Senate approves bills to remove offensive hearing loss terms from Michigan law

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation as part of a multi-bill package to update hearing loss references throughout state law.

“More than 30 million Americans struggle with hearing loss and that number has doubled over the past three decades,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing deserves to be treated with respect in the law.”

Senate Bills 690-694 would change the outdated language like “hearing-impaired” to more accepted terms, such as “hard of hearing,” in several areas of Michigan law. The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“I got involved in helping those with hearing loss through the encouragement of Miss Michigan 2014, KT Maviglia of Dundee,” Zorn said. “I look forward to seeing these overdue reforms made, and I will continue working with advocates like KT to expand access to life-changing hearing devices.”

Maviglia was crowned Miss Michigan in 2014 with a platform focused on advocating for children with hearing loss and later founded the KT Maviglia Fund for Hearing. She was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age nine and has two hearing aids.

Zorn is working with Maviglia and others on Senate Bill 449, which would require hearing aids to be covered under a child’s health insurance. SB 449 bill is currently before the Senate Insurance Committee.