News Clippings

New Podcast on Hearing Loss-"Overheard at Frequency"

USPSTF Issues Statement on Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults

April 2021

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued their final recommendation statement and evidence summary on screening for hearing loss in older adults which been published in the online edition of JAMA and are available on the Task Force website. The evidence summary outlines the studies the Task Force reviewed to reach its recommendation. Their recommendation:

For adults 50 years of age or older who have not noticed any issues with their hearing:

The USPSTF found that the evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for hearing loss in older adults. More research is needed.

HLAA understands more research is needed. But we are also concerned that precious time will be lost for thousands of Americans while we wait for research to catch up with what we know to be true: hearing screenings can make a huge difference in the lives of people with unrecognized or untreated hearing loss. Doctors should be screening for and advising their patients how to address their hearing loss now.

NEW! Request ASR Captions for your Zoom Account.

Zoom just announced it will provide its high-quality ASR captions (Live Transcript) FREE for people with hearing loss. Click here to request access. This feature will be rolled out to all free Zoom accounts by Fall 2021. Read announcement.

FCC Releases Hearing Aid Compatibility Report and Order

March 31, 2021 LINK

Coping Help from HLAA during Corona virus pandemic.

Hearing loss is isolating enough and now we are further separated with the stay-at-home orders. HLAA is creating online resources and adding free captioned webinars and support sessions to help our members and constituents through this crisis.

June 19, 2020

OCR Resolves Complaints after State of Connecticut and Private Hospital Safeguard the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Have Reasonable Access to Support Persons in Hospital Settings During COVID-19

On June 9, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it has reached an Early Case Resolution (ECR) with the State of Connecticut after the state issued an executive order regarding non-visitation policies for short-term hospitals, outpatient clinics, and outpatient surgical facilities to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied reasonable access to needed support persons. OCR also reached an ECR with Hartford Hospital after it agreed to grant a 73-year old woman with aphasia access to support persons to help with her communication and comprehension in her treatment.

In May 2020, OCR received complaints from Disability Rights Connecticut, CommunicationFIRST, the Arc of Connecticut, Independence Northwest: Center for Independent Living of Northwest CT, Center for Public Representation, and The Arc of the USA alleging that Connecticut guidance regarding hospital visitation for people with disabilities violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which are enforced by OCR.

The complainants alleged that Connecticut guidance concerning hospital “no visitor” policies during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed only narrow exceptions for support persons for individuals with disabilities receiving certain services from the state Department of Developmental Services (DDS), leaving large groups of persons with disabilities unable to avail themselves of the exception. The complainants alleged that without support persons, specific patients with disabilities in Connecticut facilities were being denied equal access to medical treatment, effective communication, the ability to make informed decisions and provide consent, and that they were being unnecessarily subjected to physical and pharmacological restraints.

Complainants also alleged that Hartford Hospital, a 937-bed facility in the state, unlawfully failed to provide a reasonable modification to the hospital’s no-visitor policy to a 73-year old patient with aphasia and severe short-term memory loss, who is mostly non-verbal, and was denied in-person access to support persons able to help with her communication and comprehension during care. The patient did not fall under the exception to no-visitor policies under Connecticut’s guidance because she did not receive services from the state DDS.

OCR has reviewed the complaints, communicated with, and provided assistance to Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and Hartford Hospital, and mediated a resolution of the matters acceptable to all parties.

As part of the resolution, Connecticut is issuing an executive order to ensure that people with disabilities have reasonable access to support personnel in hospital settings in a manner that is consistent with disability rights laws and the health and safety of patients, health care providers, and support persons. The order includes establishing a statewide policy requiring hospitals and other acute care settings to permit the entrance of a designated support person for a patient with a disability and permitting family members, service-providers or other individuals knowledgeable about the needs of the person with a disability to serve as a designated support person. Where patients with a disability are in such a setting for longer than one day, they may designate two support persons, provided only one is present at a time.

OCR mediated an agreement between Hartford Hospital and the complainants that granted the 73-year patient access to a designated in-person support person. Based on Hartford Hospital’s responsive actions, OCR is closing this complaint as satisfactorily resolved.

“We cannot commend Connecticut enough for quickly updating its policies to protect the right of persons with disabilities to equal treatment especially during a crisis,” said Roger Severino, Director of OCR. “This resolution proves that states can keep people safe during this pandemic without sacrificing the right of persons with disabilities to the support they need to receive equal access to medical care and treatment,” Severino concluded.

Connecticut submitted the following statement to OCR for inclusion in this announcement:

“As vulnerable populations around the state continue to be disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a priority for my office and the state to come to a resolution on allowing a support person to accompany and advocate for individuals with disabilities into our hospitals” Governor Lamont stated. “The order issued by Commissioner Gifford implements vital safeguards for individuals with special needs to ensure proper and safe care is being provided and received in a hospital setting.”

“I am pleased to have worked with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Health, and the HHS Office for Civil Rights to issue the DPH order that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities and facilitates a process to allow every voice, even in a hospital setting, to be heard,” said Jordan A. Scheff, Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services.

Connecticut’s executive order is available at – PDF.

For more information about how OCR is protecting civil rights during COVID-19,

To learn more about non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, age, and disability; conscience and religious freedom; and health information privacy laws, and to file a complaint with OCR, please visit

IndyStar-Letter to the Editor, Oct 14 2019

Breaking News: Telecoil Bill Ceremonial Signing by Governor Holcomb in presence of our Chapter President, Teresa Gonzalez, and major ICCA members (Indiana Committee for Communication Access). June 24, 2019.

HB 1113 requires first and second class cities in Indiana to consider the installation of audio frequency induction loop systems in new or remodeled public buildings to accommodate the use of telecoils in hearing aids. The law also requires Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dealers to provide oral and written information to consumers that explains telecoils and induction loop systems. It requires installation of the systems to meet ANSI standards so that the systems work as planned.

The hard work and efforts of the Indiana Committee for Communication Access, which has 3 members from our Chapter, is instrumental in this landmark achievement and will help all Indiana citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Governor Holcomb with Linda Loftus, Chair ICCA (indiana Committee for Communication Access) and ICCA members Teresa Gonzalez (President HLAA-Indianapolis Chapter) and Janice Neidigh (President HLAA-Michiana Chapter). More pictures in Resources/ Photos.

Teresa Gonzalez with Indiana Governor Holcomb.June 2019

Telecoil and beacon positioning systems. DIGEST of Act 1113

Requires the fire prevention and buildings safety commission (commission) to adopt rules requiring that a person performing new construction or any major alteration of an existing public address system in a Class 1 structure located in a first or second class city after June 30, 2020, must consider the installation of an audio frequency induction loop system (AFIL) and a beacon positioning system. Requires that the person performing new construction or any major alteration of an existing facility's public address system to solicit at least one bid for the installation of an AFIL and at least one bid for the installation of a beacon positioning system. Requires the commission to: (1) adopt standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for installation, maintenance, and performance of audio frequency induction loop systems; and (2) develop standards for installation and maintenance of beacon positioning systems. Requires audiologists, individuals who hold a hearing aid dealer certificate of registration, and individuals who fit or dispense hearing aids while under the supervision and direction of an individual who holds a hearing aid dealer certificate of registration to provide information about telecoil and AFILs when fitting and dispensing hearing aids.

Great Lakes ADA Center: ADA 30th Anniversary #ThanksToTheADA (Teresa Gonzalez)

ALSO-ADA 30th Anniversary Speaker: Teresa Gonzalez

Videoconference Presentation LINK for ADA Indiana