Resources for People with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss certainly has the potential to be an isolating experience – but it doesn’t have to be. If you are struggling with your hearing abilities, it is important to keep in mind that you are not alone. In the US, 20% of people experience some degree of hearing loss. One in three people over the age of 65 experience hearing loss, as well as 60% of the American workforce.
As the third most common medical condition in the US, accessibility accommodations for people with hearing loss are included in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Online, there are also many resources to support you. Wherever you are nationwide, there are services and resources available to you.
Assistive Listening Devices
In compliance with the ADA, public venues are required to provide accommodations for patrons who experience hearing loss. Public venues offer assistive listening devices (ALDs), which come in different shapes and sizes. Some ALDs may be hand-held, while others are worn on your person. Options include infrared or FM ALDs, in which sounds are received and transmitted via infrared or radio waves. Sounds amplified by ALDs are then received by an apparatus such as a neck loop or headphones, streaming clear sound to your ears.
Theaters, music venues, hotels, auditoriums, movie theaters, banks, museums, hospitals – all of these places are required by the ADA to offer assistance to people with hearing loss. If you are planning to visit these places and are concerned about assistance, visit their websites or call to find out more about their ALD options.
Hearing loops are a type of assistive listening device, except they do not require you to wear any special equipment as with traditional ALDs. Hearing loops, also referred to as induction loops, consist of copper wires that are built into the architecture of a space. The copper wire encircles perimeter of a room and transmits sounds from the PA using electromagnetic waves.
For people who have the “telecoil” option on their hearing aids, it’s as simple as switching to the T-coil function. Amplified sounds are immediately streamed to the hearing aids. Hearing loops are found worldwide, and many groups are pushing for their installation, as they require no extra special equipment to use. If you are curious about your hearing aids’ telecoil abilities, ask your hearing professional.
An estimated 60% of veterans returning from combat zones experience some degree of hearing loss or tinnitus. In fact, audiology expanded rapidly as a field following World War II, with many veterans experiencing issues with their hearing. Service men and women experience dangerously loud sounds during their time in combat zones, which could lead to noise-induced hearing loss.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is dedicated to funding research on hearing loss. Currently, more than 800,000 veterans receive compensation and benefits for hearing loss. If you are a veteran and are experiencing signs of hearing loss, you may find further information at the Department of Veterans Affairs here and the Hearing Loss Association of America here.
Captioned phones transcribe conversations in real time to a large screen with clear text. The FCC requires a Professional Certification for people who are hard of hearing in order to receive a complimentary captioned phone. You may present your audiogram results from your hearing test as proof to receive a captioned phone. Details to receive a captioned phone differ by state; if you are experiencing hearing loss and would like to receive a captioned phone, search your state’s website to learn more about their offerings.
Hearing Loss Association of America – National and Local Chapters
Founded in 1971, by a former CIA agent with hearing loss from his service, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is a national organization dedicated to reach people with hearing loss through its network of state organizations and local chapters. All HLAA state and chapter organization volunteer leaders have direct experience with hearing loss.
The HLAA provides assistance and resources for people with hearing loss, as well as their families, to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss. Additionally, the HLAA works to eradicate stigma associated with hearing loss. They bring attention hearing loss prevention, treatment, and the importance of regular hearing screenings.
The national office of the HLAA is based in the Washington D.C. area. There are countless HLAA state and local chapters throughout the country. People with hearing loss and their families and friends are encouraged to join for support and community action. Local chapters of the HLAA have the opportunity to participate in an annual event, Walk4Hearing, which raises awareness around hearing loss, as well as funds that support people with hearing loss.
To learn more about the HLAA and to find a local chapter in your area, visit their website here.
Other Helpful Hearing-Related Websites
Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. They provide assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss. HLAA is working to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and raise public awareness about the need for prevention, treatment, and regular hearing screenings throughout life.
Hearing Aid Know
Want clear honest advice on hearing aids? We offer no gibberish, easy to understand advice on hearing aid types & technology and the people who supply them.
Hearing Tracker was founded by an audiologist to help consumers find better hearing aids and better hearing professionals. It has a helpful directory of hearing care professionals, as well as hundreds of ratings on different hearing aid models. Hearing aids and hearing professionals are rated by real patients. This helps ensure more meaningful information for consumers and professionals.
Starkey is one of the major manufacturers of hearing aids. They have a very helpful website, with a lot of different information about hearing loss (and their products).
You can find a number of cheaper amplifier-type devices on Amazon. Be careful - the prices can vary depending on distributor.
Used Hearing Aids
You can find many used hearing aid options on Ebay. We recommend checking to make sure the seller has positive ratings (at least over 98% rating is recommended). Make sure you have a hearing care provider available to you to program and service the hearing aids, if necessary.
If you have any suggestions for sites and resources to be added to this page, please let us know!