October 2016


Thanks to the leadership of JoAnne DeVries, Maria Anderson and Ed Ogiba, the Chapter raised $ 11,729 with 80 donations!
Overall, the Giving Challenge raised $13,386.909 from 63,567 donors.
An additional sum is possible as an award for the “Be The One” campaign of the Chapter. Also, a bonus of $500 may be coming the Chapter’s way for being in the first 50 charities to have 50 donors.



 President's Message


Thank you so much for all your gifts! The generosity from 80 HLAA-S/M supporters during the Giving Challenge contributed $4,668 which earned matching funds of $7,261 (from the Patterson Foundation) for the grand total of $11,729. An enormous Thank You to the Community Foundation for your ongoing support. 

Every year during the Giving Challenge, we get hooked to our screens, phones, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County Facebook page, reaching out to our supporters, our friends, and our family. A combination of emails and social media outreach got the word out some, but word-of-mouth effort from everyone that believes in our mission, from the board on down and a “very active, very engaged” support community made the real difference.

This year we collaborated with the Ear Research Foundation and HearCare Connection, two hearing loss non-profits in our community. A very special thank you to our hosts for our Hearing Loss Reception, John & Eileen Hampshire for opening the doors of the beautiful Art To Walk On (16 S Palm) to support healthy hearing!  We have made some new friends in the hearing loss community! 

Have you wondered how your donations are used?  Your donations have contributed to the foundation of our 2017 programs. We will continue to keep you updated on how your donations are put to work. Your continued support is critical to helping us achieve our goals. We will not waver from or forget that our ultimate goal is to make a difference in the lives of people with hearing loss. in Sarasota/Manatee! 

Thank You for your ongoing support! 





It is time again to seek members for the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Board of Trustees. The term is for 2 years — 2017-2019. The deadline is Oct 17, 2016. Elections will be at the December general meeting. The job description and the application are posted on the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee website at

If you have an interest in our Mission, ”Enable people with hearing loss and their families to meet the challenge of hearing loss and to participate in the mainstream of an enlightened society through information, education, advocacy and support”, we want your contribution.
Please contact the Chapter Nominations Committee Chair, Dr. Susan Fulton, at for additional information if needed. Dr. Fulton states: “We are looking for individuals with a love of the association and who are interested in getting involved and making a difference”.


Our Professional Partners:

The HLAA highlights hearing products and local hearing aid providers --

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

Below, most of our Professional Partners support many causes including HLAA. Our Chapter has partnered with the Ear Research Foundation and the Hear Care Connection in the “Be The One” Giving Challenge this year.

Doctors Jack Wazen and Herb Silverstein of the Ear Research Foundation supported the Chapter’s Giving Challenge from a Conference out west

The HearCare Connection and the Ear Research Foundation joined the HLAA Chapter at “Happy Hour” at Clasico’s to kick off the Giving Challenge

Elaine Olsen- Hear Care, Jennifer Moss-Ear Research Foundation,
Eileen Hampshire-Art to Walk On, John Annis-Community Foundation, JoAnne DeVries, HLAA S//M

Lip-reading classes at ACE (Adult Continuing Education) will be held at the Technical School on Proctor and Beneva in Sarasota.  They will begin on October 5th and end on December 7th with no class the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 

The classes are
FREE thanks to an anonymous grant.

The classes begin at 10 am and end by 12 in room 205.  All students must register at the ACE office either by phone, e mail, or in person.  Contact the ACE office at 941-361-6590.




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


Calling all Volunteers!
Our HLAA chapter is run completely by volunteers. 
As always, there is a continuing opportunity for your not-for-profit volunteer time.  Please take a look at the list of volunteer interests  to see if there might be something you would like to do.


Most assignments do not require a long commitment of time or energy and provide the added benefit of making you feel more a part of the local chapter.  And don't worry; you'll have someone to provide guidance and support.. We hope you would be willing to share your time and talents.  And it's a great way to meet new people

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market -
Saturday, October 15th 7:00 - 1:00 

[NOTE - Now THIRD Saturday of the month]

Chapter’s Outreach Program
The Chapter’s outreach program covers over 100 events a year and Chapter members regularly offer assistance at the table at community events, health fairs, Chamber events as well as the Farmers Market.


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, 1920 State Street between Lemon and Pineapple.  

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 .

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.
It’s a fun place to go on a Saturday morning—if you have folks from the north, a great place to go—and if it’s a third Saturday, stop by and say hello to Dave and our volunteers.






Do you question the four page ads for the hearing aids that will make your hearing better than hearing folks?

Are you amazed by the wrap around the front-page ads promising the end of all of your hearing issues?

Do you wonder how all the hearing aid companies can afford to run the full-page ads every week?

Mark Selis
of All Ears Hearing Services will address these issues in “Truth in Hearing Aid Advertising” at the October 12th daytime chapter meeting at 1:30 PM. 

The venue is the North Sarasota Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.

September Chapter Meeting Recap

President JoAnne DeVries opened the meeting with announcements of upcoming events.

