February 2017

On Saturday, March 11, the Chapter will host an unprecedented opportunity where you can try and compare the latest hearing aids, wireless accessories and assistive listening devices in a clinic environment with the guidance of hearing care professionals.
This one-day event will enable consumers to compare different hearing technologies    in actual use
without obligation or purchasing the devices.
Forget those full-page ads that are sales come-ons. The “Hearing Tech Clinic” is a
“sales free” event!

Sponsored by your not-for-profit Sarasota/Manatee Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, following are some of the opportunities at the Clinic:
  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Community access
  • Hearing loops
  • Captioned phones
  • CART/captions
  • Free hearing screenings
  • Free product demonstrations
  • Free product trials
  • Free individual counseling
  • Free panel discussions
  • Free exhibitors

 Mark your calendar!
Saturday, March 11, from 9AM to 2PM
The Community Foundation of Sarasota
       2635 Fruitville Road, Sarasota between Tuttle Avenue and Shade Avenue
(one mile east of 301 and four miles west of I-75)
For more information, contact Ed Ogiba at


President's Message


Dear Members and Friends,
HLAA membership is so reasonable!
In this issue of Listen Up, you will see our $10 Van Wezel evening with the Gershwins for $10 ($36 at the box office), free tickets for Players Theater and an introduction to “Caption Glasses” with fellow members for the Private Eyes movie club (the first visit is free). This is just some of the “support” part of our mission. 
Our mission is to “empower people with hearing loss to lead more active lives in the community by providing Education, Support, Advocacy and Information to the 145,000 people in the two-county area with hearing loss”.
Our Chapter is a national leader in advocacy for hearing loops but continue in our Chapter meetings and outreach to assist you in advocating for yourself.  In this issue, “Legal” advises how to advocate for captions from you living room chair. Our March Chapter meeting will address advocacy and rights when travelling.
Updates in education and information will highlight our After Hours and Chapter meeting in February. A leading audiologist and one of Florida’s best education oriented ENT’s from Tampa will address those meetings—their backgrounds and topics are listed in this issue.
The $35 membership covers our all-volunteer efforts and includes the support of the national HLAA as well. ADA rights, captioning of movies and TV would not likely be at the level attained without their vigilance in Washington
The Hearing Loss Association of America has an impact on communication access, public policy, research, public awareness, and service delivery related to hearing loss. Its national support network includes an office in the Washington D.C. area, state organizations, and HLAA Chapters across the country. 
HLAA brings consumers and policy makers together to learn about communication access at the national, state and local levels. HLAA staff works at the national level to affect legislation that impacts people with hearing loss, whether it’s funding for hearing aids and cochlear implants, communication access in public places, or other important issues.
HLAA provides timely and reliable information about hearing loss through its website, 
Hearing Loss Magazine, the online e-News, the Hearing Loss Support Specialists Trainingmessage boards/chat forums and webinars. HLAA also holds annual conventions for people with hearing loss and professionals.

Membership applications are available on line at:   
Complimentary Membership for Veterans

Best wishes to all,

JoAnne DeVries, President

Website -
Facebook -



AVA (HLAA Exhibitors) Awarded Forbes Magazine                  
“30 Under 30” Award

Skinner Cheng, Pieter Doevendans and Thibault Duchemin were named by Forbes Magazine as Consumer Technology ”30 under 30” achievers.

Chapter members who have attended the HLAA Convention know them as the Dutch and French inventors of AVA.  Many Chapter members have Beta tested their real-time captioning technology to carry on conversations in a noisy restaurant.

Kudos to the guys!

The Fortune article went on to say:

“Berkeley, Calif.-based AVA makes a mobile tool to convert conversations into text for hearing-impaired individuals. The app takes in conversations through a phone's microphone and works to transcribe that into readable text. CEO Duchemin grew up as the only person that could hear in an all-deaf family and the company originally set out to build smart gloves to translate sign language.

User research showed that one of the steepest challenges for deaf people is following group conversations. Solving that challenge became the focus of the Transcense technology. The partners’ first idea was to develop a glove that a deaf person could wear to translate sign language to voice. But after spending three months on a prototype, they saw a flaw in the device: the configuration was not robust enough for the speech-to-text element to function well. READ MORE!

Scholarship Chair Patricia Lakey has announced the 2017 HLAA-S/M $1,000 scholarship to the HLAA National Convention in June of 2017.

Our Chapter offers this annual scholarship to members in good standing who have not attended a National Convention.
The scholarship will entitle the winner to a registration to the Hearing Loss Association of America convention in Salt Lake City, Utah from June 21-25, 2017. The scholarship will also include a shared room at the convention hotel for three or four nights, and round-trip airfare or automobile travel expense between Florida and Salt Lake City.  The maximum value of the scholarship is $1,000. Besides that, it’s a fun experience guaranteed to make you want to return year after year!
The deadline to apply is March 7, 2017.
Scholarship application can be found on our website:

Our Professional Partners:

The HLAA policy is to not recommend any specific product or any specific ENT, Audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.
Although the Chapter follows this policy, it has identified professionals who endorse our 501 (c) (3)’s mission to help others through information, education, advocacy and support. They are listed on our webpage at  
Members are encouraged to review this list of professionals when considering professional services.

