HLAA Convention 2018

WID staff member, Josephine Schallehn, attended the 2018 Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention. The following are her highlights of the event.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention in Minneapolis, MN, which offers myriad educational workshops on hearing loss, in addition to showcasing the latest technology and services for people with hearing loss. And needless to say, all presentations were real-time captioned, and the presentation rooms were looped, so attendees could listen to the workshops using the T-coil setting on their hearing aids or cochlear implants. (Learn more about loops here.)

A man speaks to the audience, captions onscreen to his right, an ASL interpreter woman to his left
The research symposium, “Listening in Noise,” with Andrew Oxenham, M.D. moderating and presenting | Photo by WID

One of the highlights of the convention was attending the research symposium, which focused on current and future approaches to one of the most vexing and frustrating issues that people with hearing loss encounter: how to listen and understand speech in noisy environments, a challenge that is also often referred to as the “cocktail noise problem.” Five experts from various fields represented on current research that may improve the circuitry used in hearing aids and cochlear implants to reduce/cancel noise. While the presentations were extremely informative and valuable and made excellent use of combining auditory and visual materials, they were nevertheless quite scientific. And the total length of the symposium was three hours.

Luckily, HLAA hosted an excellent one-hour webinar in August that succinctly recapped the crucial points presenters had made and how their research and findings may impact future development of hearing aids and cochlear implants. The consumer-friendly webinar can be replayed at any time, and it even includes a version of one of my favorite short videos shown during the symposium, i.e., a dancing outer hair cell.  The link to the webinar also allows for downloading the PDF used during the webinar.

Three people stand onstage and hold an award
Barbara Kelly of HLAA (center) with the rep from Galapro to her left and Kyle Wright from The Shubert Organization to her right | Photo by HLAA

“Radical Hospitality: Technology Solutions for Audience Inclusivity” was the other highlight and a total surprise at that because if The Shubert Organization and Galapro hadn’t been one of the awardees honored during the opening session of the convention, I wouldn’t have found out about how the app Galapro was developed. And I also wouldn’t have changed my workshop selection for Saturday morning and enjoyed a very informative and funny presentation given by Kyle Wright, Director of Digital Projects at The Shubert Organization.

The Shubert Organization, which owns the majority of theaters on Broadway, uses the Galapro to make live theater and opera performances accessible to everyone.  Theatergoers can download Galapro’s app to their own mobile devices and access subtitles in multiple languages, audio descriptions, closed captioning, and amplification during the performance. I haven’t been to a live performance in decades because, as a hard-of-hearing individual, not being able to follow a live performance is a major concern for me. However, Galapro promises to make live performances accessible to all. Most theaters and live performance venues likely have not heard about Galapro, and here is an excellent advocacy opportunity to let them know that the app exists by pointing them to The Shubert Organization and Kyle Wright if they are interested in finding out what is involved in bringing this cost-effective, mobile, and simple solution to their venues.

A crowded room with several presentation screens, an ASL interpreter, and captioning on the screens
One of the workshops | Photo by WID

Main content end

JPMC logo

WID’s Accessibility Partner JPMorgan Chase Kicks Off New Conference Accessibility Initiative

Increases access to 10 major community development and civil rights conferences for people with disabilities

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.–JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), in collaboration with the World Institute on Disability (WID), today launches its Conference Accessibility Initiative. Through this initiative, 10 of the largest community development and civil rights conferences in the United States, including the NAACP, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Conference, National Urban League and the Corporation for Economic Development, will for the first time, be fully inclusive of people with disabilities and enable them to both attend and fully participate in conference sessions.

“People with disabilities experience economic hardship at rates that exceed the national average. At JPMorgan Chase, we believe that the private sector has both a responsibility and role to play in helping address economic and social challenges,” said Naomi Camper, Head of the Office of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase. “Through the Conference Accessibility Initiative, JPMorgan Chase is excited to create more inclusive advocacy and community development conversations and expand the way people think about diversity and inclusion.”

Highlights of the Conference Accessibility Initiative include:

  • Concierge services for conference participants with disabilities
  • Scholarships provided for people with disabilities, including travel and registration costs
  • Integration into conference plenary sessions, panel discussions and awards (i.e., subject-matter experts on panels, presenters with disabilities and closed captioning)
  • Encouragement of organizations to have panel discussions on disability-related topics

“We are so excited to be part of this Conference Accessibility Initiative,” said Tom Foley, WID’s Deputy Director. “There are civil rights and community development organizations doing some amazing work to help to create opportunity for low and moderate income communities. And we know—we absolutely know—that when we’re talking about these communities, we are talking about people with disabilities. Thanks to the partnership with JPMorgan Chase, people with disabilities will be able to attend these conferences. We will be at the table and part of the conversation!”

Large civil rights and community development conferences help to set the economic opportunity agenda. The conferences that JPMorgan Chase has selected attract key decision makers from the nonprofit, business and public sector communities. The Conference Accessibility Initiative aims to fully integrate disability access issues into the content and enable people with disabilities to fully participate in these critical national discussions of economic opportunity and inclusion.

For more information about the JPMorgan Chase Conference Accessibility Initiative, visit http://worldinstituteondisability.org/consulting/conference-accessibility/.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

About World Institute on Disability

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a policy, research and consulting organization committed to the elimination of barriers to full social integration and the development of employment, economic security and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, training, public education and advocacy campaigns; and provides consulting services.

Disclaimer: This press release has been replicated with permission from WID’s accessibility partner, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Main content end