Kathy Combs, our program chair, introduced members who attended the June HLAA Convention in Washington DC

Flo Innes highlighted a number of assistive devices promoted at the Convention 

Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!



Our Chapter will be participating in the Walk4Hearing on November 12.

Vinell Lacy will lead our team, the “Dream Team”.  The more walkers we have the broader our reach will be in raising awareness for hearing loss. Your participation will help make this a successful walk. If you can’t make it, please contribute.

Participating in an event that raises money for HLAA might touch your life in some way. Think about the ways that hearing loss has impacted you and those around you. The money we raise goes to HLAA both at the national and local levels to fund outreach and awareness programs.

Let's step up to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and make hearing loss an issue of national concern.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the Walk4Hearing!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Metropolitan Park
Jacksonville, FL
Dream team link--

If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

MEDICAL - FDA Approves Laser Sound Processor Hearing Aid

A “new” way of hearing has recently been approved by the FDA. They have allowed marketing of a nonsurgical hearing aid that uses a laser light diode and direct vibration of the eardrum to amplify sound.  The result is a much wider range of frequencies than a traditional hearing aid.


The EarLens Contact Hearing Device (CHD) is indicated for use by adults with mild to severe sensorineural hearing impairment.

According to statistics compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication, the EarLens CHD consists of two parts: a tympanic membrane transducer (TMT), which is non-surgically placed deeply into the ear canal on the eardrum, and a behind-the-ear (BTE) audio processor that sits on the outer ear and is connected to an ear tip that is placed in the ear canal. External sound waves received by the BTE processor are converted to electronic signals, digitally processed, amplified and sent to the ear tip, which contains a laser diode. There, the electronic signals of amplified sound are converted to pulses of light. The laser light pulses then shine onto a photodetector in the TMT, which converts the light back into electronic signals, transmitting sound vibrations directly to the eardrum by direct contact.

The EarLens CHD differs from traditional air conduction hearing aids in several ways. The TMT component is custom-molded to the patient’s eardrum and contains a driver mechanism that directly stimulates the eardrum, enabling efficient amplification of sound (functional gain).                           

Clinical data supporting the safety and effectiveness of the EarLens CHD.  Studies showed that after 30 days of device use, the 48 subjects experienced, on average, a 33 percent improvement in word recognition. Users also experienced a clinically significant functional gain of 30.5 decibels (dB) on average in the high frequency range (2,000-10,000 Hz), with an average of 30-40 dB of functional gain noted at 6,000 Hz and above and a maximum of 68 dB at 9,000-10,000 Hz, which is not typically achieved with conventional air-conduction hearing aids.

EarLens CHD is manufactured by EarLens Corporation of Menlo Park, California.



LEGAL – Why is There No Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids

The time has come for Medicare to cover the cost of expensive hearing aids. On June 9, 2015, HLAA penned a letter of support for the Help Extend Auditory Relief (HEAR) Act, H.R 2748. On June 12, 2015, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced the reintroduction of the HEAR Act, H.R 2748 with the support of 10 members of Congress. Cartwright first introduced the HEAR Act in 2013.

The HEAR Act would provide Medicare coverage for hearing rehabilitation services, including a comprehensive audiology assessment to determine if a hearing aid is appropriate. The Bill would also extend Medicare coverage to hearing aids.

Unfortunately, similar Bills have failed in the past and we cannot be optimistic with this Bill.  Dr. Zeng, Chair of the Hearing Journal Board postulated some theories in an article published last month in the Hearing Journal. The article was entitled: “Why Does Medicare Cover Cochlear Implants But Not Hearing Aids?” The link is:

He postulated that a growing body of medical evidence impairs quality of life and socioeconomic status. He remarked about the disparity of zero for hearing aids and $24,000 for cochlear implants.

He discussed the history of Medicare coverage criteria for a “health benefit” and summarized that “Apparently, the CMS has determined that the published evidence on the health benefits of hearing aids is inadequate, and that, accordingly, hearing aids do not merit any coverage”.

He points out that cochlear implants are regarded as Class III devices and hearing aids as Class 1 devices and are exempt from FDA approval. He stated that Medicare coverage “will depend on the willingness and ability of hearing aid manufacturers to quantify the health benefits of hearing aids, which would be directly compared to other covered medical devices “.

He intimated that physicians on CMS advisory panels perhaps have a bias to surgical procedures rather than devices sold by hearing aid dispensers may add to the disparate treatment.

[Editor’s note—For the first time, “Listen Up’ was denied the right to reprint an article even though it is not-for-profit, has no paid staff and carries no advertising in its newsletter. The suggested a summary and link which has been done]



A recent Herald-Tribune article reported on our Chapter’s advocacy efforts:

Asolo Rep installs hearing loop system

Asolo Repertory Theatre patrons with hearing problems will be able to make use of the new hearing loop system that has been installed in the 500-seat Mertz Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

A hearing loop is a wire connected to the sound system that circles a room and transmits the sound that can then be picked up by the telecoil in a user’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. The telecoil, a small copper wire that is an option in most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors, functions as a wireless antenna to the sound system. Patrons who do not have a telecoil in their hearing aids will need a headset that will be provided by the theater. Numerous donors provided funds for the system including The Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee; the Edward K. Roberts Emerging Needs Fund of the community Foundation of Sarasota County; Joel Fried and an anonymous donor.

