Posted by: hlacentralma | August 8, 2017

Hearing Loss Central MA-Convention Highlights

Next Meeting: Saturday September 9, 2017, 10:00 am to noon *            

   * Please note the morning time*

Where:  Northborough Public Library, 34 Main Street, Northborough, MA

Speaker:  Beth Wilson, member of HLAA Central MA chapter steering committee

Topic:  Highlights from the HLAA National Convention

Beth Wilson participated in the national convention June 22-25 in Salt Lake City.  She will share highlights from the workshops, plenary sessions, research symposium, and technology demonstrations she attended.

Beth also spent time exploring the exhibit hall to see what is new in technology and  services. She will share information and discuss materials gathered from the vendors.

CART (computer aided real time captioning) will be provided.

Parking lot is accessed by Patty Lane



Posted by: hlacentralma | August 8, 2017

Senate Passes the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

August 3, 2017

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Barbara Kelley
Executive Director

hlaa in action

Senate Passes the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 Bringing Affordable and Accessible Hearing Health Care Closer to Reality

Bethesda, MD: The U.S. Senate today passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. The bill was already passed by the House of Representatives on July 12. With this groundbreaking legislation Congress has sent a message to America that people with hearing loss need – and deserve – more affordable and accessible hearing health care.

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has supported the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act since it was introduced in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in March of this year. The companion House bill was introduced by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

“Senators Warren and Grassley and Representatives Kennedy and Blackburn – among many others – have worked tirelessly to ensure passage of this bill,” said Barbara Kelley, HLAA executive director. “It is no secret that passing any type of legislation can many times be a long and laborious process because of party disagreements. However, this bill has moved quickly through Congress because both sides of the aisle realize how critically important and badly needed affordable and accessible hearing health care is to consumers.”

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter to adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. In addition, the proposed legislation would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate this new category of OTC hearing aids to ensure they meet the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protection that all other medical devices must meet. This will give consumers the option to purchase a safe, high-quality FDA-regulated device at lower cost.

Creating a new category of OTC hearing devices was one of the 12 recommendations in the report, Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability, issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) in June 2016, which HLAA fully supported.

Since this new category has not yet been created it is unclear how the devices will be defined. However, they should not be confused with products already on the market called PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products). PSAPs cannot legally be marketed to people with hearing loss as a “hearing aid,” only to those with normal hearing as an amplification device.

Kelley continued, “Our consumer voices are powerful. HLAA has led the way for affordable and accessible hearing health care and applauds this historic effort. While it could take several years before the first products come to market we feel it’s important for the FDA to take the time they need to write regulations to ensure safety, efficacy and consumer protection.

“For years, our number one request has been from people who want hearing aids but can’t afford them. This legislation is a step in the right direction and offers hope that the cost of all hearing aids will go down with the anticipated market innovation and competition it will bring. Everyone who needs hearing aids should be able to have them to stay connected to family, remain on the job, and enjoy a high quality of life.”

Now that the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 has been passed by both the House and Senate it will go to the president to sign into law. Once the bill is signed into law it will go to the FDA, who will begin drafting the rules and regulations for it. While the FDA has three years to complete that process we are hopeful that it will be done much sooner.

Don’t Wait to Get Your Hearing Checked
If you think you have a hearing loss, do not wait for over-the-counter hearing aids to come to market. First, there will be an extended rulemaking period where anyone can comment after which the FDA has to evaluate and decide on the standards for an OTC device. Second, not everyone will be able to get help from an OTC device. HLAA recommends seeing an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist if you are having trouble on the phone, asking others to repeat, turning up the volume on your television, or showing other warning signs. Untreated hearing loss can cause falls, isolation, depression, anxiety, and it has been shown that there is a link to cognition. Hearing loss should be prevented, screened for, and treated without delay.

