The HLAA Network: Chapters and State Organizations
The Hearing Loss Association of America reaches people with hearing loss through its network of chapters and state organizations. All HLAA state and chapter organization volunteer leaders have direct experience with hearing loss. Joining your state and/or local HLAA organizations helps augment your experience with HLAA and learn more about coping with hearing loss.
HLAA State organizations and chapters provide strategies and support that are modeled after HLAA Founder Howard “Rocky” Stone’s self-help philosophy. They also offer excellent personal growth and leadership skills-building opportunities.
Chapters are local or area-wide organizations offering regularly-scheduled meetings and programs. Chapters offer emotional support, camaraderie, tips and techniques for living with hearing loss, technical information about hearing assistive technology, in a hearing-friendly place. A few of the Twelve Reasons Why Self-help Groups are Good for You are that they:
- provide a community of people with hearing loss who understand and are empathic to your unique problems.
- help you deal with the issue of hearing loss stigma.
- share technologies beyond your hearing aids that will enhance your ability to function in the world.
- show you how to stay tuned into family conversations.
- empower you through exchange of knowledge, encouragement and the sharing of experiences.
- alleviate the despair and isolation of hearing loss through their support.
There are two types of HLAA statewide organizations: offices and associations. Both structures exist to work on issues that affect members in their states such as legislation, policies, programs, and communication access, to name a few. Both also work closely with the HLAA Chapter Coordinator(s) in their state to support existing chapter leaders and help encourage new chapters to form.
State offices are staffed by a single volunteer, a director appointed by the national office. State offices usually are involved with public policy in the state and serve on advisory boards for people with hearing loss. The state office can also support chapter development in the state, especially where there is no state chapter coordinator.
State associations have bylaws, are incorporated in their state and operate by elected boards of trustees, similar to HLAA National. Each chapter within the state has representation on the board of the state association. Every HLAA member in the state is automatically a state association member.