“We will now be able to guarantee superb sound quality for all of our audiences,” said Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele. “The hearing loop system will provide a much-needed service for patrons and immensely enhance their enjoyment of our productions”


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)   

Your First Appointment with a Hearing Health Professional

Congratulations! You have acknowledged that you have a hearing loss and have made the decision to do something about it.
In America, the average person waits 5 to 7 years before dealing with hearing loss. You should be aware that the sooner you act, the easier it will be to treat your loss.
The hearing health professional (audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser) will need relevant medical history, any recent problems and symptoms you have experienced related to your hearing loss.
It is a good idea to have a relative or a friend with you. This person can help with communication and write down information to help you remember later on. Also, some hearing health professionals use tests which involve hearing a familiar voice. 

The hearing health professional will run some tests: READ MORE!




HLAA conducts educational webinars for its members and constituents.  There is no cost to attend webinars. All webinars are captioned and archived for access at the HLAA website. 

Most past Webinars can be accessed at:
Current Webinars that may be scheduled—often with short notice can be found at:



HLAA Membership Notes

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

Veterans are
free for the first year! 
Join now and get the HLAA “Hearing Loss Magazine”.  Keep up with the technology!

Our Chapter recognized that a national membership and a separate chapter membership were a little cumbersome, so we ran a pilot program with one combined membership.  This was so successful that HLAA in Bethesda is now rolling out the “Unified Membership Program” for more and more chapters. 

Join now and get the HLAA “Hearing Loss Magazine”.  Keep up with the technology!

The cost is $35 for an Individual membership, $45 for a Couple.   .

By the way, the free Players Theatre tickets (looped so you hear and understand every word) and the $10 Van Wezel tickets (one or two events in a looped theater) are worth the membership fee.  Also, members receive 20% off the assistive and communication products sold by Harris Communications—

If you have any questions on Membership please feel free to contact Anne Taylor at .   Membership applications can be found at the Chapter website,


Mr. Chris Chorley       Bradenton

Mr. Sheldon Zelizer    Sarasota      

Ms. Jacquelin Shaw  Bradenton

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:
Also, if you want to know if a theatre or meeting place is looped—anywhere in North America, check out—
Assistive Listening Device Locater



If you want to keep current with hearing loss issues, our Chapter’s Facebook page is a valuable resource for anything and everything related to hearing loss.
Announcements, photos, industry information, medical advancements and much more are posted daily.
To access our page:
OR  (find the link on the lower right corner of the website home page)

(find the link on the lower right corner of the website home page)

Then … just tap on "LIKE"!




Private Eyes Movie Club (Members Only)

The Private Eyes Movie Club Returns October 25th
Our hosts, Chris and Anne Taylor, are back in the USA and will greet you at the inside counter at Hollywood 20.around 4:00 PM.

The Movie Club generally meets the Fourth Tuesday of each month through “the season”.
“Private Eyes” free membership is limited to HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee members. First time “Private Eye” members are entitled to a free movie ticket at their first movie.  The exact time and movie will be announced to Private Eyes Members (membership is free)—signup with the Club at or on Facebook.

All AMC cinemas offer the CaptiView captioning system and Sony Access Glasses are available at all Regal cinemas nationwide. 

Our friends at Captionfish, list all theatres in North America that offer closed captions. Check it out.


Curtain Time Theater Club (Members Only)




The 87th season of The Players Theatre, now The Players Centre for Performing Arts, at 838 N. Tamiami Trail has a great season scheduled.

The Players provides the Chapter with 20 to 25 FREE tickets. This is another “Members Only” perk, a great benefit of our nominal membership dues. The shows are, of course, looped!  Contact  for tickets.   

Our Curtain time date for October is November 1 -- show is 7:30 PM.
Since you need to reserve before “Listen Up” hits the street, we are calling November 1 the October show.

Young FrankensteinNovember 1, 2016

The genius of Mel Brooks comes alive on stage in this musical based on his hilarious 1974 film. This parody of the horror film genre pokes fun at the original Mary Shelley novels and films about a monster and his creator. Expect high-steps and hijinx in this brassy Broadway retelling of the classic novel & film.



Between The Covers Book Club (Members Only) 

November 14th at 5:30 PM at 1350 Main Street, Sarasota.

The book is “The Way I Hear It” by Gael Hannan.
Whether you plan to attend or not, please read it!
This is an outstanding book on everything you need to know about hearing loss that will have you laughing out loud in every chapter.  Everyone with hearing loss or hearing aids will identify with the situations addressed in the book.

Last month, Gael waxed poetic about her hearing aids. With permission granted by “Hearing Health and Technology Matters”, here is her poem.
You’re lying on my bedside table and before I fall asleep
I’m looking at you closely, for the first time in a long time
I’m thinking about how much, to my surprise, I love you
And why.


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