March 2016


Schedule your visit around the seminar(s) of your choice—
9:30   AM    What HLAA is Doing For You - Joan Haber
10:15 AM    Resources for Veterans with Hearing Loss -
                    Paula Myers, PhD.; Bernie Cheeseman, VA Counselor;
                    Kevin Connelly, Veteran                  
11:30 AM    Cochlear Implant Panel -
                    Virgi Mills, MED-EL; Karalee Needelman, Advanced Bionics
12:30 PM    Auditory Fitness: Strengthening Your Ability to Hear                                      and Understand - Dr. Susan deBondt, Widex

1:30 PM      What’s New in Technology from our Exhibitors

Exhibits, Seminars, Veterans Panel, Latest Technology as well as
prizes and refreshments—and its FREE!


The site is the same as the past two years, the Manatee Technical College on Route 70 between I-75 and 301. Read More!


 President's Message

The theme for this year’s expo is “What’s New.” The theme reflects the huge strides being made in technologies to help the hard of hearing. The 5th annual Hearing Loss Expo, featuring over 35 exhibitors and educational seminars, takes place Saturday, March 5 from 9am to 3pm at the Manatee Technical College, 6305 State Road 70 East in Bradenton, one mile west of I-75 exit 217B.

The HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter announces the creation of the Technology Solution Center, a series of user-friendly, experiential product stations where consumers can try and compare a range of new products for specific needs. Each of the six stations is designed to address one of consumers’ most problematic situations, such as struggling to have a conversation in a noisy restaurant, by trying and comparing the latest relevant wireless device options. 
The Technology Solution Center will debut at the 2016 Hearing Loss Expo, Florida’s largest hearing care fair for consumers, on March 5.

We have lined up exhibitors and a roster of expert speakers for the 2016 Sarasota/Manatee Hearing Loss Expo. This event is free to the public and our way of reaching out to our community in need. 145,000 locals have hearing loss and 116,000 are not getting the treatment and support they need to lead less isolated lives. In addition, to take advantage of the robust number of educational outlets that will be available at the Expo, we are rolling our Veterans Hearing Awareness Forum into the Expo in 2016. There are 85,000 veterans living in Sarasota/Manatee and 17,600 of them suffer with hearing loss.

We greatly appreciate your generous and consistent past support of our efforts. And we are grateful for your continued support of this very worthy event. Invite your family, friends and neighbors!  See you on March 5th at the Hearing Loss Expo! 





On March 2, the Ear Research Foundation and our HLAA Chapter will have a “Celebrity Bartending” event at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch.
Dr. Herb Silverstein and his jazz group, “Doc and the Ear-iginals” will be playing a couple of sets.
Celebrity bartenders will include JoAnne DeVries, Dr. Seth Rosenberg, Sarasota Vice-Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Dr. J.P. Gniady, Bob Tufts, Jennifer Moss and others.
The Polo Grill is on off Lakewood Ranch Blvd on Main St and Boardwalk (10670 Boardwalk) and the event takes place from 6 PM to 9 PM.  All tips go to the two 501 (c) 3’s.  Stop by for a drink, meet a lot of folks they may not hear every word but will enjoy the jazz. 

The Ear-iginals are--
Dr. Herbert Silverstein, Piano
Dr. Jack Wazen, Drums
Richard Drexler, Bass
La Rue Nickelson, Guitar
Laura Wazen, Vocals

Our Professional Partners:

The HLAA highlights hearing products and local hearing aid providers at: .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.

This month, we feature our professionals who promote the use of the telecoil with the hearing loop by signs or demonstration areas in their office.  This blue sign is from the Hearing Spa at 1416 Fruitville Road and the other sign from “All Ears Hearing”.
Did you know that advising patients about the telecoil is the law?
HLAA’s professional members advocate for the telecoil and the loop ( “noninvasive access to assistive listening systems”), does yours? 


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

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market -
Saturday, March 26th 7:00 - 1:00 

Outreach Events Keep the Chapter Busy 

The Chapter’s outreach program covers over 100 events a year.

Please contact Dave Donnelly to “pay it forward” by attending events manning our table. 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

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.      

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 fourth Saturday, stop by and say hello to Dave and our volunteers.




March 10th, Chapter Meeting 

Katie Figueroa of Cochlear Americas will present the topic, “The Cochlear Implant and Baha Experience”

Katie received her Bachelor of Science in Communications Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She also holds a Hearing Aid Specialist License in the State of Florida.  She works throughout South Florida raising awareness of implantable hearing solutions. In her free time, she enjoys being home with her husband, 4 year old son and infant daughter.

