In honor of Independence Day, EarQ is celebrating our great 50 states and our Nation’s capital by sharing some interesting hearing-related facts from each state! Check them out, find your home state, and share this with your friends and family at your Fourth of July picnic!
Helen Keller, an American author, political activist, and lecturer, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. One of her first words - and “aha!” moments - was the word w-a-t-e-r finger spelled from Anne Sullivan. Sullivan spelled “water” while Helen’s hand was under a gushing water faucet, helping her register the word with the object.
Alaska is known for its Deaf Navigator program. It provides a range of resources and services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alaskans to improve long-term employment and housing options in the state. For an isolated state, this program really helps.
Marcus Titus, an Arizona native, is a professional swimmer with hearing loss who placed eighth in the Olympic trials and broke several deaf world records. He is also a HearStrong Champion!
Bill Clinton, our 42nd President of the United States, was born in Hope, Arkansas. In 1997 he was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss, reportedly due to loud rock music and noise from hunting rifles and political rallies. Next time you head out to a rally, bring some earplugs!
Hollywood actor and Santa Monica native, Robert Redford, experienced permanent hearing loss after an ear infection. Redford is known for being open about his personal experience with hearing loss.
Crestone, Colorado, is reportedly the quietest town in the entire U.S. They do have it pretty easy, since they have a record of 150 residents in the small town. Regardless, there probably isn’t much noise that might increase your chance of hearing loss here! Maybe take a very quiet vacation?
The first school for the Deaf, the American School for the Deaf, was established in 1817. The three founders were Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Dr. Mason Cogswell, and Laurent Clerc. Both Clerc and Gallaudet went on to establish Gallaudet University in 1864. Thanks to them, they changed, improved, and spread education for those with hearing loss!
In 2012, Delaware Governor, Jack Markell, passed two additional laws to the newborn hearing screening process in order to further hearing loss education for new families. This process helps families find out if their child has hearing loss shortly after birth - thanks to Markell for implementing more assistance!
7UP and Martin Garrix, a Dutch DJ, hosted a concert for people with hearing loss in Miami, Florida. This performance used motion and vibrations to create an extrasensory experience for those who can’t necessarily hear the music. This was a new experience for Garrix. He said, "I got in [the] room and stepped on one of [the] vibrating platforms and played a note and I got scared. They gave me a backpack which vibrates the music, makes the vibrations stronger,” This made the experience incredible. Watch it below
Heather Whitestone, the first Deaf Miss America, currently resides on Saint Simons Island in Georgia. She received her first hearing device at 29, a cochlear implant, after losing her hearing at 18 months old. Today, she is a public speaker and writer.
In 2012, Hawaii was at the forefront for hearing healthcare benefits under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), including hearing aid coverage. Not only is it beautiful and sunny, the state wants to cover your hearing aids (and replacements every 60 months). Sounds like paradise.
Idaho’s Association for the Deaf is the only organization in the state dedicated to those who have hearing loss and safeguarding their accessibility and civil rights. They also hold the Miss Deaf Idaho and Miss Deaf Idaho Teen pageants annually.
Tampico native, Ronald Reagan, was the first President to sport hearing aids, and had himself publically fitted to eliminate negative stigmas. Newspapers loved to share the story, including the New York Times.
Tamika Catchings, born with hearing loss, is a retired professional basketball player who played for Indiana Fever. She’s famous for achieving the first-ever quintuple-double, was voted into the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time, and has the most All Star appearances - she definitely got her dribble on!
Iowa’s hearing loss history goes back a few centuries. Iowa’s Association of the Deaf, Inc. was founded in 1881, one year after the National Association of the Deaf began. Go, Iowa!
Located in the center of the United States, Kansas University started a gene therapy method to restore hearing by helping regrow hair cells in the inner ear. This could mean big things for those with noise-induced hearing loss.
The Kentucky School for the Deaf is the first state-supported school of its kind in the United States, opening in 1823. In the early years, they believed they might be able to meet the educational needs of all deaf people in the southern and western United States - but new d/Deaf schools followed shortly after because, well, there’s a lot of d/Deaf people!
Louisiana is working hard to ensure its d/Deaf and hearing impaired residents can access everything they need. The Louisiana Commission for the Deaf offers accessibility services such as hearing aids, interpreting, education and more!
Maine hosts the only annual festival in the world that showcases the newest films and innovative videos by and for the Deaf Communities, the Deaf Film Festival. This past year was their 15th year. Better get ready for next year!
This state has the most stenographers who also do Real-Time captioning and CART. CART is an acronym for Communication Access Realtime Translation, which is a speech-to-text interpreting service. This program is wonderful for those who are hard of hearing or d/Deaf, as well as other people with disabilities!
The nation's first captioning agency, the Caption Center, was founded in 1972 at the Boston public television station WGBH, captioning the first run of Julia Child’s The French Chef. Thanks to Julia Child and the Caption Center, captions are now used all over the world!
D-PAN is a non-profit organization located in Detroit that creates quality American Sign Language (ASL) music videos and translates the lyrics through ASL. The organization has translated Waiting on the World to Change (by John Mayer), Where’d You Go? (by Fort Minor), and Beautiful (by Christina Aguilera).
Minnesota is helping millions hear better! Starkey and ReSound are two of the world's leading hearing aid manufacturers, and they are both headquartered in Minnesota. Starkey is Eden Prairie and was founded in 1967, and ReSound is in Bloomington and was founded in 1943.
Heart disease is one of the most common chronic diseases in the state of Mississippi. Did you know researchers hypothesize that heart disease can actually lead to hearing loss? Poor cardiovascular heath can lead to decreased blood flow to the cochlea, causing hearing difficulties.
