Who is an HLAA Leader?

  • Chapter presidents
  • State association and state office leaders
  • Chapter coordinators
  • Anyone who holds an office or heads a committee
  • Potential leaders being groomed to step up when the time comes for a change in leadership

The Hearing Loss Association of America and its state organizations (associations and offices) and chapters are all one organization. States and chapters are a critical part of the national organization and carry out the mission of HLAA within states and communities while they represent HLAA. This reach into the grassroots across the country is crucial to creating awareness about hearing loss through local programs and outreach. HLAA is dedicated to helping our leaders across the country to start and grow a successful state organization, chapter, or chapters within a state.

Stay informed by subscribing to HLAA’s online communications:

We highly value the work of HLAA State organizations and Chapters because they improve the lives of people with hearing loss. Thank you for working with HLAA to ensure that people with hearing loss participate fully in life. We could never accomplish our mission without dedicated volunteers like you.

Below you will find a wealth of information – everything from starting a chapter, to promotion and publicity and everything in between!  A dedicated staff person, National State and Chapter Coordinator, is here to support you. Call 301.657.2248 or email whenever you have questions or concerns.

Although I've lived with hearing loss for over 30 years, it wasn't until I attended an HLAA New York City Chapter meeting that I met so many people who openly embrace living well with hearing loss. They advocate for themselves and for others. Many have become cherished friends. Holly Cohen

Start a Chapter

Thank you for your interest in starting an HLAA Chapter. You are joining a distinguished core of volunteers who have brought HLAA to their communities to reach out to people with hearing loss.  A chapter begins as a support and information group. Step-by-step with your efforts and our guidance, the group will develop into an HLAA Chapter.

Please contact chapters@hearingloss.org if there is anything you don’t understand or have questions about.

Guide to Developing an HLAA Chapter

Ideas for Meetings

HLAA Chapters meetings draw people in to come and learn about hearing loss and meet others who share in trying to live well with hearing loss. Peer support always underlines meetings, but interesting meeting topics will get people to come and keep coming back. In general, any time you involve everyone in the room in an activity or discussion, they feel recognized and are more likely to come get involved.

Share your ideas with other leaders and program committee members!

Post them on the HLAA Official Leaders List, a Yahoo group, or send them to Chapters@hearingloss.org.

Annual Requirements

Just the term “Annual Requirements” may sound daunting, but the requirements are critical since our network of Chapters and State organizations is the backbone of HLAA.

Unified Membership Program (UMP)

The Unified Membership Program (UMP) is an exciting way to combine the benefits of membership in the HLAA national organization with the benefits of membership in a local HLAA Chapter. How? Anyone who joins the HLAA National organization automatically receives a membership in the local HLAA Chapter closest to them or any chapter they choose to designate as their home chapter. Joining creates a unified membership at both the national and the local level. No more paying dues to both a local chapter and the national organization. See HLAA membership rates.

HLAA is one organization – national office, state offices and associations and HLAA Chapters – all working to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA offers the most comprehensive array of local and national resources that help people live  successfully with their hearing loss.

Many people  join HLAA directly through the national website (hearingloss.org) or send in a hard copy membership form, or email/call the national office. Often, they either are not aware there is a chapter to support them nearby or they are not yet ready to take another step. The Unified Membership Program is a way to welcome them as HLAA members, and if they are interested, connect them with a local HLAA Chapter for the kind personalized support a chapter can offer.

Legal and Governance

As an established entity, HLAA Chapters have certain obligations as they represent all of the Hearing Loss Association of America in their states and local communities. At HLAA’s national office, we work to keep the number of requirements for the state organizations and chapters to a bare minimum. We have listed below those legal and governance requirements.


HLAA is organized as a nonprofit corporation and qualifies for exemption from federal income tax under IRS section 501(c) (3). An HLAA State Office or Chapter may apply for exemption under HLAA’s federal IRS application or they may apply individually as a state office or chapter.

Publicity and Promotion

Basic business and marketing tools are necessary for a nonprofit to create credibility. Presenting a professional and wholesome image online as well as through marketing resources such as pamphlets, brochures, and newsletters allows the organization to gain trust with donors and members. Accurate and professional presentation allows a nonprofit to increase funding through direct financial contributions and in-kind donations. All communications made on behalf of the organization must project the desired professional image.

Publicity is created when the public or media outlets (such as newspapers, magazines, television news programs, etc) give attention to a cause or organization. An example of publicity would be the Walk4Hearing being mentioned in a local newspaper. Promotion, however, entails communicating the purpose of the organization or cause to current or potential members, advertisers, etc. An example of promotion would be a billboard advertisement for the Walk4Hearing.

By having a plan for how to publicize meetings and events, state organizations and chapters will be able to promote the organization to people with hearing loss, as well as their friends and families.

Chapter Development Workshop Recordings

State and Chapter Leaders Meeting – May 15, 2020
Our first virtual State and Chapter Leaders Meeting with Barbara Kelley, executive director, and Lise Hamlin, director of public policy.
Branding and Business Tools for HLAA Leaders – July 16, 2020
presented by Ann Thomas, HLAA Brand Ambassador and President, HLAA Diablo Valley Chapter

Watch Recording   View Presentation

Amplifying the Next Generation of HLAA Leaders – July 30, 2020
presented by Deb Dietz, Anecia Lockhart, and Carrie Leising from HLAA Austin Chapter

Watch RECORDING  View Presentation

What Level is Your Chapter? (What Level Do You Want It To Be?) – August 17, 2020
presented by Beth Wilson from HLAA Central Massachusetts Chapter

Watch Recording  View Presentation

Tips and Steps Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals for Your Chapter – October 26, 2020
presented by Debbie Schaaf, Ohio State Chapter Coordinator

Watch Recording  View Presentation

Engaging Discussion about Good Hearing Care – November 18, 2020
presented by Bert Meijers, Ida Institute

Watch Recording  View Presentation