annual meeting in New York City.

Deputy Executive director Barbara Kelley attends the Lexington, Kentucky, Hearing and Speech Center’s Capital Campaign with Keynote Speaker President Bill Clinton.

Conducted a Leadership Training for HLAA state and chapter leaders.

Advocated for: a mandate for captioned telephone nationwide; a hearing aid tax credit; the standard on classroom acoustics to be added to the Americans with Disabilities Act; captioned movies in theaters, on airline flights, at live events and on the Internet; hearing-aid-compatible wireless handsets; continuation of the infant screening law; access to 9-1-1 and emergency preparedness

Testified before Congress in support of laws to require captioning of videos on the Internet. Both the House and Senate Bills passed and will be tweaked for a final bill

Successful in getting the Federal Communications Commission to include our recommendations for accessibility for people with hearing loss in the national broadband plan

On October 8, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (See items above, HLAA had input to this bill and testified for its passage.) HLAA staff attends the signing at the White House.

Stopped a tax from being imposed on hearing aids in the new health care reform

Reversed the Department of Justice’s employment testing policy so that the Marshal Service’s hiring policy allows court security officers to keep their hearing aids in when undergoing hearing testing

Provided direct support to employees with discrimination issues in the workplace

The HLAA Board of Trustees approved a new position paper on Job Qualification Testing. The paper can be found under the Policy Statements page.


HLAA launches “Campaign to Make Hearing Aids Affordable.” Components of the campaign include:

  • Increasing awareness about hearing loss and reducing stigma
  • Advocating for unbundling of hearing aids and professional services
  • Supporting low-cost options for consumers
  • Advocating for insurance coverage and tax relief in the states
  • Supporting the Hearing Aid Tax Credit legislation H.R. 1479 and S. 905
  • Creating an opportunity on our website for consumers to rate the hearing health services they receive and comment on their hearing aids

Executive Director Brenda Battat attends the twelfth seminar of the Ida Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.

HLAA produces video Teamwork for Hearing Loss Awareness. The production was funded by the Manhattan, NYC, HLAA Chapter from their Walk4Hearing proceeds. The video highlights the work of the national HLAA office and HLAA chapters across the country.

May 11, 2011: HLAA staff spent a day on Capitol Hill advocating for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit legislation. Together with board members of the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) they met with seven members of the House and Senate to ask them to co-sponsor the bipartisan legislation. House Bill H.R. 1479 was introduced this session by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA). The bill has 31 co-sponsors and gives a $500 tax credit for people 55 and over and dependents.

The Walk4Hearing, produced by HLAA, is held in 23 cities across the country this year. Washington Redskins Reed Doughty (safety #37) is the 2011 national honorary chair. Phonak CEO Mike Orscheln is the 2011 national business chair. The Walk raises public awareness and generates funds to improve services for people with hearing loss.

HLAA accepted the Federal Communications 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.

More than 1,800 people from 11 countries came to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, in June for the largest convention that HLAA has ever hosted. Chris Artinian, CEO and president of Morton’s The Steakhouse was the keynote speaker at the Opening Session. The Artinian family was the subject of the documentary Sound and Fury. In addition to a record number of attendees, this 26th HLAA Convention made history in many ways:

  • Six hundred attendees attended the captioned and looped performance of the hit musical, Wicked, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This was the largest group of people with hearing loss ever to attend a performance at the Kennedy Center, and the first time the Opera House has been equipped with a hearing loop. Thank you to loop manufacturer Ampetronic for taking on this huge task.
  • FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was awarded the HLAA Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities and specifically for people with hearing loss. Due to his leadership, people with hearing loss have unprecedented access to telecommunications and media in all aspects of daily life.
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was awarded the HLAA National Access Award for their extraordinary efforts to include people with hearing loss through real-time captioning, hearing assistive technology, and sign language interpretation. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts also provides access for people with loss of vision and people with mobility disabilities.
  • James F. Battey, M.D., Ph.D., director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, received the James B. Snow, Jr., M.D., Award for furthering scientific research in the field of hearing loss.
  • Anne T. Pope received the Howard E. “Rocky” Stone Humanitarian Award, named after the founder and given to a former national board member.
  • People came from eleven countries to attend the convention and the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference held in conjunction with the convention and hosted by HLAA.  Countries represented were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.

HLAA publications and marketing campaigns win Hermes Creative Awards. These awards are part of an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs and emerging technologies. The following awards were given:

  • HLAA Convention 2010 in Milwaukee – Platinum Award for Integrated Marketing Materials
  • HLAA’s Walk4Hearing – Gold Award for Integrated Marketing Campaign
  • Hearing Loss Magazine, September/October 2010 issue – Gold Award for Magazine Publication Overall Content and Design
  • Hearing Loss Magazine, January/February 2011 issue – Honorable Mention for Magazine Design