"Advocacy means telling people what you want."
- Assistive Listening Systems -- The Loop.
Currently we are advocating for more looped facilities on Cape Cod -- meeting rooms, houses of worship, even customer service windows can all be looped at relatively low cost so that we don't have to strain to hear. People with hearing loss should have equal access to facilities, information, and the media.
- www.hearingloop.org -- the nationwide effort. Lots of information here.
- www.assist2hear.com This advocacy page has a sample letter to request loops in a venue. Elsewhere on the site, see type of available loops.
Transcription of a talk by New York City looping advocate Ellen Semel, describing how she became involved in looping, and what the NYC chapter does to promote looping for the hearing impaired communit
Adobe Acrobat document [127.9 KB]
Rockland Trust Bank in West Dennis recently tested a Williams InfoLoop at the bank. Manager Karyn Ransom told us that she had some patrons who could benefit from it, and the equipment was loaned by Audio Associates in Orleans. A number of patrons asked about the InfoLoop, so it was a good learning experience. As often happens, people with hearing aids do not know whether they have a telecoil. We thank Mrs. Ransom for her interest in her hearing impaired patrons, and for being the first bank on the Cape to test the equipment.
Please contact us if you would like to borrow the InfoLoop at your place of business.
Video series on assistive technology from the Hearing Loss Association of America.
- Movie Theaters
We believe individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and late-deafened should have the same freedom as anyone else:
- To attend any showing of any movie in any theater at any time;
- To be seated anywhere within the theater with their family and friends;
- To receive equal access to the audible portions of the movie through high quality captioning;
- To be guaranteed that the presentation of captioning is consistently reliable.
There are over 60 movie theaters on Cape Cod. The Cape Cinema in Dennis sometimes shows subtitled international subtitled films, and has headphones you can borrow at the box office.
Regal Entertainment Group controls 2/3 of the screens on the Cape, and had been showing open captioned movies at one screen in the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis for several years, without publicity. Since spring 2012, they have been offering
captioning eyeglasses and descriptive video headphones in most of the Hyannis
Many people find that the headphone setup in theaters is not turned on, or the headphones are not functioning. The same may be true of the special captioning eyeglasses or descriptive video earphones. It's best to call ahead and try to reserve what you want, and make sure the equipment is functioning. At the theater, you should tell the management why you are there, and that you and all the people in your group would have stayed home if the movie were not accessible to you!
- CART at Town Meetings.
People with hearing loss can and should participate in local affairs and Town Meetings are pretty hard to understand without CART, real time captioning, just like the television, but on a big screen. CART will be at the upcoming Harwich and Dennis town meetings on May 5th and 6th. Request CART for your town.
- Quiet Restaurants
We like to go out to eat, but noisy restaurants just give us a headache. So we try to go out early, before the crowds, ask for a quiet table when we make a reservation or ask the hostess, or even politely ask for music to be turned down. (That's advocating.) We are also trying to publicize quiet restaurants.
- The Oyster House in Dennisport. Has a partial accoustical ceiling. Ask for a booth along the wall, and go early, and you will be pleased that you can carry on a conversation.
- Bobby Byrnes' Pubs do not play music because Mr. Byrnes wants people to be able to talk there.
Noise Pollution Clearing House website -- www.nonoise.org
- Legislation on the national level: Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act, credit on your income tax
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit has been introduced in the House of Representatives for almost 10 years. Jim Ryun originally introduced the idea in 2003. Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Michigan) with 21 House members introduced H.R. 2329, the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act, which would provide a tax credit of $500 per hearing aid every five years for seniors 55 and older and for dependents of taxpayers. Although H.R. 2329 will not cover the entire cost of hearing aids, the tax credit provides some financial relief to those in need of the devices. The bill was introduced in May 2007 during Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Ten million older Americans have age-related hearing loss. A study by the National Council on Aging shows that, left untreated, hearing loss often results in distorted communication, isolation, withdrawal, depression, anger, and severely reduced overall psychological health, in addition to an average loss of income per household of up to $12,000 per year. Details at Hearing Loss Association of America, hearingloss.org and Library of Congress Legislative Information, thomas.loc.gov.
Our Massachusetts senators have never become co-sponsors. Bills won’t pass without co-sponsors. Contact your legislators and ask them to become co-sponsors!
There is a huge amount of information on insurance and other topics in the Advocacy section of the Hearing Loss Association of America website.
When will it happen?
- Insurance coverage for hearing aids
- Tax breaks for hearing aid purchases
from the Ida Institute www.idainstitute.com
The Ida Institue in Denmark made a website to share the ideas from a competition to inspire individuals and organizations to take action and raise awareness of hearing loss in their community featuring ideas that were the most easy-to-implement for individuals, clinics, schools, nonprofit organizations, and businesses.
The website will be a collaborative process as people implement the ideas in their communities and share information.