North Sarasota Library Meeting Room
2801 Newtown Blvd, Sarasota

February 10th, Chapter Meeting Recap

The Chapter provided a unique opportunity to assist members in knowing their rights as well as advocating for themselves and others. 
Members of the New York City law firm, Eisenberg and Baum (
came to our meeting from New York to present “Know Your Rights and Empowerment”.

They are board members of the Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing and advocate daily for workplace accommodations, captions, public accommodation and much more.
Sheryl Eisenberg Michalowski, Deaf Rights Liaison/Co Director who is deaf, explained the mission of the Center as well as her background of advocacy in a hearing world. 
Eric Baum Co-Owner/Co Managing Partner, explained the law firm’s guiding principal of policy change in its litigation practice rather than just compensation recoveries.
Andrew Rozynski Esq., Deaf Rights Attorney/C0- Director took the Chapter members through the four titles of ADA and explained how to document and advocate for change.
The questions from our members to these outstanding advocates continued after the allotted time for the meeting. 


 A fine showing of over 50 Venice and Englewood attendees turned out at the Jacaranda Library for the February 3 HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee meeting (in fact, standing room only)!   The presentation was “How To Improve Relationships Through Better Hearing" presented by Virgi Mills, M.E.D., Consumer Outreach Manager with MED EL

Rapt attention was given to hearing strategies and the art of listening.  Lots of questions were answered.

After Hours is a Chapter Meeting designed for members and guests that cannot make a daytime meeting—and, of course, all members are encouraged to attend.
Refreshments’ and wine are provided. In addition to a guest speaker, there is always a question and answer session with mentors and experts to cover most concerns.

The next After Hours meeting will be March 8. The topic will be one of interest.

  • Do you wonder about the four page ads for the hearing aids that 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 next meeting at 6:00 PM on March 8.

The meeting will be held at the Center for Arts and Humanity,
1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!



SUPPORT--HAT (Hearing Assistive Technology)
In the months to come, Listen Up will feature HAT devices and your reviews and feedback are essential to give support to all Chapter members. If you have tried a new device, send your comments to:

HLAA-SARASOTA National Convention Scholarship Award
The Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee Chapter awards an HLAA National Convention Scholarship to an individual who demonstrates, in writing, a sincere educational interest in and commitment to sharing the mission of the Hearing Loss Association with others affected by hearing loss.  
SCHOLARSHIP DESCRIPTION:  The scholarship will entitle the winner to a registration to the Hearing Loss Association of America convention in Washington D.C. from June 23-26, 2016.  The scholarship will also include a room at the convention hotel for three nights and round trip airfare or automobile travel expense between Florida and Washington.   The maximum value of the scholarship is $1,000.00.
ELIGIBILITY:  The applicant must be a current and active member in good standing of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee Chapter.   This award is for a first-time attendee at a national HLAA convention.  Attendees of previous conventions need not apply.

ELIGIBILITY:  The applicant must be a current and active member in good standing of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee Chapter.   This award is for a first-time attendee at a national HLAA convention.  Attendees of previous conventions need not apply.

The deadline for receipt by HLAA-Sarasota of the completed application is March 16, 2016.  For more information and/or to receive an application, please contact Joan Haber at


A number of members are no longer able to drive and would appreciate a lift to and from Chapter meetings.  Please contact the editor at  if you need a ride or can offer a ride.
Right now, there is a request for HLAA-“Uber” service from the Honore/Clark area.


Stay in the loop wherever you go.  There are now two great websites that will let you know about looped locations wherever you go.  The newest one, LOOPFINDER, is partnered by HLAA and can hone in on sites by category or location -- AND NOW, THERE IS AN APP FOR THAT!

The website is:
In addition to assistance in finding looped locations, Loopfinder has a FAQ section about looping. Here is the visual explanation of looping—

Also, Assistive Listening Device Locater  is equally helpful.

Remember our Mission includes advocacy—a “thank you” goes a long way in reinforcing the looping of the community. Make a point to “thank” a team member at any facility where you use the loop.



As we HLAA members are aware, the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the more difficult it is for the brain to relearn to hear.  The majority of people with mild or mild to moderate hearing loss are untreated.  Only one third of family physicians test for hearing loss even though studies show that untreated hearing loss can lead to dementia.
The FDA has approved a new product to allow family physicians and others to test for hearing loss at a nominal cost.

According to the press release, the “iHearTest” is a hearing screener for profiling hearing ability based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, targeting adults who suspect they have hearing loss, or those reluctant to seek professional evaluation for a basic hearing assessment.

