From left to right: Catherine Murphy (AG Bell), Alex Graham (AG Bell), Andy Bopp (HIA),
Congressman Chris Van Hollen (8th Congressional District, Md), Micah Spangler (HIA),
Brenda Battat (HLAA), Lise Hamlin (HLAA)
A plaque commemorating Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s support for hearing health issues was presented to the Congressman by Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), and Hearing Industries Association (HIA) in his Congressional office on November 24, 2008. The plaque included pictures from the event co-hosted October 2007 on Capitol Hill to publicly recognize Congressman Van Hollen for his consistent support of hearing health and the hearing aid tax credit bill. Over 100 people attended that event, sponsored by the HIA. Several people gave testimonies about why hearing aids are so critical to their daily lives. Malika Jalloh-Jamboria an eight year old girl from Clarksburg, Maryland recited the Pledge of Allegiance and Congressman Van Hollen addressed the crowd saying he was honored to support the bill to enable more people to get hearing aids when they need them.
In addition to coalition efforts on Capitol Hill, local HLAA and AG Bell chapters have hosted events for Representatives in their districts to demonstrate the importance of this legislation to voters. More than 15,000 letters have been sent to Congress in 2008 alone by people visiting www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org. Brenda Battat, executive director of HLAA, notes that she is “delighted that HLAA members have played a key role in reaching 100 co-sponsors. They have hosted joint events in California, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas for Representatives who are supportive of financial assistance for people who need hearing aids. Many other HLAA members have written letters and paid visits to their representatives which have paid off in gaining such strong Congressional support.” If enacted, H.R. 2329 would provide a $500 tax credit per hearing aid for children and people age 55 and older.