Join us as we make Washington State the most hearing-friendly place in America.
Let’s Loop Seattle is all about communication access. We open doors and dismantle communication barriers so that everyone may participate equally in employment, travel, government services, entertainment, transportation, and all community and public life.
As advocates and advisers, we provide hearing loop and hearing loss information and education to everyone. We help and empower leaders, lawmakers, advocates, people with hearing loss, and venues around the world to welcome and include everyone, regardless of their ability to hear.
What does a hearing loop do?
As the most popular assistive listening system (ALS), hearing loops send sound directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants, reducing background noise and feedback. No other ALS is this easy, discreet, and life-changing. With a telecoil in your hearing aid plus a hearing loop in a venue, you may be able to hear better than you’ve heard in years–perhaps better than you ever have.
More and more churches, theaters, town halls, libraries, classrooms, retirement communities and senior centers, hospitals, and even taxis and ticket windows are getting in the hearing loop the world over.
News & Events
Washington State Senate Bill Would Require Captions on TVs in Public
April 7, 2021 – This bill passed both the House and Senate and is now headed to Governor Inslee’s desk! Thank you to everyone who wrote, called, and emailed their legislators. We urge you to take a moment to thank your senators and representatives for voting for this bill.
March 26, 2021 – Televisions in public places will be required to have captions turned on if Senate Bill 5027 passes in the Washington State legislature this year.
The bill was amended to ensure caption quality, and the amended bill will be read again in the House.
This bill has no costs and is bipartisan; it’s similar to a law passed recently by the City of Seattle. Television captions in public places serve as an access/accommodation for people with hearing loss and people who are Deaf, and it also helps people who are learning English, people with mild hearing loss, and children.
Read the bill and leave your message of support here.
Bill to Cover Kids’ Hearing Aids Will Not Move Forward in 2021;
We Support a Budget Proviso for a Cost-Analysis for Next Year
UPDATE: March 24, 2021 – Email your legislator and ask them to support the budget proviso. The proviso would allocate funds to perform an accurate cost estimate for legislators to consider in 2022. Email your legislators here.
February 10, 2021 – Despite enthusiastic support for this bill, it will likely not pass this year. Hopefully, by the 2022 legislative session, an accurate budget estimate will be available, and the bill will have a better chance of passing.
December 18, 2020 – A bill introduced in the 2021 Washington State Legislature will require private insurers to cover hearing aids for children and adolescents.
When kids can’t hear well, their language development, social skills, and school performance are harmed. Hearing aids make all the difference, but one in five families can’t afford hearing aids for their children, according to the Better Hearing Institute.
Visit our 2021 Washington State Legislative Session page to find out how YOU can help these vulnerable children learn better and thrive.
Simple System Helps People Hear at Counters and Desks
December 3, 2020 – Glass and plastic barriers–and ever-present face masks–may protect us from COVID19, but they make it harder, if not impossible, to hear one another. Sound is muffled and blocked, and we lose the ability to speech read.
Speech Transfer Systems, also called window intercoms, are a simple, affordable way to help people hear better. Microphones on each side, plus loop technology, isolate the speech we need to hear. People with hearing loss need this technology to communicate and to receive services, products, and care.
These systems provide so many benefits: ADA-mandated communication access, happy customers, confident employees, and better and faster client service and care.
Let’s Loop Seattle is an initiative of the Hearing Loss Association of America–Washington State (HLAA-WA).
- Current E-News, April 9, 2021
- New UW accessible technology program
- The Captions-On bill on its way to the governor’s desk
- Our new page on financial resources to help you buy a hearing aid
- Our next HOPE meeting April 7, 2021
- Costco’s new telecoil-enabled hearing aids
- High-tech hearing devices causing confusion, overwhelm
- Survey on tech accessibility
- Webinar: Living and Loving with Hearing Loss
- Turning on on live Zoom captions
- Hearing-friendly programs online at the Seattle Rep
To read the full E-news, click here.
- Current E-News, April 9, 2021
Subscribe to our e-news here. It’s free, and we never sell your information.
May 22, 2020 – Hearing loss doesn’t just affect your ears. Without treatment, hearing loss could affect your balance, risk of falls, and even your mental health.
Get regular hearing tests, and wear hearing aids if you need them.
Hear Well. Stay Vital.
May 4, 2020 – May is Better Speech & Hearing Month. Find out how hearing loss can affect your risk of depression and falls, how hearing affects our emotional and physical well-being, how to get your hearing checked, and more from the “Hear Well, Stay Vital” Campaign.
April 23, 2020 – Need help hearing during Zoom meetings or on your iPhone, laptop, or iPad? LOOP IT.
Lou Touchette created this diagram to show you how. Contact him or us if you need more help.
