National Hearing Health Organizations: Financial Overview

National Hearing Health Organizations: Financial Overview

By Dr. Terry Portis

January 2010

Editor: If you’ve ever wondered how some of the national hearing health organizations compare in terms of financial strength, you’ll love this article! It’s from the blog of Dr. Terry Portis, as presented in Bob MacPherson’s bhNEWS  – as Bob always says, “Enjoy and Learn on bhNEWS!! ”


In a recent conversation someone asked me “how big” the various professional and consumer hearing health organizations were. It is somewhat difficult to tell looking at publications or websites. However, these organizations all have non-profit status, which means their finances are public record.


It takes several months, and sometimes close to a year, for audited financial information to be made publicly available. Organizations sometimes respond to publicly available information by saying the current year is going to look different. The numbers below are from the current publicly available audited financial information.

I only looked at two numbers: annual expenditures and net assets. Net assets tell you how much the “company” would be worth if it were to be sold.

To see a spreadsheet of this information, point your browser to

Consumer Membership Organizations

Finding out membership numbers is no easy task. Organizations may have specials, or give away memberships to select groups. Organizations, like churches, also tend to be slow to remove members from their rolls, even if they are not paying. However, looking at membership revenue, one can come up with a solid estimate of the number of paid memberships.

The average advocacy organization can expect to lose up to 25% of their membership per year. So, in order to have any gain in membership, you need to grow new membership by 26% to have a 1% net growth. An organization might report a 26% growth in membership, but lost 25% of their existing members. So in reality the net membership growth is only 1%.

Two organizations were analyzed for this post, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the National Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NAD). In 2007 HLAA had approximately 7,447 paying members, and reported 6,089 paying members in 2008. This is a net membership loss of 1,358 or 18%. In 2007 NAD reported 5,735 paid members, and 5,842 paid members in 2008. This is a net membership gain of 107 members, or just under 2% net growth.