Advocating for Hearing Access: Janice Lintz MC/MPA 2023

Advocating for Hearing Access: Janice Lintz MC/MPA 2023

Janice Lintz is a consultant and advocate across the hearing

access, advocacy, and political spectrum. She serves as the CEO of Hearing

Access & Innovations, which is dedicated to helping the world’s businesses,

cultural and entertainment institutions, government agencies, and mass transit

organizations improve their accessibility for people with hearing loss. An avid

traveler, Lintz has traveled to 194 countries, territories, and unrecognized

nations. She in an incoming HKS student and will complete the MC/MPA Program in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Rethinking Cities for People with Hearing Loss

In 2021, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and

Innovation featured an article written by Lintz on the center’s blog. The

article, written before the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs

Act, urges decision-makers to incorporate hearing access into their infrastructure

improvement plans.

We need to ensure that cities

upgrade hearing access as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Act, which was approved by the Senate, will provide American cities with $1

trillion to rebuild airports, ferries, terminals, public transit, and rail, to

name a few of the categories under President Biden’s “Build Back Better”

program. Upgrading hearing access needs to be part of upgrading America.

Therefore, we need to mandate that cities incorporate hearing access into their

plans. Read more.

We asked Lintz what inspired her to advocate for hearing

access and what she is looking forward to as an incoming HKS student.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in advocacy and public service?

A: I’ve been an advocate my entire life. I see a problem not

as an obstacle but as an opportunity for change. According to my mother, I

convinced the local nursery school to admit me even though I was too young because

I was bored at home. In college, I helped bring healthier food to the

cafeteria. Recently, I worked with Epic Systems to bring greater transparency

and accountability to medical billing. It is in my DNA to resolve issues rather

than wait for someone else to do it.

However, my daughter, who has hearing loss, inspired my

hearing loss advocacy. After her diagnosis, her doctor told me there were “special”

schools for her. Instead, she attended a private schools in New York City and

two Ivy League universities. I wouldn’t let others lower the bar for my daughter’s life before it

got started.

Q: In your time spent advocating for hearing access, what do you consider

your biggest accomplishment(s)?

A: My most significant success is helping to break the

hearing aid oligopoly with the new Proposed Regulations to Establishing

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids, which will change the hearing aid market

globally. People with mild to moderate hearing loss will soon be able to

purchase hearing aids over-the-counter and no longer need to go to an

audiologist or dispenser. In addition, the FDA will test the hearing aids, and

prices are expected to decrease as new companies enter the market. My hope is

that the FDA will include easy-to-understand descriptions so lay consumers will

be able to understand the technical information.

I also love that Build-A-Bear Workshop introduced toy

hearing aids to their product line at my suggestion. They were the first

mainstream toy company to do so, and now Mattel has followed their lead. As a

result, children with hearing loss can have playthings that look like them, and

the toy hearing aids will soon join the Strong National Museum of Play’s collection

and exhibition.

Q: What are you most looking forward to as an incoming HKS student?

A: There is nothing more exciting to me than being around

like-minded global changemakers—the opportunity to learn from other dynamic

students, professors, and speakers. I cannot wait to achieve more for people

with hearing loss and help others to advance change for the issues that are

meaningful to them.