April 22, 2020 – Captions should be free and easily available to people with hearing loss on Zoom, Google, Microsoft, and other video conferencing platforms. Agree? Sign this petition.
April 13, 2020 – If you’re experiencing challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of resources for people with hearing loss, including support groups, caption apps, virtual meeting resources, what to do if you need medical care, and more.
March 31, 2020 – Do you need hearing-accessible COVID-19 safety and health updates?
Washington State ODHH and the Department of Health have developed a series of eight captioned and ASL-translated videos.
Governor Inslee’s press conferences have also been captioned, and ASL is included.
March 30, 2020– Did you catch the online (captioned!) support group meeting on March 28, 2020, “Your COVID-19 Hearing Loss Guide” with Shari Eberts? Here’s a copy of her presentation.
The national HLAA office hopes to do more of these online in the future to help ensue people with hearing loss are not isolated and instead feel supported and informed. Watch for more of these events, and be sure to join in.
March 3, 2020 – World Hearing Day. On World Hearing Day, how are you living well with your hearing loss?
Hearing for Life means hearing protection, treatment, and care across the lifespan.
March 3, 2020 – Mark your calendars: “You Gotta Start Somewhere: Low-Cost Ideas to Make Your Organization More Accessible, presented by the Seattle-King County Cultural Accessibility Consortium,” April 21, 2020, 2-4 pm, at the Frye Art Museum.
For more information about this fantastic group led by Elizabeth Ralston, visit their Facebook page.
February 19, 2020 – We’re working with TV Washington to get captions, particularly live captions, for all their programming. Meanwhile, Ann Thomas worked with them to get the hearing loss portion of the October 2019 Washington State Senior Lobby Fall Conference video captioned. You can watch it here.
February 7, 2020 – One of the handouts we offer is a list of links to helpful online documents, including help recognizing hearing loss, how to join HLAA-Washington, and how to shop for hearing aids. Please feel free to download and share with any who need it.
January 28, 2020 – Did you know that you can borrow assistive listening equipment, including hearing loops, from the wonderful folks at the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH)? Learn more here.
Note below the four bills to help people with hearing loss that are currently moving through the 2020 Washington State legislative session in Olympia.
January 15, 2020 – People who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing may be able to designate that on their hearing license (HB 2272), and new funding in HB 1623 is aimed to help the ASL interpreter shortage in Washington State public schools.
January 13, 2020 – Private insurance in Washington State could soon be required to cover hearing aids for children. Write to Eileen Cody and your legislators to voice your support for HB 2410 this legislative session. A public hearing is coming soon.
January 9, 2020 – Public TVs throughout Washington State may be required to have captions on, if SB 6182 succeeds. Note that Seattle has a similar requirement; this would make the requirement state-wide.
You can testify in support at the Senate Law & Justice Committee Hearing on January 16, 2020, at 10:00 am in Room 4 of the John A Cherberg Building at the State Capitol in Olympia.
January 7, 2020 – We often get requests for signs that let folks know a loop is available. Here’s our current version:
The older, blue version:
You can download and print these according to ADA/Access Board_Signage Requirements. Or stay tuned—we’re working on a way to have these available for purchase.
January 3, 2020 – Introducing Joss, American Girl’s doll of the year. Like the real-life athlete Joss Kendrick, Joss the doll wears a hearing aid. Thank you to Karen Utter for attending the Seattle-area launch party on behalf of HLAA-WA.
October 24, 2019 – Let’s Loop Seattle joined the Washington Senior Lobby Conference in Tacoma, and HLAA-WA President Cynthia Stewart and Get in the Hearing Loop national advocate Juliette Sterkens shared information about hearing loss. Here’s a video from TV Washington. You can click here for a copy of her presentation.
November 11, 2019 – Hearing loss and tinnitus are common among veterans and can lead to stress, isolation, and anxiety. The HLAA offers hope, help and support, with free membership, free convention registration, and a virtual support group to honor our veterans.
October 31, 2019 – Longtime local advocate and hearing loss hero Lou Touchette tells his story in this video for CaptionCall.
October 23, 2019 – SeaTac Airport has loops!
SeaTac airport is is pilot testing hearing loops with Alaska, Delta, and JetBlue airlines and at the Pathfinder information booth. Stay tuned for more information about how the SeaTac loop project is going and how it will be expanded.
Try SeaTac Airport’s loops, especially the ones between Alaska Gates D1 and D2. Then express your appreciation to the Port of Seattle, SeaTac Airport, and the airlines for making travel inclusive.
October 25, 2019 – How to Get the Most from Hearing Aids & Hearing Loops: A Workshop with Audiologists Juliette Sterkens and Nichole Kingham, 11:00 – 1:00 with a complimentary light lunch at 12:30, King County Library Service Center, Issaquah, 960 Newport Way NW. Loop and CART provided.
