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Deaf History That — “Angeline Fuller Fischer”

News from NAD.org - June 23, 2017 - 12:54pm

Have you read a poem written by Angeline Fuller Fischer? #deafhistoryTHAT #ASLstories

2017 Summer Interns

News from NAD.org - June 21, 2017 - 7:25am

The NAD Internship Program is designed for college students and recent graduates interested in gaining valuable experience in a creative, fast-paced nonprofit organization. The interns bring a diverse set of experiences, skills, and most importantly, a willingness to learn and to contribute to our mission and goals.

(L-R: Nathaniel, Claudia, Lena, Jeremy, Nida, Ernesto, and Shirley)


Nida Din
As a deaf person, Nida has experienced and seen discrimination against the deaf community, especially in education, employment, mental health, and healthcare. Nida strongly believes that deaf people should be given a fair chance to show their abilities, develop their personalities, and live their life to the fullest. Nida has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Consulting and Change Management at the University of Texas (Hook ‘em Horns!) in Austin. Nida just completed her first-year attending the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas. After finishing law school in the next two years, Nida plans to advocate to promote a fully accessible world for deaf people. Nida appreciates the opportunity to be this year’s Nancy J. Bloch Scholarship intern.

Claudia Giordano
Claudia was born and raised in the Garden State, in Southern Jersey specifically, where she grew up loving to eat fresh sweet corn with her family. Claudia recently graduated from Gallaudet University in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and Family Child Studies. Claudia was raised by a single hearing mother, who learned American Sign Language, incorporated Deaf Culture, and engaged with our deaf community. Claudia believes that it is important to ensure that all families with deaf and hard of hearing children have access to resources they need. During her internship, she works closely with Tawny Holmes, NAD Education Policy Counsel, to learn these tools to better support and collaborate with professionals and parents. The internship experience has allowed her to appreciate the hard work and efforts of being an advocate.

Nathaniel Kelly
Nathaniel is originally from New York City and currently lives in Washington, D.C.  Nathaniel is a senior at Gallaudet University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies. He is thrilled to have an opportunity to intern with Zainab Alkebsi, NAD Policy Counsel. Nathaniel looks forward to completing his projects and learning about current policy issues impacting our deaf community. After graduation, he wants to work for a non-profit organization. With this internship, he hopes to gain a crystal-clear understanding of how a non-profit organization works and how to advocate for the community’s needs in different areas. Nathaniel enjoys working with people and making a difference in as many ways as possible.

Lena Kettering
Lena was born in the Philippines before moving to the United States with her family. In high school, after reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the second time, Lena knew that she wanted to be an attorney to advocate for others. Lena graduated from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While at UCLA, Lena took some American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf History courses and fell in love with Deaf Culture. Eventually, Lena decided to pursue a career in deaf advocacy and deaf rights. Lena moved to Washington, D.C. in August 2016, and is currently a law student at The George Washington University Law School (GW). For her internship, Lena is working closely with the NAD Law and Advocacy Center to advocate for the legal rights of deaf and hard of hearing people across the United States. When Lena isn’t at work, you can find her at home reading the latest book on social psychology, or watching a stand-up special on Netflix.

Victoria Morel (not pictured)
Victoria was born and raised in upstate New York and is going into her third year at the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. Victoria is considering a career in disability rights advocacy, specifically for the deaf community. Victoria seized the opportunity to intern at one of the nation’s premier civil rights organization, the NAD, with Anna Bitencourt (NAD Attorney). Victoria met Anna during #NAD2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Victoria is extremely thankful to be involved in experiencing a diverse work environment and deaf culture since she grew up oral in a strong Dominican family whose primary languages were English and Spanish while attending mainstream schools. After her internship, Victoria will be the Director of Academic Affairs in the NTID’s Student Congress (NSC) at RIT for the 2017-2018 school year.

Ernesto Rodriguez
Ernesto graduated from the California School for the Deaf – Riverside (CSDR) and is currently a student at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf / Rochester Institute of Technology (NTID/RIT). Ernesto studies Business Technology and is the manager of the RIT Women’s volleyball team. He was born and raised in Oxnard, California. Ernesto loves indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, hiking, art, and movies! He believes this internship is an amazing opportunity for him to network and gain valuable experience.

