December 29, 2020


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

In this e-news...

Get involved: Support TVW captions and hearing aids for kids. Watch a new movie about hearing loss that has people talking. Plus, learn more about Zoom captions, over-the-counter hearing aids, and more.

Our e-news will now come to you every other Tuesday.  If you have news to share, ideas, questions, or comments, kindly email us directly:

Washington State Hearing Loss News

Captions Coming to TVW Television
Help Us Make Them Permanent

If you’ve struggled to understand Governor Inslee’s televised COVID-related press conferences, take heart: live, automated captions are coming to TVW's television channel starting in January – just in time for the 2021 Washington State Legislative Session. If you wrote to TVW or the governor requesting captions, thank you! Advocacy works. 

TVW is Washington's public affairs network, providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of Washington State Legislature sessions, the Washington State Supreme Court, and public affairs events. It is widely considered the model state-level equivalent of C-SPAN. You can view TVW on your television (with the closed captioning enabled via your remote control) or on your computer, tablet, or smartphone via the TVW website and the TVW YouTube channel. 

Captions are crucial to help people be informed and to provide testimony. This is particularly important now, as the upcoming session will be mostly virtual

A huge thank you to TVW President Rene Radcliff Sinclair for working hard to secure the funding for automated captioning across all TVW channels: television, mobile, and Internet. With the help of State Senator Christine Rolfes (D), TVW received monies from Washington State’s CARES Act funds for customized machine encoders to offer captioning through June 2021.

To continue funding the license and service fees, TVW worked with the Governor’s Office and the Office of Financial Management to include TVW caption funding in Governor Inslee’s 2021-2023 biennium budget.

The last hurdle: Keeping the TVW caption line item in the Governor’s final, approved budget. Without this, the machine encoders will sit idle after June 2021, disenfranchising people with hearing loss once again. Here's where you can help!

Ask your legislators to include $263,000 for automated TVW captions in Governor Inslee's budget. Let them know that captions are required for people with hearing loss to participate equally in their state government, promptly receive safety and emergency information, and enjoy TVW's wonderful programs.
Click Here to Find Your Legislative District

Let Washington Kids Hear:
Email Your House Rep

Did you know…

  • One in five families can’t afford hearing aids for their children.

  • Washington State private insurance isn’t required to cover hearing aids---and most insurers don’t.

  • If a child can’t hear, their language skills, social development, self-esteem, and school performance can suffer.

You can make sure vulnerable kids thrive. Ask your state representative to support the Children's Hearing Aid Bill (HB 1047).

Comment Directly on HB 1047 Here
Click Here for a Sample Letter to Support Hearing Aids for Kids
News From HLAA Headquarters
Helping Others While Helping Yourself:
Rise and Meet the HLAA Giving Challenge

As you make your year-end gifts this year, please consider a compassionate gift to the HLAA Giving Challenge--there are only 3 days left to meet our $500,000 goal.

“The support I’ve received from HLAA changed my life. Now, I need it more than ever. And many others need it too.”          

                    —Rosemary Tuite, HLAA Member

HLAA allows you not only to receive the help, support, and education you and your family need, but also to help others when you share your hearing loss story. Your gift will enrich HLAA’s virtual programming, boost efforts to reach out to marginalized people who don't yet know the power of our connections, and much more.

You can make a gift to honor a loved one, or in their memory. Every gift helps, no matter the amount. 

If you've already made your gift, thank you so much.

When we look back on the hard times of 2020, we can say we were there for each other and for our community, bringing one another comfort and encouragement.

Click Here to Rise to the Giving Challenge
Hearing Loss In The News

New Movie Shows Impact of Hearing Loss

A punk-rock drummer is devastated by the loss of his hearing in the new movie Sound of Metal. The film chronicles the drummer’s new life as he finds his way in a world that will never sound the same. The movie has been well-reviewed, but Shari Eberts points out that the character (played by Riz Ahmed) receives misleading and incomplete information and treatment---and the movie suggests that the Deaf community is the only one he can turn to for help, which we know isn’t the case.

Judge for yourself: Watch Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime (free if you have an Amazon Prime membership). Watch the trailer here.
Let's Talk Technology

Where Are the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Looking for an affordable over-the-counter hearing aid, as promised back in 2017? You’ll be waiting a while longer, according to a December 14, 2020 article in the New York Times. 

The FDA missed its August 2020 deadline to issue the rules and requirements that will help consumers determine the  safety and effectiveness of these new hearing devices. The rulemaking delay prompted Senators Warren and Grassley in November 2020 to write a letter urging that the FDA take action.

Pandemic-related work may have slowed down the FDA’s process, but the FDA spokesperson quoted in the article claims the OTC rules are indeed a priority. Unfortunately, people with hearing loss are still left waiting for these affordable hearing aids.

What's New in Zoom: What to Do as Host,
How to Beta Test, and More

Zoom is getting more caption-friendly, but there are things to remember to use it successfully.

  • Zoom captions are now free and automatic in paid versions. 
  • Captions are called "Live Transcribe" in Zoom.
  • The meeting host needs to turn on the captions. The host needs to:
    • Upgrade Zoom to the latest version.
    • Activate closed captions in the meeting settings.
    • Then, turn on captions for each meeting.
    • Allow participants to save the transcript.
If you have a free or basic Zoom account and you have a hearing loss, we encourage you to sign up to be a caption beta tester: Send an email to

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
ArtsWest Theater provides a transcript for its current play, A Very Merry Kraken Tea Party,  A New Holiday Mini-Musical, which runs November 27, 2020 through January 31, 2021. Contact Arts West  (  to request a caption so you can read along while you watch live.

Click below for more hearing-friendly (captioned) events.
Find Other Hearing-Friendly Online Events Here
Join the Hearing Loss Association of America
Hearing loss can be a lonely, isolating experience. But it doesn't have to be. HLAA and HLAA-Washington can connect you to the people, technologies, and programs
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 quarterly magazine, Hearing Life. 
Your HLAA membership automatically includes a membership in HLAA-Washington. 
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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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