Your Response Was Overwhelming! CDC is Listening

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HLAA in Action informs you of what HLAA is doing for people with hearing loss. Please direct any questions or news to Lise Hamlin, director of public policy.
Advocacy Updates
Your Response Was Overwhelming! The Centers for Disease Control is Listening
On August 7, 2015, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) issued an action alert regarding a recent study, Prevalence of Disability and Disability Types Among Adultsconducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That study excluded people with hearing loss. Read the HLAA media release for our reaction to the CDC study that ignored people with hearing loss.Your response was overwhelming! Consumers and professionals alike are aghast at the exclusion of people with hearing loss in a study administered by CDC. The responses we received were compelling, heartfelt stories of what it really is like living with a hearing loss:

  • An advocate in New York wrote, “We need to take hearing loss in the United States from the realm of invisible, often ignored and still too often regarded as a shameful or embarrassing personal affliction to the forefront of major public health concerns.”
  • “We can’t fix that which we fail to see,” wrote one teacher.
  • A consumer in Virginia said, “Given how this report will be used by federal, state, and local governments, as well as by other organizations to help them make decisions about funding and other issues to support the disability community, I really think you need to meet with the people at the Hearing Loss Association of America and listen to what they have to say.”

CDC itself notes in this study, “Understanding the prevalence of disability is important for public health programs to be able to address the needs of persons with disabilities.”

In a call with CDC, HLAA discussed that the study is part of a collaborative project among all the states in the country and CDC, and is administered and supported by CDC and conducted via phone. The objective is to collect uniform, state-specific data on preventive health practices and risk behaviors that are linked to chronic disease, injuries and preventable infections diseases that affect the adult population.

HLAA made it clear to CDC that we had received a strong response from our community. We told them that it’s vital that public health programs have access to data that includes people with hearing loss. CDC heard our message.

The door has been opened, thanks to your overwhelming show of support. CDC is listening. HLAA will continue to talk and to listen to CDC as well. We appreciate that CDC has been responsive to our request and has opened up a dialog with us. HLAA will continue to work with CDC. We know that data regarding the health needs of people with hearing loss is sorely needed. We see this as just the first step to ensure that people with hearing loss are counted and there are voices heard.

New York City Applauds Council Member
The Hearing Loss Association of America and the HLAA New York City Chapter are thrilled that Council Member Helen Rosenthal has introduced three bills which would give equal access to public meetings to those with hearing loss.

For too long, people with hearing loss have been essentially left outside the meeting room doors, because they were unable to hear the proceedings. Even when announcements were made that hearing accommodations would be provided, we were often left to guess whether they would be in place, or working when we got there.

It’s long past time that an ADA coordinator position was established to help all people with disabilities get the access they need in New York City. Taken together, these three bills go a long way toward ensuring equal access for people with hearing loss.

Twenty-five years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with hearing loss have still not been able to become full partners in city government. Passage of these bills will rectify that inequality.

We applaud Council Member Rosenthal and thank her for her leadership in promoting equal access for people with hearing loss.

Here is the Council member’s press release. The news was also picked up by Politico.

Advocates for people with disabilities included:

  • AARP New York
  • Center for Hearing and Communication
  • Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)
  • Cerebral Palsy Foundation
  • CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CCSD)
  • Disability Rights Advocates
  • Disabled in Action
  • Harlem Independent Living Center
  • Hearing Loss Association of America, NYC Chapter
  • JASA
  • Jerry Bergman, advocate for people with hearing loss
  • Lexington School for the Deaf
  • The Lighthouse Guild
  • National MS Society, New York City Chapter
  • VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Wheeling Forward

Advocates worked with Council Member Rosenthal to promote equal access for people with hearing loss.


From left: Anne Pope, Katherine Bouton, Ruth Bernstein,
Council Member Helen Rosenthal, and Jerry Bergman.

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