Bethesda, Md — The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) will present its National Access Award to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during HLAA’s Convention 2011. The convention is being held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, June 16 to 19, in Arlington, Va.

HLAA is recognizing the Kennedy Center for its efforts to make the Washington, DC area performing arts center a venue that can be enjoyed by everyone, including people with hearing loss and other disabilities.

HLAA estimates that there are 5 million people in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with some form of hearing loss. As the nation’s premiere performing arts center, the Kennedy Center has led by example, ensuring that performances are accessible through real-time captioning, hearing assistive technology, and sign language interpretation.

The Kennedy Center has also led the way for other performing arts centers, sharing information that promotes disability access across the country.

"We are grateful to be recognized for our accessibility efforts," said Michael M. Kaiser, Kennedy Center president. "It is a priority at the Kennedy Center to make sure performances and facilities are enjoyed by all patrons. Through our accessibility initiatives and VSA, our goal is to provide arts and arts education opportunities for people with disabilities and older adults and increase access to the arts for all."

Six hundred HLAA Convention attendees will have an opportunity to celebrate the range of accessibility at the Kennedy Center at a performance of Wicked on June 17. That evening’s performance will be made communication accessible through captioning, hearing loop and infrared systems, as well as sign language interpretation.

This off-site event is sponsored by CTIA—the Wireless Association, and by Audiotoniq, an international hearing loop manufacturer that is providing and installing a hearing loop in the Kennedy Center’s Opera House for the Wicked event.

SOURCE: The Hearing Loss Association of America