Additional information is also available on HLAA’s National website. The site features a searchable hearing health care directory that enables you to look for hearing products and local hearing aid providers.
To access, click on:





Listen Up recommends our Helpful Links/Resource Page for relevant information regarding hearing loss READ MORE!


Calling all Volunteers!
Venice Members – We Need You!

Immediate volunteer assistance is needed for the Venice Farmers Market HLAA booth on Saturday, February 4. Contact Ed Ogiba at
HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee hosts monthly meetings, organizes social events and participates in community outreach.  In the past few years, the Chapter has grown to over 200 members and the Board is committed to continuing that growth. To accomplish this, your support is necessary.  We always have a need for volunteers for the Chapter meetings, such as membership assistance, 50/50 raffle and social hour.
The Chapter is active in outreach at the Farmers Market, Health Fairs, public events and knowledgeable members are encouraged to assist us. There are so many ways you can make a difference, and we will gladly accept any time you can give.
Please contact Anne Taylor at if you can pay it forward with your time to help educate and advocate for the 145,000 community members with hearing loss.





The Chapter’s outreach program covers over 100 events a year.  Please contact Dave Donnelley to “pay it forward” by attending events with our table and materials and informally offering education, advocacy and support to members of our community. 
On the job training is available at any Farmers Market day or a special event. Let Dave know if you can help HLAA - Sarasota/Manatee by contacting

Saturday, February 4
9 AM to 1 PM  - VENICE

Ed Ogiba will man the booth in Venice, located in downtown on Tampa Avenue.       Stop by and visit - better yet, volunteer to help! Contact

Saturday February 18

Our monthly information and support booth at the Sarasota Farmer’s Marker offers an opportunity for people to learn how to address their hearing loss.

The Chapter has a permanently assigned site at1920 State Street, between Lemon and Pineapple.
There will be free hearing screening each month by one of HLAA - Sarasota/Manatee’s Pro Partners. If you have a friend who needs hearing help and cannot make one of our meetings, please suggest they visit us here.


Please contact Dave Donnelly to “pay it forward” and join our Outreach volunteers. We informally offer education, advocacy and support to members of our community.   “On the job” training is available at any Farmers Market day or special event. Let Dave Donnelly know if you can help HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee by contacting .





February 8th, 2017 1:30 PM

Dr. Kyle Allen, MD, MPH, an Otologist, Neurotologist, and Skull Based Surgeon with the Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center in Tampa, was rated as the #1 speaker at last year’s Healthy Hearing Expo.

His presentation at our upcoming February meeting is entitled “What is New in Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Technology”. Following the presentation, Dr. Allen will entertain questions on technology, balance, tinnitus and any other concerns you have.

Chapter meetings are open to the community and people with hearing loss, their family members and supporting friends.

North Sarasota Library Meeting Room
2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota

January Chapter Meeting Recap

"Aural Rehabilitation” was a most informative presentation!

Karalee Needelman, Cochlear Implant Consumer Specialist with Advanced Bionics, spoke about how improved auditory skills can enhance emotional health, reduce isolation and expand options in education, social life and work. She provided tips and resources for comprehension, identification, discrimination and detection as part of “re-learning to listen”.


It was great to see some of our northern friends back in attendance.  We had an attendance count of over 50!

Next Meeting – Tuesday, February 7 at 6:00 PM

“After Hours” is the evening Chapter meeting for members and guests who are unable to attend during the day. Of course, all members and guests are welcome!
Chaired by Dr. Lindsey Nalu, the meetings are held at 6:00 PM at the Centers for Arts and Humanities, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
This month’s speaker, Victoria Moore, Au.D., will discuss and demonstrate the latest developments in hearing device technology.

Dr. Moore’s presentation is entitled “We Need More Than Hearing Aids”.
Come learn about these exciting changes and how they may improve your hearing.
As always, light munchies and products of Napa and Sonoma are served.

                  Meeting is supported by CART. 


Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!




