BETHESDA, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every five adults has a disability. The study, Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type Among Adults, US, 2013, examined vision loss, cognition, mobility, self-care and independent living, but failed to study hearing loss. The CDC ignored 48 million Americans with hearing loss. HLAA is taking action with the White House and the CDC to see that swift and meaningful steps are taken to correct this gross error.
In the CDC’s own words, “Understanding the prevalence of disability is important for public health programs to be able to address the needs of persons with disabilities.” Excluding people with hearing loss is not giving serious consideration to hearing loss as a disability that has an impact on a person’s quality of life, ability to work, and to fully participate in society.
Hearing Loss is a Major Public Health Issue, Third Most Common Behind Arthritis and Heart Disease
- Hearing loss has been shown to be linked to an increased risk of falls, dementia, depression and other conditions that lead to a poor health status, according to Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health.
- One in 20 adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services specifically includes people with hearing loss in their guidance on standards of data collection for people with disabilities, which CDC chose to ignore.
- In 1988, Congress authorized the formation of the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health (Public Law 100-553), to conduct research and training on hearing and communication disorders.
- Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), hearing loss is recognized as a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, and provides guidelines for communication access such as Telecommunications Relay Services, established under Title IV of the ADA.
- The CDC itself devotes an entire section of their website to children with hearing loss and includes research papers on adults with hearing loss.
“People with hearing loss have been denied communication access in hospitals and doctors’ offices, and by public programs such as Medicare which does not currently cover the cost of hearing aids,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, executive director of HLAA. “The release of the report comes on the heels of celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we are stunned they failed to understand the impact of excluding hearing loss as a disability that needs to be addressed.”
About the Hearing Loss Association of America
Founded in 1979, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. Its mission is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA is working to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and raise public awareness about the need for prevention, treatment, and regular hearing screenings throughout life. HLAA produces the Walk4Hearing in 21 cities across the country, publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, advocates for the rights of people with hearing loss, and has an extensive network of chapters and state organizations across the country. In June 2016, HLAA will host the World Congress of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) at its Convention 2016 in Washington, DC, June 23 – 26. The national headquarters is located at 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. To learn more about HLAA or to find the nearest chapter, call 301.657.2248 or visit www.hearingloss.org.