HLAA has been working diligently with lawmakers to have the consumer voice heard. We are currently working with the FDA on labeling of OTC products, product safety and consumer protection. The future of hearing health care is changing, allowing people to make informed choices. HLAA will ensure consumers have unbiased and factual information and updates about new products, regulations, and legislation as they develop.About the Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), founded in 1979, opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA holds annual conventions (HLAA2018 is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 21 – 24), produces Walk4Hearing events in 20 cities, publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, advocates for the rights of people with hearing loss, and has an extensive network of chapters and state organizations across the country. The national headquarters is located at 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. Phone 301.657.2248 or visit

Posted by: hlacentralma | July 13, 2017

hlaa in action

HLAA in Action lets you know what HLAA is doing in the world of advocacy and public policy. Please direct any questions or news to Lise Hamlin, director of public policy.
Advocacy Updates

U.S. House of Representatives Passes the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 Bringing Affordable and Accessible Hearing Health Care Closer to Reality
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. With the passage of this groundbreaking legislation Congress has sent a message to America that people with hearing loss need – and deserve – more affordable and accessible hearing health care. The Senate should be voting on the bill before the end of the summer. [Read more]

FCC is Making Progress on Rules for Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service

In the coming weeks, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS). This means the FCC is writing rules that everyone will have an opportunity to weigh in on regarding captioned telephone service that relies on the internet. Whether you have a captioned phone on your kitchen table or at your desk at work, or an IP CTS captioning app on your smartphone, you have a stake in what the FCC will be saying about how you are able to receive and use this service.[Read more]

We Need Your Input – Take the HLAA/Hearing Health Foundation Survey!
HLAA and the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) are working together to better serve our constituents’ needs and raise awareness of the effects of hearing loss. To get to know you better, HLAA and HHF have collaborated on a survey to learn a little more about you and your hearing loss. The survey takes less than five minutes and your answers are completely anonymous. You can take the survey online at If you would prefer to mail it in, that’s fine too. Simply print the survey, fill it out, and mail it to:

Hearing Health Foundation
363 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Included in the survey are a few questions related to over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Given that this is such a hot topic right now getting your feedback is extremely important, so take just a few minutes and give us your input today!

Next Meeting: Saturday June 10, 2017, 2:00-4:00 PM

Where:  Northborough Public Library, 34 Main Street, Northborough, MA

Guest Speaker:  Jonathan O’Dell, Communication Access, Training and Technology Services Department’s Training Director, MA Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Topic:  Assistive Technology for People with Hearing loss

The next meeting will be on Assistive Technology. There are times when the hearing aid or cochlear implant may not be enough to help us in listening situations. For example, are you able to hear everything in a staff meeting your place of employment; are you able to fully use the telephone or, participate in a community meeting and many more situations?

Jonathan O’Dell will be presenting on this very issue. He is the Director of the Communication, Training and Access Services at the MA Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He is a gifted and entertaining speaker who, no doubt, will provide new information for you!

Please come and bring your questions and thoughts. CART (computer aided real time captioning) will be provided.

Parking lot is accessed by Patty Lane :



Posted by: hlacentralma | April 25, 2017

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Getting Attention

The introduction of recent legislation to create a new class of hearing aids that would be available over the counter (OTC) is starting to bring greater attention to the issue of affordability and accessibility of hearing health care.Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who led the introduction of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discussing the need for this legislation.

And on April 6, the Boston Globe published a front-page article talking about the new legislation.

You can find more information on this hot topic on our website at

Hearing Loss Association of America
7910 Woodmont Ave, Suite 1200 Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-657-2248  |  Fax:
301-913-9413  |  Email:
Copyright © Hearing Loss Association of
America®. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by: hlacentralma | April 25, 2017

Registration for MFA “Matisse in the Studio” is now open

Registration is now open for the ‘Matisse in the Studio’ tour with hearing assisting devices to be held
on Sunday, May 21.

ATTENTION:  The Matisse tour has filled up already but the MFA is planning on running another tour at 10 am on Saturday, 5/20. There will be a minimum of 6 needed for this date with a maximum of 15. Please plan to meet at The Linde entrance.

Registration  instructions are the same:

Please note that the cut-off for each tour will be 15. Because the museum expects large crowds for this exhibit, the time of the tour has been changed to 10:00.

To register:

1. Email Hannah Goodwin <> or call 617-369-3189.

2. In the subject line, put the name of the tour “Matisse in the Studio,” the date ( May 21), and the time of the tour (10:00 a.m.)

3. Indicate whether you want a neckloop or a head set.

4.  Please arrive 15 minutes early to get your neckloop and headset and to make sure that they are working.

5.  Remember that there is a limit of one guest with you. You must register your guest whether or not an ALD is needed.

6.  Tours will leave from the Linde Family Wing Entrance, which is on Museum Road.

7. Email if you register and are then unable to attend.

8. Registration closes on May 12 unless the tours are filled up before that time.
If you have registered and are unable to attend, please let our tour leader Karen Moss ( and Hannah Goodwin ( know via email even if it’s the morning of the tour. It’s helpful in terms of ticket count and equipment.

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