AG Bell Announces 2012 Recipient of the Award of Distinction

CONTACT: Susan Boswell

WASHINGTON, DC – The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) named Sen. Olympia Snowe as the 2012 recipient of its prestigious Award of Distinction. The award was presented on May 16, 2012, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

The Alexander Graham Bell Award of Distinction is given to leaders outside the field of education and (re)habilitation who have made outstanding contributions on a local, national or international level to promote and address hearing loss-related issues.

Sen. Snowe received the award for her role in supporting the Hearing Aid Tax Credit during the 110th and 111th congresses, and for introducing the legislation to the current 112th Congress. As an influential member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which reviews all tax legislation, Sen. Snowe’s co-sponsorship and active support of the bill is significant. The legislation provides a tax credit of up to $500 per hearing aid, once every five years, for any individual who purchases a hearing aid.

Sen. Snowe also helped champion the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act of 2010 in the Senate, which was reauthorized on Dec. 22, 2010. This law (P.L. 111-337) is an expansion of the original EHDI legislation passed in 2001. The new changes required Congress to “reauthorize” the law so that it will ensure continued early identification and intervention strategies specific for infants who are identified as deaf or hard of hearing.

“Senator Snowe has emerged as a leader and a tireless advocate for individuals with hearing loss, and specifically in pushing for early identification for children with hearing loss through her legislative efforts,” said AG Bell President Kathleen Treni. “She is also aware of the financial strain hearing loss can have on individuals and families, and has gone above and beyond in her efforts to help ensure a more fair and equitable offset of costs associated with hearing aids.”

Past recipients include Senators Tom Harkin and Patrick Leahy; ABC news anchors Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson; and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy; among many others.


About the AG Bell Association
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advancing Listening and Spoken Language for Individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing! Visit