Shirley Ann Shannon Martinez
Shirley was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida and moved to Puerto Rico when she was six years old. She attended a deaf school, Colegio San Gabriel, in San Juan for three years. Eventually, she moved to a mainstream school as the only deaf student in beautiful Aguadilla where she grew up. Aguadilla will always be home for her. Shirley studied at the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla for four years, studying Elementary Education. Later, she transferred to Gallaudet University in the Fall of 2013 and recently graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies. Gallaudet University was an enriching experience because it helped Shirley learn more about her deaf identity. Shirley modeled for Miss and Mister Deaf International representing Miss Puerto Rico in July 2016 in Las Vegas. She won the title as Miss Deaf America. She plans to return to Puerto Rico with the goal of supporting the deaf community.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and recently graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies. Jeremy believes this internship provides a great opportunity to better understand how the NAD works behind the scenes. He had not been involved with the NAD until now! He appreciates working with the other interns and enjoys discussing projects together. Jeremy’s hobbies include watching WWE and relaxing outside when the weather allows.

How to Contact Your Legislator

News from NAD.org - June 20, 2017 - 7:17am

ADVOCACY TIP: What is the quickest way to find your U.S. Congress representative’s contact information if you have any concerns related to a legislative bill? The NAD summer interns will show you how! #takebackdeafed #legislativesavvy #deafed #advocacytip #UScongress

President Updates — May 2017

News from NAD.org - May 30, 2017 - 10:12am

Melissa brings your attention to the re-authorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act and invites you to the next NAD Leadership and Training Conference this October in Oklahoma City. For the first time ever at NLTC, we will have a Racial Justice pre-conference training session and regional mini-conferences!

View Tawny’s video alert here.

Explore NLTC Website here.


Ask Howard Anything / May 2017

News from NAD.org - May 30, 2017 - 6:28am

Can you ask for an interpreter for a conference? What about the doctor’s office? The answer is effective communication must be provided. When you find yourself in that situation, we have different advocacy letters available for you to use and show to the person responsible. Explore our Advocacy Letters. #AskHoward


NBC News: Millions of Americans Need Affordable Hearing Aids, HLAA Warns in Extended Interview

HLAA Updates - May 23, 2017 - 6:26am
Tue, 05/23/2017

Barbara Kelley, executive director of Hearing Loss Association of America told NBC News that it is vital for Congress to act to provide millions of Americans with hearing loss with affordable, quality hearing aids.

Watch full interview - Captioned

Watch full interview - Not Captioned

NBC News: Legislation Pushes For Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

HLAA Current News - May 23, 2017 - 6:20am
Tue, 05/23/2017

There are 48 million people with hearing loss in America, and up to 85 percent of people who could benefit from a hearing aid don't use one. To solve the problem, lawmakers are considering a less expensive, over-the-counter option.

Story aired May 22 on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Watch video

Deaf History That — “Transportation”

News from NAD.org - May 19, 2017 - 7:52am

How did deaf schools flourish? What were some ways to travel? How were news from different parts of the nation shared with other deaf people? #deafhistoryTHAT #ASLstories

Melissa S. Draganac-Hawk

News from NAD.org - May 18, 2017 - 6:19pm

Melissa Draganac-Hawk (Pennsylvania), a first-generation American of deaf immigrant Peruvian parents, received a master’s degree in Linguistics and two bachelor’s degrees in Theater Production & Performance and American Sign Language from Gallaudet University. Currently, she is the Principal of Early Childhood Education at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and an adjunct professor of American Sign Language at the University of Pennsylvania.

Involved in the deaf community, Melissa was the president of the National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and was the Executive Director of Deaf Women United. Melissa has been involved with the NAD throughout her life in various capacities: as a youth, she participated in the Junior NAD and the Youth Leadership Camp, and as an adult she directed the Miss Deaf America Finals in 2002 and 2008. She has been an NAD member since 1988, focusing on issues affecting youth and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband, Sam, and son, Etzio.

