NCRA joins in tour of NIH Research Center

The National Institute of Health offered a tour of its facilities to representatives of the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. Matthew Barusch, Manager, State Government Affairs for NCRA, joined 25 congressional staffers and hearing health advocates on the tour of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Porter Neuroscience Research Center in Bethesda, Md.

“NCRA has long supported the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus and appreciates the value of events such as this brings to the constituents and stakeholders of the many organizations that support it,” said Barusch. “Learning more about the latest research that can lead to positive impacts on the lives of the people who are deaf or hard of hearing is so important to bringing awareness to lawmakers and the public about the many issues that surround broadcast and CART captioning and, overall, hearing health.”

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NCRA cosponsors forum and reception focused on preventing hearing loss

Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. David McKinley, and Andy Bopp, HIA, at the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus reception

(From left) Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. David McKinley, and Andy Bopp, HIA

On Oct. 21, NCRA joined more than 150 Congressional staffers, hearing advocates, and guests at a screening reception hosted by the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. The event, which was held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., included hearing screenings by hearing health professionals and earbud-noise testing sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

About 50 attendees had their hearing screened and ears checked by volunteer audiologists, hearing-aid dispensers, and otolaryngologists. Professionals were also on hand to provide advice about preventing hearing loss and options available to those who have experienced hearing loss.

“NCRA is privileged to be a part of events such as this forum sponsored by the FCHHC. Raising awareness of how consumers can protect their hearing through screenings and understand that there are options available to assist them in improving their quality of life with hearing loss is a vital service this Congressional Hearing Health Caucus provides,” said NCRA’s Director of Government Relations Adam Finkel.

The Congressional caucus aims to broaden support and knowledge of hearing health-care issues within Congress and provide an educational setting for discussion of issues related to hearing health. Honorary co-hosts of the event were Reps. David McKinley (W.Va.) and Mike Thompson (Calif.).

In remarks to attendees, Rep. Thompson noted that hearing health is an important element of overall health care and that it is critical to address hearing loss early to avoid negative impacts on a person’s learning and earning potential.

In addition, Rep. McKinley noted the importance of following up on passage of HR1344, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention bill, which was passed by the House in September and is now being considered by the Senate.

In addition to NCRA, other Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus include: A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Academy of Doctors of Audiology; American Academy of Audiology; American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; American Cochlear Implant Alliance; American Speech-Language Hearing Association; Hearing Network Alliance; International Hearing Society; National Association of the Deaf; Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf; and Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

To learn more about the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Caucus, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org.

NCRA participates in visit to new NIH laboratory

CHHC AugustOn August 20, NCRA joined a number of organizations to cosponsor a congressional staff visit to the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, the newest laboratory building on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. The visit was made possible by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, of which NCRA is a supporter.

Attendees, which included congressional staffer members and representatives from the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, learned about several of the NIDCD’s intramural research programs and toured the NIDCD’s new labs to gain a better understanding of the important role of basic research in leading to treatments for individuals with communication disorders.

“NCRA has long supported the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus and appreciates the value it brings to the constituents and stakeholders of the many organizations that support it,” said Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Relations, who represented the Association at the event.

For more information on the NIDCD, please click here.

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NCRA cosponsors luncheon focused on improving outcomes for children with hearing issues

On June 11, NCRA joined a number of organizations to cosponsor a briefing luncheon hosted by the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. The luncheon, which was held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., featured experts discussing programs that are designed to improve outcomes for children who are born deaf or hard of hearing.

Rep. David McKinley addresses the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus

Rep. David McKinley addresses the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus

The Congressional caucus, which aims to broaden support and knowledge of hearing health care issues within Congress and provide an educational setting for discussion of issues related to hearing health, is chaired by both Reps. David McKinley and Mike Thompson. Reps. McKinley and Thompson both served as honorary hosts of the event.

Speakers at the luncheon event included Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, and Dana Suskind, M.D., Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medicine.

“NCRA has long supported the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus and appreciates the value it brings to the constituents and stakeholders of the many organizations that support it,” said Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Relations.

“NCRA looks forward to continuing to be an active friend of the group and bringing awareness to lawmakers and the public about the many issues that surround broadcast and CART captioning, hearing health, and issues that affect individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing,” he added.

Rep. Lois Capps addresses the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus

Rep. Lois Capps addresses the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus

The briefing focused on efforts to follow-up with children who are born deaf or hard of hearing to ensure the best outcome possible. Dr. Fitzgerald examined Georgia’s Early Hearing Detection & Intervention follow-up programs, while Dr. Suskind spoke about the 30 Million Words initiative, which she founded to focus on the importance of early exposure to language.

Newborn hearing screening programs have been implemented in all 50 states with funding provided by Congress through the Early Hearing Detection & Intervention program that was first authorized in 2000. EHDI programs include hearing screenings at birth, diagnostic evaluations to confirm hearing status, and early intervention including medical services, early intervention programs, and family support. When EHDI was first approved in 2000, only 44 percent of newborns had their hearing screened; however, the implementation of EHDI nationwide has resulted in nearly universal hearing screening at birth with 98 percent of newborns screened. Reps. Brett Guthrie and Lois Capps have introduced legislation (HR1344) to reauthorize EHDI this year.

In addition to NCRA, other Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus include: A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Academy of Doctors of Audiology; American Academy of Audiology; American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; American Cochlear Implant Alliance; American Speech-Language Hearing Association; Hearing Network Alliance; International Hearing Society; National Association of the Deaf; Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf; and Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. To learn more about the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Caucus, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org.

NCRA continues involvement with Congressional Hearing Health Caucus

NIDCD tour photoThe National Institute of Health offered a tour of its facilities to representatives of the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. During the tour, a number of doctors on NIH staff provided an overview of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders, a part of the NIH that conducts and supports research in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. The tour also included information on NIDCD’s intramural research program and an overview of the NIDCD’s labs.  NIH has more than 800 scientists in 85 laboratories around the country.

More than 30 professionals involved in advocating for issues that affect people with hearing impairments attended the event. Brandon Schall, NCRA’s Government Relations Specialist, attended as NCRA’s representative. The Congressional caucus, which aims to broaden support and knowledge of hearing health care issues within Congress and provide an educational setting for discussion of issues related to hearing health, is co-chaired by Reps. Tom Latham of Iowa, and Carolyn McCarthy of New York. NCRA is one a dozen affiliated Friends of the caucus.