To be a successful advocate, individuals must be open about their hearing loss and be willing to disclose it to others. Advocates know what they need to communicate and to participate fully and have the confidence to request it from others. They learn all they can about the cause and impact of their hearing loss, understand their rights under the law, keep up with the latest technology that can benefit them, and are familiar with community, state and national resources. They routinely practice and teach interactive strategies to enhance communication and reduce stress. Good advocates are persistent, patient, polite and never forget to thank everyone who helped on your projects.
HLAA Public Policy and Advocacy Agenda for Local Leaders
What can local leaders do to support HLAA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Agenda?
HLAA works on a national level to achieve our public policy mission. But many of our goals can’t be fully realized without support from the grassroots. Our chapters and state organizations are a vital part of making sure that hearing loss is an issue of national concern. Here are some ideas local leaders can initiate that will help us achieve our key advocacy goals.
Policy makers and the public recognize that hearing is critical to healthy living and that hearing loss impacts all aspects of life. As such, hearing health care providers are knowledgeable about hearing loss and hearing health care is included in all aspects of health screening and health maintenance.
- Support public education and information campaign to raise awareness about the need for hearing screening to be part of wellness visits for all ages.
Hearing aids, cochlear implants and aural rehabilitation are affordable and accessible, and covered by the Medicare, Affordable Care Act, and third-party payers.
- Support HR 3150, HEAR Act, which will provide Medicare coverage of hearing aids, by providing education to consumers, writing letters of support and getting the word out about this bill.
- If your state does not provide coverage under the Affordable Care Act, work with your state office of deaf and hard of hearing and state insurance commissioner to advocate for coverage.
- Work on local laws to require inclusion of hearing aid in insurance coverage for all, both children and adults.
Affordable and accessible hearing health care along with appropriate consumer choice, education and transparency is provided to all who need it.
- Sit on local advisory boards that provide oversight to audiologists and dispensers to provide greater hearing heath rehabilitation options for consumers and adherence to quality of care for consumers including information about telecoils, wider area listening systems, CART, HAC phones, and hearing aid immunity ratings.
- Work on local legislation that provides for consumer education, transparency
- Advocate and/or work on state wide legislation for access to on line and alternate hearing devices, apps, and products.
Public and private venues, including all types of public transportation are communication accessible through technology such as hearing loops, FM, infrared, captioning and other technologies.
- Advocate for installation of assistive technology in all venues.
- Raise awareness regarding CART and captioning in public places.
All education and entertainment media (television, Internet video programming, and movies) will meet the highest quality captioning and audio quality standards that ensure equal access, full understanding and enjoyment by consumers.
- Provide feedback to media producers and providers, including movies, on what works and what does not.
- Provide comments and complaints to federal or local agencies that provide oversight.
Consumers have comprehensive choice and access to captioned and hearing-aid-compatible (HAC), high-fidelity, landline phones and mobile devices.
- Provide feedback to the FCC regarding phones – landline and mobile devices as well as TRS services – captioned landline and mobile phones
- Provide feedback to manufacturers of phones
- Provide feedback to TRS providers
Consumers are actively involved in the design and development of emerging hearing assistive technology.
- Provide feedback to manufacturers of products you use or would use.
Hearing assistive technology (HAT) products are compatible and interoperable regardless of brands through open-source wireless technology.
- Provide feedback to venues that have installed wide area listening systems to let them know you use that system and how to make it better.
- Encourage the installation of loop systems in your community.
Emergency preparedness communication systems are accessible for people with hearing loss and first responders are knowledgeable about the needs of persons with hearing loss.
- Join local emergency preparedness teams to ensure that the needs of people with hearing loss are considered in an emergency.
- Offer to provide information, education and/or training to emergency responders and managers.
- Provide feedback to emergency product manufacturers.
- Encourage your community to provide text to 911; get involved in disseminating information and education about text to 911.
Workplaces are communication accessible and welcoming to people with hearing loss.
- Educate local members about accommodations that are available.
- Educate chapter members about their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as state and local human rights laws.
- Work with the state office of deaf and hard of hearing to educate employers about accommodations for people with hearing loss.
Federal Laws Providing Rights to Individuals with Hearing Loss
Federal Legislative Online Information & Resources
In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress
State Legislative Online Information & Resources
National Conference of State Legislatures: State Legislative Websites Directory
State Advisory Boards Representing People who are Hard of Hearing
Consumers with hearing loss can and should be on state advisory boards to represent the needs of people who are hard of hearing and improve services across the state.
Most advisory boards have slots allocated for consumer and/or specific disability representation. This is to ensure that the agencies have input from the widest range of constituencies. As a consumer on the advisory board you can make sure that the services being provided are appropriate and adequate for people with hearing loss. [View PDF]
How to Write Effective Comments in Response to FCC Proceedings
Read the Guide on the FCC website about "How To Comment". It explains the different acronyms and terms that the FCC uses in its proceedings and walks you through how to send in electronic or paper comments. [View PDF]