Opening the market to over-the-counter hearing aids: Something Congress can agree on

HLAA Current News - May 18, 2017 - 3:29pm
Thu, 05/18/2017

Jan Blustein and Frank R. Lin, Opinion Contributors - THE HILL, published on May 17, 2017:

We are a nation divided:  Democrats versus Republicans, Red States versus Blue States. On countless major issues, consensus seems impossible.  But there is one thing that members of the Congress apparently can agree on: Hearing aids are too darned expensive.

At $2,500 apiece, hearing aids are beyond the reach of many Americans --- especially seniors who are most likely to need them (among people 70 and older, two-thirds have a hearing loss affecting their daily conversation).  The cost of hearing aids is not covered by Medicare, or by most insurance companies.  But hearing loss has serious health consequences:  research has shown that it is associated with isolation, depression, and the risk of developing dementia. Only one in five people with a hearing loss uses a hearing aid. If hearing aids were widely available, the potential benefits to societal health and well-being are immense.

Read the whole article.

Bill would make hearing aids available over the counter

HLAA Current News - May 18, 2017 - 3:04pm
Thu, 05/18/2017

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire submitted this column to The Eagle-Tribune published on May 7, 2017:

Older Americans deserve a high quality of life, with opportunities to stay active and engaged. 

Unfortunately, age-related hearing loss can present obstacles to social interaction and challenges in daily life. When you experience hearing loss, everything from going to the movies to talking on the phone or chatting with loved ones can become a burden. And hearing loss is linked with negative health outcomes, including dementia. 

For those who experience mild to moderate hearing loss, these negative impacts could be prevented with the assistance of hearing aids. Yet, for far too many Americans, the combination of stigma and high costs keep them from using the hearing aids they need. 

Research has shown that nearly 30 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, which includes nearly half of all adults in their seventies. But, largely due to high costs, only 14 percent of those who are living with hearing loss use assistive hearing technologies. 

Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, and even when hearing aids are covered by private insurance as is required in New Hampshire, seniors can still be stuck with bills totaling thousands of dollars. One survey found that the average out-of-pocket cost for hearing aids nationwide is $2,400.

Read the whole article.

This Week in Bethesda - 5/12/2017

HLAA Updates - May 12, 2017 - 2:31pm
Fri, 05/12/2017

This Week in Bethesda (TWIB) is a weekly report from the HLAA national office. TWIB is not the only news channel from the national office. Be sure to encourage people to sign up for the free, online HLAA e-News. It is published twice a month with one issue focusing on HLAA advocacy work (“HLAA in Action”) and one on general news. You will also find invaluable news and information in Hearing Loss Magazine (a benefit of joining HLAA).

There are some occasions where TWIB is not published; for example, holiday periods, HLAA Convention time, and when the Board of Trustees meets.

Click on the dates below to view the report for that week. Reports are in PDF format.

2017 2016 2015

There are no prior postings to October 2015 of TWIB because it was not made public until then.

HLAA Stands Up for Consumers at FTC Workshop

HLAA Updates - May 4, 2017 - 8:20am
Thu, 05/04/2017

HLAA represented consumers with hearing loss at a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop on Tuesday, April 18, titled, “Now Hear This: Competition, Innovation, & Consumer Protection Issues in Hearing Health Care.” The FTC brought together researchers, health care providers, industry representatives, consumer representatives, policymakers and others to examine ways in which enhanced competition and innovation might increase the availability and adoption of hearing aids by people who need them but aren’t currently using them.

In addition, the workshop looked at how to balance consumer health and safety issues with consumer interest in greater competition and innovation. The FTC also wants to ensure that consumers have access to truthful and non-misleading information about hearing health products and services. 

HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley and Board of Trustees Member KR Liu were on the panel, “Informing Consumer Choice in Hearing Health Care.” Barbara talked about HLAA’s position on affordable and accessible health care, including our support for recent legislation that would require the FDA to create a new category of over-the-counter wearable hearing devices (read more about our Call to Action below). KR talked about her experience as a person with hearing loss who would like to see innovation and competition in the industry.

HLAA had a strong presence at the workshop. In addition to Barbara and KR, Board Members Don Doherty, Richard Einhorn and Meg Wallhagen attended, as did HLAA Director of Public Policy Lise Hamlin and HLAA Professional Advisor on Technology Linda Kozma-Spytek.