Bob Traynor, the editor of Hearing Health and Technology Matters, recently wrote about medical marijuana’s effect (now approved in Florida) on several hearing issues. Permission with attribution was granted to post this recent article.
Tinnitus—Medical Marijuana Experimental at This Point
Until recently, not much was known about the cause or source of tinnitus. New thoughts on tinnitus from various researchers funded by the Veterans Administration (VA), National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as private organizations such as the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), suggest that tinnitus is not necessarily an auditory or ear malady but a brain issue.
Prevailing older theories generally assume tinnitus is due to inner ear malfunction of one type or another (e.g., mis-shapened or destroyed hair cells; lack of blood supply to the ear; etc). Yet, audiologists and otolaryngologists have known for some time that even when the auditory nerve is cut, the tinnitus from the “disconnected” ear can persist, often even worse than before
Dr. Thanos Tzounopoulos, Chair of Auditory Physiology within the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, was among the first researchers to suggest that the locus of tinnitus was in the brain and not the brain. His research suggests that tinnitus is likely caused by misfiring neurons in the auditory center of the brain, and may be caused by an imbalance between inhibitors and stimulus within the auditory sensation.
In other words, the brain is mistakenly responding to sound, where no sound exists, creating the tinnitus effect. These studies, begun in 2009, were further refined in 2011 and have become an ongoing investigation.

What does that have to do with marijuana use? READ MORE!



Advocating for TV captioning has never been easier. It now only takes two minutes online to complete the form; the FCC automatically responds within an hour assigning a complaint number and then advises of the investigation process within 24 hours.
Nearly all TV broadcasting MUST be captioned with few exceptions. The most common exceptions are 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM programming, local educational programming and public service announcements.  Thus, 100% of network programming from 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM must be captioned, and the FCC no longer accepts garbled and out of synch captions.
The FCC prefers complaints be filed with the local cable or TV station; however, they accept complaints direct and then require a response from the local provider. 
Recently, a member saw garbled captions on a cable news network morning show. They e-mailed the complaint form, received an FCC complaint number an hour later, was contacted by the FCC by phone the next day, and advised the following day of a technical computer failure by the network that was now resolved. All within 48 hours - unheard of with the “Feds”.
Thus, it is simplest to file an online complaint by filling in a few blanks and, when possible, attach a phone/tablet picture of the lack of captions or garbled captions. 
The direct link is:
The more often we  - HLAA advocates  - do this, the higher the compliance rates will be as no cable company or TV station enjoys having to fill out FCC response forms.


Hearing Aid Tax Credit Introduced in the Senate

On January 5, 2017 Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced hearing aid tax credit legislation (S. 48), which would provide for a $500 tax credit toward the purchase of a hearing aid. Medicare excludes coverage of hearing aids, resulting in a high cost obstacle for many people who choose not to treat their hearing loss. If implemented, the tax credit would apply to all.
Senators Heller and Klobuchar both serve on the Senate Finance Committee, which plays a large role in shaping tax reform legislation.
Please contact (link below) Senators Nelson and Rubio and request they co-sponsor this Bill. The legislation is identical to S. 315, which was introduced in January 2015.



Chapter’s Vice President’s Monthly Column in The Venice Gondolier

[Anne Taylor is a Bilateral Cochlear Implant user, a Gallaudet Certified Peer Mentor for the Hard of Hearing, Vice President of the local Hearing Loss of America)   

Hints (with a little added Humor) for
Happier, Healthier Hearing in the New Year!
The holidays are over now. The twinkling lights are gone. It’s a bit quieter in the streets.
Even though the holidays were special, they may have been stressful especially, for those of us with hearing loss. Not just at holiday times … parties and large gatherings are particularly challenging, as there are many people talking at the same time, and often with music in the background.
So, in the New Year, as we make resolutions to better our lives, we include focusing on what we can do, not on what we can’t do.

  1. Do not hide your hearing loss. It could make you appear snobbish, as if you are ignoring others, or as if you are not very bright. Wear your hearing aids and cochlear implants and let people see you have trouble hearing. They might say, ‘What are those things on your ears?’ There is your opportunity to educate them about hearing help equipment. They might say, ‘Ah, but you don’t look deaf!’



All webinars are captioned and archived for access at the HLAA website.  HLAA has found that member’s schedules are busy but many go the archives to catch up on the topics that interest them. The website gives you the opportunity to do that.  
To view a Webinar, go to
The February Webinar has not been scheduled yet but in January, the NAS historic study on Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Access and Affordability was discussed.
Barbara Kelley, Executive Director, HLAA; Lise Hamlin, Director of Public Policy, HLAA; and Brenda Battat, a member of the NAS Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults and former HLAA executive director discussed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) study.  HLAA was the only consumer-group sponsor of the study along with several federal agencies.
Hearing is a complex physiologic process and when one has hearing loss, it can have its effects on health, independence, well-being, quality of life, and daily function as well as on everyday communication.
This evidence-based study which declares hearing loss as a major health issue focuses on improving accessibility and affordability of hearing health care for adults.



HLAA Membership Notes

Our memberships are dual memberships in both the HLAA and the HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter.

