The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has announced that a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type Among Adults, US, 2013, examines vision loss, cognition, mobility, self-care and independent living, but overlooks hearing loss. HLAA notes that hearing loss is the third major public health issue after diabetes and heart disease, yet the CDC study fails to make any mention of hearing loss or its prevalence among US adults.
HLAA reports that it does not accept the fact that the CDC has effectively relegated hearing loss to an invisible disability. The HLAA has taken action, writing a letter to the White House and the CDC to ensure that they rectify this error, and urges others to do the same.
The HLAA asks that people contact Maria Town, associate director at the White House Office of Public Engagement, and deliver the message that people with hearing loss must be included along with other disability groups in all studies that impact public policy and programs. The HLAA has urged the CDC to do a study on the prevalence of hearing loss in the states, and has invited the CDC to partner with HLAA on future projects regarding people with disabilities to ensure that people with hearing loss are included and studies are presented in an accessible way.
“People with hearing loss have been denied communication access in hospitals and doctors’ offices, and by public programs such as Medicare, which does not currently cover the cost of hearing aids,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, executive director of HLAA. “The release of the report comes on the heels of celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we are stunned that they failed to understand the impact of excluding hearing loss as a disability that needs to be addressed.”
Any comments and questions about the HLAA’s advocacy on this matter may be directed to Lise Hamlin, HLAA director of public policy.