The iHearTest and other hearing solutions developed by iHear Medical seem to be in-line with PCAST recommendations, calling for more affordable and accessible services with age-related, progressive, mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

“The iHearTest is a disruptive new technology and cost saving method that can expand hearing care significantly”.  The iHear Medical press release goes on to say that the FDA approval of the iHearTest was based on extensive technological development and clinical research to demonstrate safety and efficacy, as an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved clinical study was conducted on 96 subjects with iHearTest results compared to WHO grading of hearing impairment using standard practice audiometry.

The clinical study results showed 96.4% agreement with the WHO method using standard practice audiometry for the assessment of disabling hearing impairment. For the ordinal assessment of hearing ability, the iHearTest showed 85.9% level-by-level agreement and 100% agreement within ±1 level with respect to WHO grading using standard practice instruments. 




The FCC has proposed new rules that would require Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) for all future consumer wireless devices, including next-generation technologies like Wi-Fi calling and Voice over LTE (long term evolution—3G/4G). The landmark consensus plan would, for the first time, establish a “path to ensure that all wireless handsets are accessible to and usable by people who use hearing aid devices and cochlear implants”.
That is good BUT what is not good is that Apple proposes to do away with telecoils!
Apple wants to be able to call their iPhones “HAC” (Hearing Aid Compatible) even though their phones are only compatible with a select few hearing aids that are directly compatible with iPhones (Starkey and ReSound).
This would mean that the Apple phones will not have a telecoil built in that would make them compatible with all other hearing aids on the market.

HLAA filed formal comments before the FCC and stated:
“A proprietary system that excludes telecoils is accessible and usable only if the consumer uses that one brand of phone that they are locked into. Consumers are literally left out of the loop if they wish to change to a different phone or hearing aid or if the proprietary phone/hearing aid system is broken, lost, or unavailable and they must resort to connecting via someone else’s phone”.
While a revision to HAC rules is welcomed, the FCC has also requested
feedback about a controversial proposal from Apple (see READ MORE).

Having a universal standard allows consumers to more freely choose a hearing aid device. Until a new digital wireless standard is universally adopted by all cell phone and hearing aid manufacturers, the FCC should continue to require support for the current universal technology - the telecoil - in HAC phones. .Let the FCC know that you agree by signing a petition objecting to this change proposed by Apple!  




An opportunity to advocate from your living room

Florida’s primary elections will be held March 15. 
This means we will be besieged by political ads for the next few weeks. Regardless or party or candidate preference, the Chapter members can create an awareness for captioning with the candidates and their ad agencies.  Advertisers have an exemption from the television broadcast captioning requirements of the FCC and some will not spend the comparatively minute’ percentage of the cost of an ad to save a few dollars—apparently unaware that 3,000,000 Floridians are hard of hearing and 145,000 of us in the two county area have difficulty hearing television sound.

If an ad is not captioned—by any candidate—fire off an email to the “contact us” section of the candidate’s website.  They may ignore one or two but when they see a trend of complaints, they will get the message—especially if you say “I cannot vote for you because of your insensitivity to the hard of hearing, 3,000,000 of us in Florida” (even if you would never vote for that candidate anyway).

Below, please find the website of each of the debate qualified candidates.


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)   

Discover how much more you can hear at the Hearing Loss Expo on March 5th
Are you having trouble hearing?
Is anyone you know having trouble hearing?
You may find exactly what you need to improve your hearing at the 5th annual Hearing Tech Expo (sponsored by the Hearing Loss Association of America/Sarasota/Manatee chapter).

It’s free and is open to the community on March 5, 2016 from 9am to 3pm at Manatee Technical College, 6305 State Road 70, Bradenton –
Just one mile west of I-75 and exit 217B.
The Annual Hearing Loss Expo is the biggest hearing technology event of the year and will feature:


Calling all Volunteers!
Did you know that our HLAA chapter is run completely by volunteers?  

We are organizing our members to help out at the 5th Annual Hearing Tech Expo on March 5.

Please contact our President, JoAnne DeVries at to RSVP attendance at the Volunteer Get Together, Tuesday, January 26 at the North Library (regular Chapter meeting venue) for bagels and coffee and organizing your time for the Expo.

As always, there is a continuing opportunity for your not-for-profit volunteer time.  Please take a look at the list of volunteer interests  and see if there might be something you would like to do. 

Most 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. 