Born in Kansas City, Chuck Baird is one of the notable founders of the De'VIA art movement, which is an aesthetic of d/Deaf Culture. He also attended the Kansas City School for the Deaf. Spread d/Deaf messages through art!
Montana has the lowest number of audiologists per 100,000 residents (tied with California).
Nebraska has the second highest number of audiologists per 100,000 residents (Colorado is #1).
Miss and Mister Deaf International was hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016. It is a non-profit organization that “pledges to empower, enhance, and support today’s continually growing community of Deaf women and men.”
Laura Bridgman, New Hampshire native, was the first deaf-blind American child to get a significant education (50 years earlier than Helen Keller). She was educated at the Perkins Institution for the Blind.
What do you know? New Jersey has the lowest d/Deaf/hearing-impaired population in all of the United States. It’s also home of basketball star and deaflympian, Joshua McGriff.
The United States Deaf Federation (USDF) is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are the governing body for the U.S in the worldwide Deaflympics, where the U.S has participated for over 70 years. d/Deaf people and people with hearing loss are amazing athletes!
Rochester is home to one of the largest Deaf communities in the U.S. Having the National Institute for the Deaf and the Rochester School for the Deaf draws students to Rochester. The city hosts the Deaf Festival, the only Deaf Rotary Club, and many more organizations dedicated to those with hearing loss! New York is also the home of the EarQ headquarters! Our company began in Syracuse in 2001, and has grown into a network of more than 1,400 independent provider locations since.
Ryan Adams is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and poet. He is best known for his solo career, where he has released fifteen albums and a former member of alternative country band Whiskeytown. Adams was diagnosed in 2009 with Meniere's disease, causing hearing loss, yet he still rocks on, traveling the world and playing his music today!
Phyllis Frelich, a famous American actress who won the Award for Best Actress of 1980 with her performance in the Broadway play, "Children of a Lesser God." It was named Best Play of 1980 as well. Her two parents were deaf, along with her nine siblings!
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1880; a non-profit for Deaf rights that is now headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is the nation’s premier civil rights organization for the Deaf, making impactful change for all Deaf people in America!
Oklahoma City holds the most recent chapter of the National Black Deaf Advocates, which Claudia Gordon was the Vice President of. Gordon was the first black deaf female attorney to work at the White House. The NBDA was established in 1982 and works tirelessly to represent the black deaf community across the nation.
Dr. William House, the inventor and creator of the cochlear implant, passed away in 2012 in his home in Aurora. He actually never patented the implant or any of his other inventions, because he didn’t want to restrict other researchers. We love this because cochlear implants help millions of individuals hear better every day!
In 2016, Elena LaQuatra was crowned Miss Pennsylvania USA. In addition to being a news reporter and model, Elena is also a proud advocate for hearing loss. After losing her hearing at the age of four due to bacterial meningitis, Elena received her cochlear implant.
The Rhode Island School for the Deaf is one of the first five-day Pre-Kindergarten - 12 grade schools to be founded in the United States. It was also the last deaf school to be founded in the 1800’s. Go Roosters!
Roger Demosthenes O'Kelly was born in the same year as Helen Keller (1880) and was the second person to receive a law degree at Yale University in 1912. He was both blind and deaf, just like Keller! He passed away in South Carolina at the age of 82.
Established in 1880, the South Dakota School for the Deaf (SDSD) has a mission to educate children with hearing loss. In addition to providing quality education and hearing healthcare services, SDSD is a great resource for empowering families as well!
Songs for Sound is a Nashville charity founded on a heartwarming story and a passionate objective to help people seek the hearing healthcare they need. They raise awareness, help provide free hearing tests and services, encourage action, and promote healthy hearing. How cool?
The first audiology program started at Baylor University in 1994. We thank the University for educating so many of the audiologists who help people hear better each day!
Nathaniel Baldwin created the first successful pair of headphones and sold them to the US Navy. However, the Navy shortly discovered that he was making 10 at a time in his kitchen in Utah, and he had to find another way to manufacture! Guess cooking isn’t the only thing done in the kitchen!
James Denison, a Vermont native, was the only deaf delegate (among 164 hearing delegates) to attend the conference of Milan in 1880, which regarded oral deaf education. The National Association for the Deaf was founded in the U.S. due to this conference.
The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind was established in 1839. This is one of the oldest schools in Virginia, and the second of its kind in the world, as it has a combination of d/Deaf and blind students.
CenturyLink Field, where the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks play, is notably the loudest football stadium in the world. Paul Greisemer, the architect that designed the field, reports that the reasons it’s so loud is: the roof, the closed quarters, and the materials used. If you’re going to this stadium, please bring some earplugs!
Washington D.C., Our Nation’s Capital
Abraham Lincoln helped establish and supported Gallaudet University, a school for the d/Deaf and hard of hearing, as an official collegiate institution. To this day, the current President of the U.S. signs each diploma for the graduates.
While New Jersey has the lowest, West Virginia has the highest d/Deaf/hearing-impaired population in the U.S.
William Hoy, the first Deaf major league baseball player, started his baseball career in Oshkosh. He hit the second grand slam in history in 1901, and started baseball hand signals that still exist today.
Thomas Edison, America’s Greatest Inventor, lost his hearing at a very young age due to scarlet fever. In Wyoming, he (and his team of scientists) discovered the filament that would make a lightbulb last over 1,200 hours by examining a few threads from a bamboo fishing pole while fishing on Battle Lake. Sometimes the most iconic discoveries occur at the strangest of times!
Across the United States
EarQ has hearing healthcare professionals from sea to shining sea! Schedule an appointment with the provider location in your area today! Remember to share your state's hearing health fact with your friends and family!