October 26, 2019 – HLAA-WA Annual Meeting, 10 am – noon, Evergreen UU Church, Marysville. Hear Juliette Sterkens speak, learn about HLAA-WA’s activities, and meet members and others with hearing loss. Loop and CART provided.
September 27, 2019 – Join the Seattle Mariners for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community Night on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Ticket booths are looped, and ASL will be provided on-field during the national anthem.
August 26, 2019 – If you’re waiting for a replacement for hearing loops and telecoils, you’re going to be waiting a looooooonnnngggg time, so bring snacks.
The International Hearing Access Committee recently predicted that a substitute for loops is 10-15 years away. Yes, 10-15 YEARS.
A replacement system would have to be non-proprietary, very low-cost, and lack latency and delay, among other factors. So for now, the universal, user-friendly, crystal clear loop/telecoil combo is the go-to technology.
August 16, 2019 – Two happy bits of loop news to report…
Town Hall Seattle’s newly installed loops are ready in all three spaces!
Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon is looped!
Thank you to donors, advocates, installers, and venue managers who made these loops happen.
August 14 and 24, 2019 – To improve their accessibility, Woodland Park Zoo is hosting two focus groups for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing. What could the zoo do to help you hear better? Let them know.
Saturday, August 10, 2019, 10:00 am – 12 noon
Saturday, August 24, 2019, 11 am – 1 pm
RSVP to Tany.firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.548.2592.
Download this flyer for more information.
August 5, 2019 – Thank you, Juliette Sterkens, for visiting Panorama Retirement in Lacey, Washington! Come back to Washington State anytime. And soon!
September 21, 2019 – Hearing loss advocate, actor, and performer Kimberly Parker will give a workshop called “Welcome to My World: My Experience with Hearing Loss” on September 21, 2019, 10 am to 2:30 pm at the Poulsbo Library, 700 NE Lincoln Road, Poulsbo, Washington. Hearing loop, CART, and ASL will be available.
RSVP is required (attendance is limited): diane dot cinney at dshs.wa.gov.
August 1, 2019 – Hearing loop signs are important. People with hearing loss can use your hearing loop only if they know about it.
If you have a hearing loop, we urge you download, copy, and use this symbol on your…
- Event announcements
- Social media
- Anywhere people need to see it!
July 18, 2019 – We’re sad to report the passing of Pat Kricos, an early hearing loop star advocate and former national HLAA board member. She was a mentor and a guiding light to us as we began our looping advocacy. We’ll miss you, Pat, but we carry your spirit forward in our work, so that all may hear.
July 12, 2019 – You’re invited to the HLAA-WA annual family picnic at Lake Boren Park in Newcastle, Washington, August 3, 2019, 11-5 pm (eat at 12:30 pm.) For more details, including what to bring and how to get there, see our flyer.
July 15, 2019 – What happens when you’re advocating for a loop, and your initial answer is “no?”
April 29, 2019 – The hearing aid consumer education bill (SB 5210) was signed by Governor Inslee today.
We’ll be working with the Department of Health on rule-making and time. We’ll keep you posted.
Thank YOU to everyone who helped make this happen.
June 26, 2019 – Congratulations to HLAA-WA’s Diana Thompson for her Inspire Positive Aging Advocacy & Activism award from Sound Generations. Diana serves not only HLAA-WA but also several other committees and agencies, helping others age positively, too.
June 24, 2019 – The Get in the Hearing Loop toolkit is ready for download! This kit is professionally written, edited, designed, and branded.
Manufacturers, installers, advocates, or anyone who needs to hear better in a public place can use these tools to get more loops in more venues–and more sound in more ears.
June 20, 2019 – We’re with Ann Thomas at the HLAA 2019 Convention, showing emerging and even established local loop chapters how to make loop-friendly communities a reality.
May 1, 2019 – May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. How can you help people with hearing loss, this month and year ’round?
You can start by joining the Hearing Loss Association of America and the Hearing Loss Association of America—Washington. Learn about hearing loss, communication access, hearing aids, how to communicate with someone with hearing loss, and so much more.
April 29, 2019 – GiveBIG is coming May 8, 2019. Giving to HLAA-WA supports programs like Let’s Loop Seattle, local meetings, educational efforts, and much more.
April 3, 2019 – Join our friends at Rooted in Rights
and Disability Rights Washington for a film festival and discussion on May 7, 2019, at the Forum at Town Hall Seattle. CART and captioned videos; ASL on request. We hope the new loops at Town Hall will be working, and we’ll update you as soon as we know.
April 1, 2019 – New Mexico now has a telecoil education law! The governor signed House Bill 48, which requires telecoil counseling for hearing aid buyers. Way to go, Steve Frazier and our fellow New Mexican advocates.
