Hear, Hear! Three Laws Relating to Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

The field of hearing loss has had lots of technological developments over the years. These technological developments have led to the refinement of hearing aids, allowing people with hearing loss to hear more sounds with additional clarity. In addition, the development of devices like Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) increase the financial accessibility of hearing products.

However, technology isn’t the only field where innovation and development is happening! Over the years, there have been lots of important legislative developments to ensure that people with hearing loss have their needs met and have equal access to opportunities.

Below are 3 important hearing aid laws:

1. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC).

This Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that “all wireline telephones manufactured or imported for use in the United States and all ‘essential’ telephones, such as public phones, emergency phones and workplace phones, are hearing-aid compatible.” In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission established that these rules needed to apply to digital wireless phones as well.

2. The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).

This Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. This Act ensures that the accessibility laws that were enacted in the 1980s and 1990s are updated to apply to 21st century technologies. In term of hearing loss, this Act makes sure that all telephone-like equipment is compatible with hearing aids. In addition, this act expands requirements for closed captioning on the Internet, on video programming equipment, and other forums and devices. This makes the Internet and other forums and devices more accessible to those experiencing hearing loss.

3. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA is a federal law that “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for Americans with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” Hearing loss falls under the ADA on a case-by-case basis. If your hearing loss substantially limits one or more of your life activities, then you are likely protected by the ADA. The ADA establishes that people who have hearing impairments should not be denied employment opportunities, among other opportunities, based on stereotypical assumptions about hearing loss.

In addition, the ADA establishes that State and local governments, along with business and nonprofit organizations that serve the public, take into account the fact that people who have hearing disabilities use different ways of communication. The Act requires these entities to communicate effectively with those who have communication disabilities. Though not all degrees of hearing loss qualify as “communication disabilities,” the Act guarantees that if one truly requires alternate forms of communication, effective forms of communication will be used for them.

These hearing aid laws are important to keep in mind. Your quality of life should not be diminished just because you experience hearing loss! Knowing these hearing aid laws can help you advocate for yourself and know about what rights you may be entitled to.

Think you might need to get your hearing tested or re-tested? Schedule a free hearing test at a Lucid Hearing Center here!

Originally published at lucidhearing.com on February 24, 2017.

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