Dear Friends and Family,
As you may know, I'm currently heading the DC Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America's (HLAA). HLAA is the nation's premier organization supporting people with hearing loss (about one in six Americans, roughly 48 million) and their families, friends and the health care providers who treat them. These programs increase public awareness about hearing loss and its social and health consequences, help eradicate the stigma associated with it, and support those of us who experience it to develop personal strategies to navigate the hearing world and lead full, productive, and satisfying lives. More information about HLAA and about hearing loss can be found at the Association’s website (www.hearingloss.org). For information about HLAA's DC chapter please visit www.hlaadc.org.
Nationally, HLAA has been instrumental in getting government and industry support for people with hearing loss. A notable example is HLAA's advocacy for passage and full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a major piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities (including hearing loss) in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. HLAA also provided major support for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2016 seminal report Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability, which among other things called upon the Federal Drug Administration to establish a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, a process now underway – one that is expected to reduce the cost of hearing aids and make them more readily accessible. Today, HLAA's efforts also include advocating for: (1) health insurance and Medicare coverage for hearing aids, (2) high quality captioning on television and the Internet, and (3) full implementation of the NAS report's recommendations.
Locally, our DC chapter organizes programs that acquaint members with new hearing assistive technology and strategies for surviving and thriving in the workplace and in social settings. We are also reaching out to retirement communities, students, and young working people to provide information and help direct them to sources of hearing support. For all of our programs we provide real time captioning and a hearing loop, enabling everyone to "hear" without stress, participate and get their questions answered, regardless of their ability to hear.
We have made great strides. But that said, hearing loss remains pretty much invisible, and, despite well documented associations with social isolation, depression, dementia, and other adverse health and quality of life impacts, plus loss of professional opportunities for many who experience it, it still doesn't get the attention it deserves as a major public health concern affecting millions.
That brings me to the Walk4Hearing. This is an annual event held in the Washington, DC area, and this year in 19 other cities across the country. It is HLAA's primary fundraising event enabling us to continue and expand the services we provide. Contributions received are shared between the national organization and local chapters, thus serving the programs and services each provides. If you are in the Washington, DC area, please come walk with us! This year's Walk will take place on the morning of October 21 at Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria VA. More information can be found be going to www.walk4hearing.org and clicking on “Find a Walk”. But whether or not you can walk with us, a contribution -- large or small, whatever you feel comfortable providing -- would be very much appreciated. And, happily, it's tax deductible.
Many thanks, and all the best,
PS Contributions can be made on-line (and thankfully the process is much less complicated than last year), or by check or in cash. For on-line contributions:
1. Go to www.walk4hearing.org
2. Click on "Donate"
3. Click on “Find a Walker”, enter my name (Russell Misheloff -- check the spelling; the Internet is unforgiving) & click on the magnifying glass symbol
4. Click on my name under “Search Results”.
5. Then click on “Donate Now”, or, if you can join us, click on “Join Russell’s team”.