Health—General & Rehabilitative


The nation's voice for people with hearing loss.

aka Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)

Bethesda, MD


The mission of HLAA is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy. Founded in 1979, HLAA is the leading organization for people with hearing loss in the United States.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Barbara Kelley

Main Address

7910 Woodmont Avenue Suite 1200

Bethesda, MD 20814 USA


Hearing Loss, Hard of Hearing, Hearing Health, Hearing, Ears





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Health Support Services (E60)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

People served by HLAA are consumers with hearing loss who use their residual hearing along with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants to hear. HLAA constituents also use hearing assistive technology to enhance difficult listening environments. Most often, the people who come to HLAA have aged into their hearing loss, often having difficulty performing their job (or finding a job), participating fully in their communities, etc.

Less than 20% of those people with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids actually have them. Reasons for not seeking treatment include the stigma associated with hearing loss, lack of insurance coverage for hearing health, and the high cost of hearing aids. HLAA encourages people to get their hearing checked annually and to seek treatment.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

HLAA Annual Convention

National Walk4Hearing

Hearing Life

Chapters and State Organizations

National Consumer Hearing Assistive Technology Training (N-CHATT)

Get in the Hearing Loop Campaign



Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Average online donation

Population(s) served


People with hearing impairments

Related program

National Walk4Hearing

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

Population(s) served


Related program

National Consumer Hearing Assistive Technology Training (N-CHATT)

Context notes

N-CHATT trainers conduct educational sessions demonstrating several pieces of assistive technology for people with hearing loss in their communities.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

Population(s) served



People with hearing impairments

Related program

National Walk4Hearing

Context notes

Walk4Hearing events are held in the spring and fall in cities across the country.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

HLAA's mission is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy.

HLAA represents the 48 million (20%) Americans with hearing loss, making it the third largest public health issue after heart disease and arthritis. However, fewer than 20% of those with hearing loss, who require intervention and treatment, seek help for their condition. HLAA helps consumers with hearing loss to live successfully with hearing loss.

Untreated hearing loss has been shown to impact a person's overall health and quality of life, sometimes leading to social isolation, depression and even dementia. People with hearing loss face significant barriers in seeking to access the central elements of mainstream American culture and earn less on average than the rest of the American workforce.

HLAA works to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and raise public awareness about the need for prevention, treatment, and regular hearing screenings. HLAA works to make hearing assistive technology accessible and affordable for all Americans with hearing loss.

Education: Our primary purpose is to educate ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers, teachers, hearing health care providers, industry, government, and others about hearing loss. HLAA seeks to help people with hearing loss become informed and educated consumers on options that are available and to make the best decisions on how to deal with hearing loss.

Advocacy: HLAA is the nation's leading consumer voice in improving communication access for people with hearing loss. HLAA advocates for communication access in public and private venues. HLAA promotes emerging and assistive technologies, medical research, and legislation that will alleviate the effects of hearing loss. HLAA pushes for research on understanding the causes of hearing loss and for the development of new treatments.

Self-Help: HLAA promotes self-confidence; empowers individuals with skills to improve their lives; and provides an opportunity for affiliation among people with hearing loss, their friends, families, and professionals. We work to develop options for ourselves and open doors for others and provide support in setting up local support groups.

1 – Advocacy

Our advocacy focuses on gaining access to mainstream American culture for people with hearing loss in such areas as technology, telecommunications, hearing health care, employment, education, and leadership, to name a few. HLAA continues to build on this legacy of success by: supporting expanded options to access hearing health care; promoting affordable hearing technologies; advocating for access to mainstream consumer technologies in the marketplace. HLAA will pursue opportunities for collaboration on local, regional and national advocacy efforts.

2 – Collaboration with the Grass Roots Base

HLAA is working to build a more robust collaborative network among the national headquarters, chapters, state organizations and other elements of our base of support which is critical to the long-term health of HLAA. This requires a vibrant multi-directional and ongoing dialogue so that HLAA leverages all our strength in our undertakings.

3 – Services to Constituents

HLAA offers a wide-array of services to our constituents through our local, state, regional and national arms including personal support and training in self-advocacy. Informational resources, including those available and downloadable from our website, cover a wide breadth of topics.

4 – Growing the Grass Roots Base of Support

HLAA seeks to expand its reach and build its effectiveness to attract a larger number of people with hearing loss to our cause by leveraging our contacts in the hearing health community and related organizations to expand our membership and grass roots base.

B. Organizational Strength

1 – Finances

HLAA must grow and diversify its revenue base while positioning ourselves to leverage unanticipated opportunities. HLAA continues to be fiscally responsible and prudent in the utilization of resources and strive to maintain 'added value' for our donors, members and constituents.

2 – Organization and Leadership

HLAA is a network of chapters and state organizations along with a substantial number of donors, supporters and volunteers across the country. To strengthen our network HLAA seeks to create a better integrated network, collaborating more effectively and learning from the many successes we have achieved across the country and grow our base of support, recognizing that there is power in numbers, which will enhance our ability to influence public policy and engage with the private sector.

3 – Name Recognition and Branding

HLAA seeks to enhance our name recognition in the marketplace and elevate and protect the brand. We seek to work with ways to increase our visibility across the country; work closely with our chapters, state organizations and local Walk4Hearing volunteers to foster consistent use of our branding elements to assure that the image of HLAA is consistent, effective and relevant.

