The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation's largest organization for people with hearing loss. It is devoted to providing support and resources to those with hearing loss and their families. The HLAA-Los Angeles chapter is one of the most active in the country, and recently held its biggest in-person meeting in three years. The diagnosis of hearing loss can be a difficult process, and there is currently no simple and easy to use measure that is widely used.
Audiograms and other measures of hearing and communication may be too complex for some people with hearing loss to comprehend or remember. After diagnosis, some may choose to wear hearing aids, use other assistive technologies, or join peer support groups, while others may opt not to take action. Attitudes and support from others, particularly loved ones, are essential and can have a major impact on the beliefs and attitudes of the person with hearing loss. The community and hearing loss advocacy organizations should evaluate the resources available online, take advantage of available government resources, and implement strategies to optimize information and educational materials about hearing and hearing loss for individuals and their families.
In a 5-year follow-up study, people with hearing loss were more dependent on community services and support from family or friends other than their spouses. Those with more severe hearing loss were increasingly dependent on community services and support from family or friends who were not their spouses. Negative attitudes and beliefs about hearing loss can be both internally and externally generated. An easy-to-use measure for the consumer could be used to promote periodic hearing evaluations among those who have questions about changes in their hearing.
This could reduce confusion about measures for hearing loss and allow people to seek treatment. Educational and resiliency interventions need to be studied in greater depth in order to develop adaptable techniques and programs that can promote resilience and enable people to overcome barriers and take action in communities across the country. The American Heart Association has leveraged specific health indicators through Know Your Numbers campaigns to educate people about diabetes and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, easy-to-understand, real-world hearing loss tests could provide a basis for moving beyond the current focus on audiography.
The HLAA-Los Angeles chapter recently held its biggest in-person meeting in three years on March 26th. The “Spring Fling” garden party was organized by Heather Lehr, HLAA-CA webmaster and former president of the chapter, in her beautiful home in San Marino. It was attended by nearly 30 people with and without hearing loss. The HLAA-Los Angeles chapter does not have a website or social media presence at this time.
However, they are actively working to provide resources for those with hearing loss in Los Angeles County.