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This has been a huge year for consumers with hearing loss. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued a landmark (and highly controversial) report on the state of the hearing healthcare industry, with a focus on access to care, and hearing aid affordability. The Institute of Medicine (IoM) also held a four part “Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults.” The FDA’s regulation of affordable hearing aid alternatives was a hot topic of discussion at the IoM, and PCAST called for the deregulation of over-the-counter basic hearing aids. Meanwhile, the FCC is in the process of revising its Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) rules for mobile phones. Tech giant Apple has even become involved, asking the FCC to remove the telecoil requirement. Here’s a lineup of the relevant events at this years upcoming HLAA convention:

The IOM Report Explained

Dan Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults, will present the IOM report and recommendations on ways to improve quality, access and affordability of hearing technologies.

Dr. Blazer is currently the J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He is a professor of Community and Family Medicine. He also serves as adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina.

The PCAST Report Explained

Susan L. Graham, Ph.D., member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Policy (PCAST), will present the PCAST report and its implications for people with hearing loss.

Dr. Graham is the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. She currently chairs the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium. Dr. Graham a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). She was named a University of California Berkeley Fellow in 2011.

PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the president and the executive office of the President.

Latest from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Accessible Communications

Gregory Hlibok, Chief of the Disability Rights Office and Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Chief, both of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, will provide updates on the Commission’s various actions to enhance access to communications for people with hearing loss. Topics will include new hearing aid requirements for wireless phones, strengthened closed captioning quality requirements, and updated rules on IP captioned telephone service.

Full schedule and registration information.

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