January 1, 2019 – Adults under Washington State Medicaid can now receive a hearing aid (thanks to SB 5179, which restored coverage.) Final rules are being written, but interim rules are in effect. Here’s more info from DSHS.
Please share this news far and wide, so that people with hearing loss can get the help they need.
November 28, 2018 – Interested in a loop for your home? Here’s a step-by-step guide from Loopin’ Lou Touchette.
September 10, 2018 – The iHearU app now lets you indicate hearing loops. Are you using the iHearU app? Designed by UW professor and hearing loss advocate Dr. Kelly Tremblay, iHearU allows you to rate the sound level of restaurants, places of worship, hospitals, and more.
iHearU needs YOU! The more places that are rated, the more helpful it is for people with hearing loss and their families and friends. Download it from your phone and start using it today. It’s free.
August 27, 2018 – IEC Standards Brochure from Contacta. What do we mean when we say that hearing loops need to be installed to IEC Standards, and why does it matter? Click here to read more from Contacta.
August 23, 2018 – Buying a hearing aid can be confusing and overwhelming. This brochure from HLAA-WA can help. You know you need to ask for a telecoil, but did you know you have a 30-day waiting period before your sale becomes final? Find out more about your legal rights, types of hearing loss, types of hearing aids, what to ask your audiologist, and more.
June 5, 2018 – Need help asking for hearing access? Download our brochure for printing, or email it to the venue. Remember, communication access is required by law.
May 21, 2018 – The King County Council proclaimed May 2018 Better Hearing and Speech Month. Thank you, Council members.
March 21, 2018 – Senate Bill 5179 passed and was signed by Governor Inslee! Thank you to everyone who wrote to their lawmaker or testified in support over the bill—and of course, huge thanks to Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature for taking this step toward helping some of our most vulnerable Washingtonians.
Our hearts are full. Hearing aids are now covered for adults on Washington State Medicaid, effective January 1, 2019. Please share this information with anyone who may need it.
April 11, 2017 – Senate Bill 5177, which requires long-term care workers be trained to recognize hearing loss, passed the House unanimously!
Why Hearing Loops?
Emotional and social impact
The emotional and social impacts of hearing loss can be tremendous. Many people, feeling the stigma that surrounds hearing loss, hesitate to get hearing aids or ask for help hearing. Yet untreated hearing loss can isolate people from their friends, families, and communities. Hearing loops are life-changing for many people, reconnecting them and re-engaging people with hobbies, activities, jobs, and community services.
Not treating hearing loss is costly. The financial impact of hearing loss not adequately treated or accommodated has been estimated at $122 billion in lost income and $18 billion in unrealized tax revenue.
Hearing access creates opportunities, civic engagement, professional success, and cultural appreciation. Loop technology is universal: it can be used almost anywhere worldwide, helping communication in transient situations every day for millions.
Experience a loop
Let’s Loop Seattle has helped bring loop technology to many Washington venues. For a list of looped locations in Washington, visit our Loops in Washington page, download our brochure, or check out our list of looped locations (updated February 2019).
Washington State’s Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) has installed loops across the state. Check this list with loops and addresses to access State of Washington government services and assistance via a hearing loop.
To find loops nationally, try LoopFinder, also available as an IOS app, or Loop America. If you’d like to join a loop campaign closer to you, download a a list of other local loop campaigns around the country.
We welcome you–venues, organizations, disability groups, senior groups, veterans groups, and everyday folks of all hearing abilities–on our journey to universal communication access and hearing-friendly neighborhoods.
Commuting and traveling are safer, easier, and more enjoyable when fully accessible to everyone. Airport terminals, trains and train stations, metros, buses, taxis, and all check-in and ticket counters all benefit tremendously from hearing loops.
Clear communication is critical in health care settings. All heath care services– emergency room care, inpatient and outpatient services, surgery, clinics, classes, cafeterias, and gift shops–should be hearing accessible to ensure patient safety and confidentiality.
Participation in public forums is a right of all citizens. Government agencies that create universal access by readily providing communication aids and services (hearing loops, real time captioning, interpreters) encourage collaborative civic engagement.
We must provide all students with an education they deserve and equal opportunities to achieve their goals. Classrooms, auditoriums, and learning centers need to be accessible so that all students can participate and learn.
Universal access allows everyone to understand and enjoy performances without standing in line to check out and wear stigmatizing equipment that may or may not work. Arenas, theatres, and venues can easily provide communication access at ticket windows and food and vendor counters via a simple loop.
The unemployment rate for people with hearing loss is 20% higher than that of the general population. Most people with hearing loss report lifetime earnings of nearly half a million dollars less than their hearing counterparts. Communication access in the workplace is vital to an inclusive 21st century workforce.