The Committee for Communication Access was created to advocate for the needs and concerns of hard of hearing New Mexicans and is made up of hearing care consumers from throughout the state in partnership with the New Mexico Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons.
CCAnm campaigned for revisions to certain New Mexico rules and regulations applicable to the needs of consumers to have good access to the assistive listening systems in many public venues. House Bill 70, passed by the New Mexico legislature on February 18, 2016, mandated that, before the sale and dispensing of hearing instruments to any client, a New Mexico hearing care provider must counsel that client in the technology available in most hearing instruments that will provide a direct connection between their device and the assistive listening system of any public assembly facility that is in compliance with the 2010 revised terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA specifically mandates that all new or significantly upgraded assistive listening systems be hearing aid compatible and, currently, the telecoils in most hearing aids and other hearing instruments dispensed by audiologists and hearing aid dispensers is the only technology that meets that ADA requirement. The way the bills were worded, if and when other technologies (for example Bluetooth) develop the necessary capability, they would already be covered by the proposed New Mexico regulations..
BILL VETOED BY GOVERNOR
On March 9, 2016, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed the bill expressing concern over the mandating of specific standards of care, specific technologies that must be presented to clients, and specific conduct for hearing care providers.
Because so many hearing care users report never having been told about telecoil technology, laws mandating the very things the Governor objected to in New Mexico already exist Arizona, Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Utah with most placing more requirements on providers than did the proposed New Mexico laws. To read the full comments on the bill by the Governor in her veto, click on this link:
Click on the link below to access the results of our survey on the use of telecoils and captions and on consumer opinion on mandated counseling by hearing care providers for clients being fitted with hearing aids.
Click on the link below to access our survey on the use of assistive listening systems by Hard of Hering consumers and the article reporting on it in Technologies for Worship Magazine.
The links above will take you to detailed information on the technology involved in loop/telecoil assistive listing, existing legislation in other states and to the legislation that was put forward by our committee for the 2016 session of the New Mexico legislature
The CCAnm is working to schedule a meeting with the NM Department of Health and other interested parties to attempt to find a solution to the telecoil counseling problem that will be mutually agreeable to all stake holders including the Governor. The committee is also pursuing the installation of hearing loops in the Albuquerque Sunport departuer gates and concourse and exploring how to move forward with an initiative to follow the lead of Arizona and loop the House and Senate chambers and committee meeting rooms in the Roundhouse.
Any New Mexico resident interested in service on this committee should send an email to CCAnm@juno.com requesting consideration for membership and a short biographical sketch of his/her background. To learn more about hearing loss, hearing aids and the various other devices and technologies available to help those with hearing loss, go to www.LoopNM.com/HLInformation.html .