The cost is $35 for an Individual membership; $45 for a Couple.
Among the many functions of HLAA National is the lobbying for people with hearing loss to have equal access in public venues.
If you have any questions on Membership, please feel free to contact Anne Taylor at
Membership applications can be found at the Chapter website,

Welcome new members!

Lynn Farrow                            Sarasota       
Betty Pennock                        Port Charlotte                      
Janet Leonberger                   Sarasota
Richard Pocker                       Osprey




Listen Up recommends four Websites that have relevant information regarding hearing loss: 
HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter Website:
Check it out!  Listen Up links to: 
Also, don’t forget four websites that have up to date information regarding hearing loss:

The national HLAA website is:
The Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (the Governor appoints two HLAA-FL members to the Council by statute) website has been moved to the Department of Health.  It is:
The HLAA-Florida Association website is:

 The Center for Hearing & Communication (CHC) website is:

Assistive Listening Device Locator



The Chapter’s Facebook page is a fantastic resource for anything and everything related to hearing loss! Pictures and notices of HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee activities, industry information, medical advancements and much more are posted daily. 
The Chapter now has reached nearly 1100 ‘likes”!
Find us on Facebook by clicking on the URL below and then tap on "LIKE". It’s that simple!






Private Eyes Movie Club (Members Only)

The Private Eyes Movie Club now meets on LAST Thursdays!
This month, the Club will “meet” on Thursday, February 23, around 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM at the Hollywood 20 on Main St. in Sarasota. A roundtable review - and other conversation - follows at a restaurant within short walking distance of the theatre.
The exact time and movie will be announced to Private Eyes members and guests. Membership is
free – sign-up with link below, by e-mail or on Facebook.
Remember to ask for “caption glasses” or caption devices at any movie theatre and thank them for the accommodation.
Sony describes the glasses as follows: “The glasses may be comfortably worn over prescription eyewear. The closed-caption viewing uses unique Sony holographic technology, which delivers bright, clear, and easy-to-read subtitles seemingly ‘in the air’.  The system transmits closed-caption data from a media server wirelessly to the glasses' receiver box, and can be programmed to display subtitles in a choice of six languages.
The Private Eyes Movie Club is open to anyone in the community to learn how Sony Captioned Glasses can improve your understanding of a film.
Glasses are
free with the purchase of your movie ticket.
HLAA Members are entitled to a
free movie ticket with their first outing with the Movie Club.

Those interested in the movie club should contact Anne Taylor ( to be included to the monthly movie club mailings. It is also important that you RSVP to Anne if you need to reserve a pair of caption glasses.
The December group saw “La La Land” and followed with a great meal and discussion.


Curtain Time Theater Club (Members Only)


The Chapter has confirmation for our 2017 Van Wezel tickets. Each year, non-profits are given a block of tickets at a reduced rate. Our event will be “RHAPSODY AND RHYTHM”, a multimedia musical concert celebrating the music of George and Ira Gershwin on Wednesday, April 5, at 8:00 PM.
This is another advantage of our $35 annual membership and is a “Members Only” event.

Please leave your e-mail with Committee Chair Anne Taylor at 
and mail your check in the amount of $10 for each ticket for yourself and up to one guest to: Anne Taylor, 11651 Ashinga Ave., Venice, FL 34292.
An optional dinner prior to the show will be scheduled as well.     
The Players Theatre at 838 N. Tamiami Trail, in its 87th season, provides the Chapter with 20 to 25 tickets for the pre-opening of its Broadway series productions. The theatre is looped!
 The next production is Big FISH and our tickets will be for Preview Night, February 14.

If you wish to attend “Big Fish”, please leave your e-mail with Committee Chair Anne Taylor at Tickets are allocated on first response basis.  
If you use the box office in person,
thank them for the loop
If you attend a performance,
thank them for the loop



Between The Covers Book Club (Members Only) 

The Chapter’s “Between the Covers” Book Club meets twice a year, Spring and Fall. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 15 at 5:00 PM.
Katherine Bouton’s first book, “Shouting Won’t Help”, was a “Covers” selection several years ago. Her follow-up book, “Living Better with Hearing Loss”, is a practical guide to daily life with hearing loss, from the mildest to the most severe.
With anecdotes, humor and hard-earned experience, the Hearing Loss Association Board member and former New York Times feature writer shares tips for travel, restaurants, the workplace, love, sex and friends.
The book is available in all forms at





Copyright ©
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 48643
Sarasota, FL 34230

Email - Info@hlas@org
Listen Up HLAA-S monthly newsletter offers Education, Advocacy and Support for the 145,000 people with hearing loss in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. For more information visit or call 941-706-4312.  For comments or suggestions, contact editor Richard N. Williams at  Opinions expressed in “Listen Up” are those of the Editor or Author.  Mention of goods and services in articles or advertisements does not mean the Hearing Loss Association of America or the Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota Chapter endorses same nor should exclusion suggest disapprovaal