Support 2019 legislation now!
Let’s Loop Seattle and HLAA-WA support Initiative 1000 (I-1000) to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in Washington State. The initiative would overturn a Tim Eyman-led anti-Affirmative Action initiative passed in 1998.
You can voice your support for the initiative here.
April 29, 2019 – The Hearing Aid Consumer Protection Bill (SB 5210) was signed by Governor Inslee.
Consumers will get the information they need to untangle the confusion and overwhelm around buying hearing aids. With help from Department of Health rules, audiologists and hearing aid dispensers will provide needed education to people with hearing loss as they make the important (and often expensive) investment in a hearing aid.
Thank YOU for helping us get this far by sharing, liking, and calling and writing your lawmakers.
Let’s Loop Seattle is advocating for Telecoil and Bluetooth Consumer Education Legislation for Hearing Aid Buyers. Senate Bill 5210 and its companion legislation, House Bill 1078, require any person fitting or dispensing hearing aids to educate their customers – before fitting – of the uses, benefits, and limitations of telecoil and Bluetooth technologies.
Please download our flyer (low vision version here) and consumer testimonials, and feel free to send them to legislators, venues, audiologists, organizations, and anyone who needs more information.
Current Status (updated April 4, 2019)
Senate Bill 5210 passed the Senate on March 12, 2109! Thank you for your calls and emails! The bill will likely come to another House floor vote soon.
The bill has undergone changes, including an amendment stating the Department of Health will define the current technologies, noting that they must consider whether the technologies are compatible with ADA-compliant assisitive listening systems.
Write your representative and urge them to pass SB 5210 when it reaches the House floor. Click here to find your representatives’ contact information.
Share your story, if you can, about not being told about telecoils.
House Bill 1078 has been introduced for the Washington State 2019-20 legislative session and is now with the Health Care & Wellness Committee. Efforts will likely be directed toward SB 5210 instead of this House Bill, but please check back for updates.
Why is this legislation important?
People with hearing aids must have a telecoil-enabled hearing aid or CI – and know how to use it – in order to wirelessly connect to hearing loops and other ADA-mandated public Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs). Without understanding telecoils, people with hearing loss might not choose the best hearing aids for their needs and lifestyle, nor experience the full functionality of their hearing aids. And they might not gain full public communication access, despite investing perhaps thousands of dollars in their hearing aids.
Telecoils are the bridge between a hearing aid and an FM, infrared, or induction loop public ALS. Audiologist and national loop advocate Juliette Sterkens, AuD, shares her thoughts on why telecoils and hearing loops are vital for people with hearing loss—and why she’s now a full-time loop evangelist. And here’s a letter of support for telecoil laws from Robert Bishton, BC-HIS, Hear We Are LLC/Second Sense Hearing Network, Rome, New York.
How this legislation is a win for everyone
Consumers: Dealing with hearing loss is difficult, but telecoil and Bluetooth technologies enable people with hearing loss to gain greater communication access and to live life more fully and safely. This legislation mandates consumers receive the information they need to make an educated choice.
Audiologists and hearing aid dispensers: As trusted advisors, audiologists and hearing aid dispensers can build patient loyalty and trust, and a good reputation, by helping consumers make an informed choice. By sharing information about telecoils, Bluetooth, and assistive listening systems, consumers have the opportunity to hear more easily, in more locations. Simply put, an educated customer is a happy customer.
Community at large: Hearing friendly communities benefit from including people with hearing loss. Bottom line: more citizens with telecoil-enabled hearing devices means greater participation across civic activities, including government services, healthcare, education, places of worship, and civic and arts centers.
Friends and family: When people have, and know how to use, telecoil-enabled hearing aids, they can join family members and friends at public events, creating shared experiences and memories.
Business and Public Venues: With an investment in an ADA-mandated ALS and more telecoil-savvy consumers, a business can welcome more patrons and customers with hearing loss—and their friends and family who accompany them. Inclusive spaces are a wonderful way for a business to express its commitment to making an equitable, welcoming community for everyone.
America is getting in the loop! Many businesses across the country have invested in loops and other ALSs. Locally, last month the King County Council installed a hearing loop in its chambers.
To find hearing-friendly businesses near you, check Loop Finder and ALD Locator. And to read more about the Get in the Hearing Loop Campaign, click here.
Organization and Agency Support, as of 3/9/19*
- Hearing Loss Association of America (Read this letter of suport from Barbara Kelley, HLAA Executive Director)
- Hearing Loss Association of America–Washington State Association
- Washington State Senior Citizens’ Lobby – unanimous support of 34 member agencies
- Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA), Washington State Department of Social & Health Services
- Fuse Washington
- NW Access Fund
What you can do to help
It’s super easy to support these bills.
- Email or call your local legislators using District Finder. Let them know you want their help in adopting this legislation. If you can, share a relevant personal story for greater impact.
- Read consumer testimonials of how telecoils in hearing aids have made a significant difference in the lives of people with hearing loss, and why people are supporting these bills. Share your own story with your legislator and on our Loop Seattle Facebook page. Include 2-3 statements specific to your experiences and thoughts in support for the bill.
- Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions about HB 1078 and SB 5210, such as “What’s a telecoil anyway?” and “Will the bill increase taxes or costs?” and “Why both telecoils and Bluetooth technology?”
- Use the Washington State Legislature website to comment directly on the bills.
House Bill 1078 Senate Bill 5210
You can use this 1000-character as an example when you enter your comment. We encourage you to share your own personal experiences and thoughts, too.
I strongly support this consumer-friendly telecoil bill. This bill will empower people with hearing loss to embrace the full functionality of their hearing aids and help them live, work, travel, worship, and play independently, as others do.
Hearing aids are vital communication tools for people with hearing loss. Yet too many people leave their hearing aids at home because they don’t know how to use their telecoil to hear better in public. Telecoils are the key to accessing public assistive listening systems like hearing loops. But hundreds of venues in Washington are inaccessible to people with hearing aids who aren’t aware of their telecoils or don’t know how or when to use them.
This no-cost bill will help people make the most of their investment in hearing aids—which can cost several thousand dollars—and to be able to hear clearly in places like King County Council, Town Hall Seattle, churches, the Metro Westlake station, the Federal Way Performing Arts & Events, Center, and more.
Be an advocate
Beyond actively supporting current hearing access legislation, you can help create hearing friendly communities in other ways, too. Visit our Be An Advocate page for support in asking for hearing loops in public venues and how to build a local hearing loop movement.