Dan Gillman, J.D., Ph.D., from the FTC Office of Policy Planning, said at the end of the day that the topics covered will part of an “ongoing inquiry.” The FTC is accepting public comments until May 18, 2017. More information about the workshop can be found on the FTC website.

HLAA’s involvement in this workshop – and any other forum where people with hearing loss are considered – is critical to our work in representing you, the consumer. Further, when we speak our voice is heard and respected. In fact, in a follow-up note to Barbara after the workshop, Dan Wood, Ph.D., an economist in the FTC's Division of Consumer Protection in the Bureau of Economics, commented:

Thank you very much for your participation in the Hearing Health workshop. We greatly appreciated your presentation and insightful comments during our consumer information panel. The discussion was enlightening, and your contribution helped greatly to further the understanding of the issues.

We realize that you have many demands on your time. Your willingness to participate in the workshop represents a significant commitment to help us better understand the competition and consumer protection issues relevant to this important topic. So, again, thank you for sharing your time, expertise, and insights with us.

You can be sure that HLAA will be there for you – people with hearing loss who need affordable and accessible hearing health care.

ALERT: EHDI Is Up for Re-Authorization

News from NAD.org - April 27, 2017 - 2:09pm

We NEED you to contact your Senators and Representatives to influence these legislators to change the law and make sure deaf and hard of hearing children get the language services they need. Watch NAD Education Policy Counsel Tawny Holmes explain why. Please use the email template provided.

Deaf History That — “Education”

News from NAD.org - April 27, 2017 - 6:39am

As we celebrate 200 years of Deaf Education this month, watch Linsay share about efforts to educate deaf children before Clerc and Gallaudet came in the picture. #deafhistoryTHAT #ASLstories

President Update / April 2017

News from NAD.org - April 26, 2017 - 12:41pm

Enjoy a two minute summary of what the NAD Board did in Connecticut and Massachusetts during their quarterly board meeting. In this video, President Melissa shares what the NAD Board discussed during their meeting. You can also view reports from Region I, Region II, Region III, and Region IV. We also have a fabulous photo album that captured the weekend!

VRS Reform Updates

News from NAD.org - April 26, 2017 - 8:35am

Zainab Alkebsi, NAD Policy Counsel, shares latest advocacy efforts to improve VRS. The FCC has recently taken action on skills-based routing, deaf interpreters, comparison shopping, and direct calling with hearing signers, and is now seeking comments on establishing VRS quality metrics.

National Academies Hearing Health Care Report:​ June 2017 Dissemination Meeting

HLAA Current News - April 24, 2017 - 10:29am
Mon, 04/24/2017

On Friday June 9, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a public dissemination meeting for the report Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am Eastern and last until approximately 3:30 pm Eastern.

Please use the link below to register to attend the meeting in person or via WebEx. The agenda is available at the linkbelow and also on the meeting page.

CART and hearing loop services will be provided at this meeting.

If you would like to be removed from this email list or have questions regarding this meeting please email hearing@nas.edu.

Register for the Meeting   ||   Download Agenda [PDF]

Let's Make Hearing Loss Visible Extravaganza this Saturday, April 22

HLAA Updates - April 21, 2017 - 1:29pm
Fri, 04/21/2017

The Hearing Loss Association of Florida team has done an outstanding job to make HLAA and the Florida Chapters and Self Support Groups Visible!  The underlying goal it to identify ways where people are seeing HLAA on a routine basis.  Not just those who are already familiar with HLAA, but, more importantly, the hearing and hearing loss alike of all ages who have yet to join HLAA.  The next big outreach is with the Let's Make Hearing Loss Visible Extravaganza this Saturday, April 22 from 9 until 3 in Orlando, Florida which includes a small Chapter/Self Support Group workshop.

Event Flyer  ||  Event Highlights

Ask Howard Anything / April 2017

News from NAD.org - April 18, 2017 - 12:37pm

Tell Congress not to pass H.R. 620 and H.R. 1493, which will affect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)! The letter template is available to download and you can find your Representative here. See previous AHA from September 2016 about a similar bill. #AskHoward #protectADA