We’d love your vote

oticon FOPUpdate November 13, 2017: We were selected for a 3rd place award in Advocacy. Thank you for your support!

We’ve been nominated for an Oticon Focus on People Award! Would you do us the honor of voting for us?

We work hand-in-hand with HLAA and HLAA-WA on many projects, so your support of us also supports their work.

Lately, we’ve….

  • Forged partnerships with Washington Senior Lobby, AARP Washington, and Disability Rights Washington
  • Coordinated with Rooted in Rights on the Like the Mic video
  • Helped pass SB 5177 to require hearing loss recognition training for long-term care workers
  • Worked with SeaTac Airport on their accessibility initiatives

Vote here, and scroll down to pick Cheri Perazzoli.

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Do you like the mic?

My voice is loud enough!”

“I don’t need a microphone!”

“I know you can hear me.”

“Can you hear me? Good!”

When you’re speaking to a group, have you used those phrases an excuse for not using the microphone? If you have, then you’ve left people out.

Forty-eight million Americans experience hearing loss every day. Even people with “good” hearing sometimes struggle to hear in large or acoustically challenging spaces–or even smaller meetings or events. But many of these folks are too shy or embarrassed to speak up and ask you to use a microphone (or other assistive listening technology.)

So when you set the mic down, you leave people out. Pick it up and use it, and you help many people, slowing down the conversation so it’s easier to follow. A mic helps facilitate your meeting. And a microphone is the key to all assistive listening technology, like hearing loops and remote CART.

How can you learn to like the mic? Start by watching this fun, informative video by our wise, talented friends at Rooted in Rights and Disability Rights Washington. Learn to use the mic properly and your confidence will rise–and more people will will benefit.like the mic screenshot

The mic isn’t scary, we promise. But it is a solid first step to create inclusive, hearing-friendly events and meetings.


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Neighborhood access, Skagit style

Led by two of our star advocates, Jerry and Joanna Olmstead, hearing access in the Burlington area is happening.

And by happening, we mean happening.

In Burlington, Dimensional Communications installed loops in the Burlington City Council Chambers.

Island Hospital in Anacortes has counter loops at the intake and emergency desks–look for the blue ear symbol. Our advocates are working so staff are trained to use the loops and that they’re available, not left in a cupboard. Meanwhile, an Island Hospital committee is looking at ways to improve services for people with hearing loss.

Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon is considering adding a hearing loop.

You already know about the hearing loops at the Burlington Library.

And the hearing loop at Skyline Club House in Anacortes helps make it a well-loved, hearing-friendly event space. We need more of those, eh?

When we talk about boots-on-the-ground advocates and hearing-friendly neighborhoods, this is what we mean. You don’t have to drive to Olympia or call your senator (though we urge you to do those things if you can.) You can simply ask for hearing access in your own back yard, and keep asking until it’s provided.

It really works.

more burlington


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Seventy-five loops, and counting…

Seventy-five loops? That’s a lot of loops. That’s what you’ll find at Washington State Community Services Offices (CSOs) and Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) offices across the state. Oh, and two of those loops are in their mobile vans.

ODHH photo w logos

Inspired by the Let’s Loop Seattle and Let’s Loop America campaigns, the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) began its own Let’s Loop DSHS campaign. The loops were funded with State General Fund dollars, and more funding has been added for repairs and replacements.

“For DSHS to be proactive and ready to provide loops should any client with hearing loss walk into the office to me is an excellent customer service.  This is preferable to being reactive and unprepared without the proper equipment.  Hence we committed the resources to accommodate clients’ communication needs,” said Eric Raff, ODHH Director.

You can find hearing loops at the Seattle North and Mercer 1 & 2 offices and the Spokane, Puyallup, White Center, and Kennewick offices—plus lots more. The mobile CSOs are an especially handy resource in rural areas. The vans can help with cash, food or childcare assistance, eligibility reviews, EBT cards, and some Medicare and Medicaid questions. Check the mobile CSO’s schedule to find out when a looped van is near you.

Eric and the ODHH staff welcome feedback on the loops so they can track who’s using them and how well they work. When you visit, look for the sign, turn your hearing aid to T-coil mode, make sure the loop is on (it’s OK to ask!), and give it a try. If the loop doesn’t work, politely let them know, and refer them to us if they need assistance. The ODHH is working on providing more signs and publicity so even more people can use the loops.

The State of Washington ODHH provides many services for people with hearing loss, including relay services, public video phones, interpreters, CART, and case management. For more information about their services, visit their website.

 Let us know if you’ve used these loops and how they worked for you: loopseattle@gmail.com. To see if the office near you is looped, visit the front page of www.loopseattle.org for a downloadable and printable list. As always, please thank ODHH staff for this valuable service and share the news with people with hearing loss.

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Advocacy in action: 5177 passes unanimously

5177 Signing 2

Advocacy works. It really does. Thanks to your hard work and support, long-term care staff will be trained to recognize hearing loss and seek assistance when it’s needed: Senate Bill 5177 passed unanimously and was signed by Governor Inslee.

5177 Signing 1

Hearing loss is often overlooked by caregivers, especially in long-term care. Other medical issues, especially health problems that are urgent, take priority. Yet hearing loss is a serious health issue, too. Untreated hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of dementia symptoms, falls, depression, and isolation.

And hearing loss interferes with caregiver communication. Patients can misunderstand instructions or information about their own conditions. Caregivers can misinterpret hearing loss a behavior problem or confusion.

A huge thank you to everyone who contacted their lawmaker to urge 5177’s pass. Your energy and compassion truly do have an influence. Stay tuned for more ways you can help people with hearing loss with crucial public policies.

5177 Signing 5

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