December 11, 2020


At the HLAA Washington State Association, we help people with hearing loss live their best lives.

In this e-news: Help Washington State kids hear, catch the highlights from our annual meeting, get help with captions, and learn how to stay connected.
If you have news to share, ideas, questions, or comments, kindly email us directly:
Washington State Hearing Loss News

Help Washington Kids Hear

Hearing aids for children aren't covered by most Washington State private insurance policies, but hearing loss advocates aim to make coverage required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

While kids' hearing aids are covered under Washington State Medicaid, other families often can't afford hearing aids--and when children can't hear clearly, their abilities to develop language and succeed in school can suffer.

HLAA-Washington has endorsed this 2021 bill, "Requiring Coverage For Hearing Instruments for Children and Adolescents," which is sponsored by Reps. Emily Wicks and Tina Orwall. 

Let Washington Kids Hear is a grass-roots group leading the charge to ensure kids have the simple hearing technology they need to thrive. Follow Let Washington Kids Hear on Facebook, and read more about their initial work from Dr. Chad Ruffin.

Be prepared to ask your legislators to pass the bill when it's reintroduced in the 2021 Legislative session. Watch this e-news and our social media for a call to action soon. 

Watch Our November 2020 Annual All-Members Meeting

Which of HLAA-WA's advocacy efforts are most important to you? Find out what your fellow members think about that question, and about others asked during our annual meeting on November 7. Also, meet the HLAA-WA board, learn about telehealth, and much more. 
Watch the Meeting's Telehealth Panel Discussion Here
Watch HLAA-WA Updates and Q&A Here
News From HLAA Headquarters
How the U.S. Access Board Can Help You

US Access Board Logo Circle download

If a venue doesn't offer the communication access you need, did you know you can file a complaint with the U.S. Access Board to help yourself and others hear?

The Access Board's work isn't well known, but it should be. They set standards for disability access, offer technical assistance and guidance, and respond to citizen complaints. We urge you not to be intimidated by the word "complaint"--these folks are truly here to assist you and to help the venues comply with the ADA.

Remember, when you file a complaint, you're advocating not only for yourself but for others, too. You're changing the world, one venue at a time. 
To file an Access Board complaint, click here

Zoom Captions Are NOW Available

If you have a paid Zoom account (not the standard free account), you now have captions!

Check "Enable live transcription service," and the live transcript will show on the side panel. If you've been using, you'll need to disconnect the Otter livestream.

Thanks to HLAA Board Member Shari Eberts for leading the way, and thank you to everyone who signed the petition. Note: you can still sign the petition to request captioning for other platforms, too. 

Holiday Open House 
Meeting banner
Put on your favorite Christmas sweater, find a fun holiday background, grab a cup of eggnog, and join people with hearing loss across the country for some (virtual) holiday fun. 
Holiday Open House with HLAA
December 12, 2020
1:00 pm Pacific/4:00 pm Eastern

Hosted by the HLAA California State Association
Captioned via Zoom.
Sign Up for the HLAA Holiday Open House
Let's Talk Technology

Better Hearing Aids Are Coming in the Pandemic Era

Hearing aid companies are taking note of the added communication challenges people with hearing loss face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Signia is working on technology that can "hone in on particular sounds and eliminate others," according to an article in ROI-NJ. Oticon is developing ways to eliminate noise between the syllables of words.

Read more—and find hope, too—in this November 30, 2020, article by Brett Johnson

Speech Transfer Systems Break Glass Barriers
Does Your Business Have One?


Well, no glass is actually broken, but barriers are--and venues and people with hearing loss alike can benefit.

Speech Transfer Systems break the communications barrier that happens when a glass shield protects us from COVID-19, but muffles and even blocks sound. Add face masks that block speech reading, and people with hearing loss are left out--and a venue may be out of compliance with the ADA.
With microphones and a hearing loop to send sound to a hearing aid, these simple, affordable systems (also called window intercoms) are providing mandated communication access, boosting employee confidence, speeding up and improving customer service, and bringing joy to people with hearing loss.

Thank you to Brown Audio Services for the helpful video below.
Hear the Speech Transfer System Before & After Here
How Do I Turn On the Captions?
Lots of people need a little help ensuring they can see the captions they need. It seems like each system--almost each video--does captions differently, and it's easy to forget how to turn them on.

Theater Development Fund offers an excellent guide to turning on captions on YouTube, Facebook, Web Captioner,, and more.

Stay Home, Stay Connected


Until we can attend in-person events again, we have hearing-friendly ways to be entertained and stay connected at home. Most are live-captioned, and all have captions added in the recorded versions. We keep an updated list for you on our website.

New this issue: If you have a King County Library card, you can stream thousands of movies, TV shows, and documentaries--all for free. Most are captioned, but if they're not, ASK for captions. Contact Danielle Perry at (425)369-3218 or for help with accessibility.

Click below for more hearing-friendly (captioned) events.
Find Other Hearing-Friendly Online Events Here
Join the Hearing Loss Association of America
If you or someone you love has a hearing loss, we can help.

As an HLAA member, your dues help to support our hearing loss programs, boost our advocacy efforts, and help you stay connected. Member benefits include product discounts, reduced convention registration fees, help with the latest hearing loss tech, and HLAA's award-winning magazine, Hearing Life. 

Your HLAA membership automatically includes a membership in HLAA-Washington. 
Join HLAA Now
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Note: HLAA-WA does not endorse any product we discuss, nor does exclusion suggest disapproval.
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We support the full spectrum of hearing technology access.
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Copyright © 2020 Hearing Loss Association of America - Washington, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 265 
Redmond WA  98073-0265

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