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:

Last month’s Webinar on February 10 addressed a common question of HLAA members, affordable hearing aids.
The guest speakers were Allison Baker and Drew Wingert of Audicus.  If you “dial it up” on the link above, they will walk you through the process of buying an affordable, high-quality hearing aid online. They will describe how people find their site, how Audicus representatives walk users through the purchasing process, and how the hearing aids are customized remotely. They will also discuss the new Audicus hearing screening app, which will allow people to assess their hearing from the comfort of home, and the newly released personal sound amplifier, the Solo.
As with all Product/Service Showcase webinars, products and/or services presented are in no way to be construed as an endorsement by HLAA.


HLAA Membership Notes

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

Among the many functions of HLAA National is the lobbying for people with hearing loss to have equal access in public venues. Note—your renewal notices will come from HLAA in Bethesda--if you do not get one, please let us know.
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 for a volunteer organization that does so much for persons with hearing loss in Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

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,

Gary Gove       Bradenton
Sherrill Carr     Sarasota
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:


"LIKE" The HLAA-Sarasota ManateeFacebook Page

821 FRIENDS!  Pushing for 1000 
The 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. 
Pictures and notices of HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee activities will be posted on Facebook.   Find HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee on Facebook. Just tap on "LIKE"  Click here!

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



Private Eyes Movie Club (Members Only)

 The Private Eyes Movie Club meets on Last Tuesdays (except when they don’t!)
The next “meeting” will be March 29th.
The Club “meets” around 4:30 PM at the Hollywood 20 on Main St. in Sarasota.  Caption glasses are in good supply to make movies enjoyable again. A roundtable review--and other conversation-- follows at the Mediterraneo Restaurant across from the Hollywood 20.

The exact time and movie will be announced to Private Eyes Members (membership is free)—signup with at or by e-mail or Facebook.
Of note, Hollywood 20 now offers CaptiView as well as Sony Caption Glasses. CaptiView is much improved, so the very few people who did not like the glasses now have an alternative. 
“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. To receive the notice of the movie selected, which goes out the weekend before the movie date, contact Anne Taylor. Anne uses the following email address for Private Eyes –


Finding Captions at the Movies in 2015! 

Since 2009, the search engine CaptionFish, has been providing information about captioned movie theaters to persons with hearing loss. Check it out for any theatre in North America. 

Here is an example of the information for our “home” theater where all screens are captioned (limited to 3 screens for space): READ MORE!

 Curtain Time Theater Club (Members Only)


The Chapter has confirmation for our 2016 Van Wezel tickets. Each year, non-profits are given a block of tickets at a reduced rate.  Our event will be “The Peking Acrobats” on March 20 at 7:00 PM.

This is another advantage of our $35 annual membership and is a “Members Only” event.

Please mail your check in the amount of $10 to: HLAS, PO Box 48643, Sarasota, FL  34230. An optional dinner prior to the show will be scheduled as well.


The 86th season of The Players Theatre at 838 N. Tamiami Trail is in the middle of a great season with an amazing wealth of experience of the actors and directors.

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! 

There is an option for a pre-theatre dinner around 5:15. 
The show date is always the pre-opening show, the night prior to Opening Night.   Contact the Theatre Club at
Tickets are distributed to Members only.             
The next offering will be "La Cage Aux Folles" on March 22nd

Georges is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera. Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin (who goes by the stage name Zaza), the pair live a charmed life—until Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, turns up engaged to the daughter of a conservative politician who’s coming to dinner. Winner of numerous awards, this much-revived musical adds a new dimension to the boulevard comedy. Click here to see the complete list of shows!

If you use the box office in person, thank them for the loop!! 


Between The Covers Book Club (Members Only) 

“Between the Covers” – March 17 – 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM - 1350 Main St. Sarasota
The book for our Spring meeting is, “The Way I Hear It” by Gael Hannon.  Gael is from Canada and comes south in the Spring and attended last April’s Chapter meeting while on holiday.  She is unable to attend the Between the Covers” book club meeting in March but we hope she can address a Chapter meeting next year.
This is an outstanding book on everything you need to know about hearing loss that will have you laughing out loud in every chapter. Whether you are able to attend “Between the Covers” or not, you will identify with the situations addressed in the book.

Gael is scheduled for a cochlear implant and she wrote this in her blog—“When I get a cochlear implant, I shall wear feathers”

When I get a cochlear implant, I shall wear feathers,
I think.
I haven’t made up my mind exactly, because it’s still a long way off,
Within a year. I hope.
I shall choose equipment to be white like my hair.
Is that boring?
Why not spice it up, flaunt it, and glorify it?
With feathers from eagles, doves or heck, even chickens!
Read More!





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