HLAA has an active board of trustees and an experienced staff at the national office, comprised of both people with hearing loss and those with hearing, who are dedicated to the success of the mission of the organization. The grass roots network is comprised of volunteers and supporters in 200 local chapters and state organizations that work in their communities and states on behalf of people with hearing loss and provide information, education, advocacy and support.

HLAA's signature public awareness program is the Walk4Hearing which takes place in 21 cities across the country. Since the program began in 2006, more than 58,000 walkers have raised over $9 million to advance the cause for people with hearing loss. The Walk4Hearing program brings together a diverse group of participants, including many families, and offers local hearing groups an opportunity to partner with HLAA to raise funds for their own groups. The number of Walks, the amount of funds raised at each Walk, the number of national corporate sponsorships, and public recognition of the Walks increases significantly each year with the potential for continued growth.

HLAA's Annual Convention and Tradeshow brings together attendees and participants from across the country. The educational programs include: consumer, chapter, and advocacy workshops; the highly regarded, Research Symposium; along with networking and social events, that bring together people with hearing loss, their families, hearing health care professionals and as well as manufacturers of hearing assistive, emerging and consumer technologies. The number of Convention attendees has grown to between 1200-1500 participants attending each year with potential for continued growth. A small, but growing number of young adults are also choosing to attend. The number of corporate sponsorships and tradeshow exhibitors has grown and has the potential for continued growth.

HLAA's successful national, state and local advocacy efforts in public policy and before regulatory agencies continue to impact the lives of millions of Americans with hearing loss. HLAA's advocacy, particularly at the national level, has led to significant advances in communication access, public policy, research, public awareness, and improved service delivery related to hearing loss.

HLAA has a long history of working collaboratively with like-minded groups, organizations and individuals who share our mission and goals. HLAA continues to build new partnerships and others continue to seek to partner with HLAA.

HLAA's financial position remains sound and diversified revenue continues to grow through individual and corporate donations, sponsorships, foundation and corporate grants, membership, planned gifts and advertising.

HLAA's success is continually evaluated through both qualitative and quantitative evaluations as outlined in the organization's strategic plan. All departments track their accomplishments, under the direction of and overseen by the executive director, who submits a comprehensive report at each board meeting for the trustees review.

HLAA's annual board meeting is held in June at the organization's Annual Convention. The meeting is open to HLAA members and to the public. The executive director and board of trustees conduct an annual review of HLAA's finances, programs, advocacy, and initiatives, based on the strategic plan and annual goals. Indicators of success will include: increased and diversified revenue streams; increased membership; investment in infrastructure and capacity-building; building HLAA's brand; advocacy and public policy success; program growth and outreach; an increase in Convention attendees; an increase in the number of Walks and walkers; and other indicators as outlined in the strategic plan.

Over the long-term, success will be evident as HLAA moves closer to achieving the organization's mission.

Since its founding in 1979, HLAA has grown from a small grassroots movement to a nationally recognized organization. In 2016, HLAA revised its Statement of Strategic Intent, identifying HLAA's new goals. The Statement is the result of a year-long organizational review, with input from many stakeholders, of the organization's strengths and weaknesses. The Statement sets forth a plan to address the current and future needs of the organization that will best meet the mission of the organization and the needs of the 48 million Americas with hearing loss.

1-HLAA successfully advocated for mandated closed captioning and hearing assisitive technology in public movie theaters
2-HLAA successfully advocated for carriers to agree to deliver text messages to 911 public safety answering points
3-HLAA renewed a grant from a private foundation to support a national consumer advocacy and training program on hearing loops for HLAA chapters
4-HLAA was recommended by international columnist Dear Abby
5-HLAA is conducting the Walk4Hearing program in 21 communities across the country to raise funds, public awareness and remove the stigma of hearing loss
6-HLAA produced its HLAA2017 Convention & Tradeshow in Salt Lake City, Utah 900 attendees − offering a well-regarded Research Symposium, educational workshops, networking and social opportunities, and scholarships for Veterans with hearing loss to attend
7-HLAA is working to increase HLAA's membership by offering a multi-year membership program
8-HLAA is increasing the number of HLAA chapters and state organizations and offering more technical support to build chapter capacity
9-HLAA's website is in redesign
10-HLAA is increased HLAA's free online e-News to twice monthly - one exclusively for Advocacy
11-HLAA continues to bring the latest news and information via HLAA's website
12-HLAA is increasing HLAA's social media presence
14-HLAA publishes Hearing Loss Magazine six times a year and makes archived editions available for free
15-HLAA is enhancing national, state and local advocacy efforts
16-HLAA is partnering with more organizations that share our mission
17-HLAA received GuideStar's Gold Star Exchange Participant status for organizational transparency
19-HLAA approved and published HLAA's Charitable Gift Acceptance Policies and Guidelines on our website
20-HLAA increased our foundation and corporate grants
22-HLAA increased National Walk4Hearing corporate sponsorships
23-HLAA offers a free monthly webinar program for people with hearing loss on timely topics
24-HLAA is recognized as a Top-Rated Nonprofit by
25-HLAA continues to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign
26-HLAA is recognized as a Best in America - Charities Seal of Excellence
27-HLAA was the only consumer organization to sponsor the National Academies of Sciences study, HEARING HEALTH CARE FOR ADULTS: PRIORITIES FOR IMPROVING ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY

External Reviews




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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity