FCC’s Copps Delivers SHHH Keynote ASHA Promotes Hearing Aid Tax Credit at Washington, DC Convention ASHA News
ASHA News  |   August 01, 2005
FCC’s Copps Delivers SHHH Keynote
Author Notes
  • Dee Naquin Shafer, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.
    Dee Naquin Shafer, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   August 01, 2005
FCC’s Copps Delivers SHHH Keynote
The ASHA Leader, August 2005, Vol. 10, 3-20. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.10102005.3
The ASHA Leader, August 2005, Vol. 10, 3-20. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.10102005.3
The 20th International Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH) convention, held in Washington, DC June 30–July 3, welcomed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael J. Copps as keynote speaker. Copps received an award from SHHH for his work in promoting telecommunications access.
Copps said he has a sense of being part of something bigger through his work with SHHH. He referred to the organization’s mission statement about opening the world of communication to people with hearing loss. Copps said he would like to see it carved over the door of the FCC, calling it a worthy mission. “It should be our goal to bring the revolution of telecommunications to everyone.”
Copps also hailed passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which marked its 15th anniversary on July 26. The act has had a powerful effect on improving access to telecommunications for people with hearing loss, he said, pointing to new requirements the FCC has set for cell phones. (See “New FCC Rules Expand Access to Hearing Aid-Compatible Cell Phones,” The ASHA Leader, July 12).
He called access to technology both a simple necessity and a civil right in terms of effective communication. “The new challenge we face is harnessing the power of the new economy. Whether IT, digital, broadband, or whatever you call it, the coming technological revolution will be life-changing,” he said.
The key to success is ensuring that all people have access to the latest technology, he said, and discussed four steps toward that end. First, advocates should keep up pressure regarding hearing aid-compatible cell phone rules.
Second, the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) policies must stay current. Access to voice and text can be vital in an emergency situation, he said. Third, the FCC should review closed caption policies to ensure that people have full and effective access. Finally, the FCC must do more and better outreach so that groups know what regulations the commission is considering.
Copps also discussed the importance of keeping pressure on the government where market forces are concerned, stating that communication services must be labeled as telecommunication to strengthen the requirement for access for all.
Promoting the Profession
As an organizational member of SHHH, ASHA participated in the convention. The ASHA audiology unit’s annual exhibit promotes the profession and the services audiologists provide, educates consumers on hearing loss and other hearing and balance disorders, and involves the public in ASHA advocacy and outreach activities.
The SHHH convention, like several other related organizational meetings, offered ASHA continuing education (CE) opportunities. Many audiologists attended the convention to take advantage of the CE offerings and stopped by the exhibit to chat and pick up ASHA resources.
This year, the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill (S. 1060) was a hot topic. Several convention sessions discussed the bill and how to encourage congressional support. To assist SHHH members in this effort, ASHA’s exhibit offered letters prepared for signatures requesting senators and representatives to sign onto the bill.
In total, ASHA collected 534 signed letters in support of this legislation. Those who would like to take action on this bill or on the Direct Access to Audiologists bill should visit the ASHA Web site and scroll down to the Take Action link.
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August 2005
Volume 10, Issue 10