November 2016

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Walk4Hearing is the largest walk for hearing loss awareness in the country. Every spring and fall thousands of walkers - children and their families, young adults, young at heart, and everyone in between - form teams and walk in their communities to increase public awareness about hearing loss, help eradicate the stigma associated with it and raise funds for programs and services. HLAA depends on generous volunteers to raise funds, generate enthusiasm and awareness at each of the Walk4Hearing sites.

Chapter Trustee Vinell Lacy will lead our team, the “Dream Team”, on November 12.  We step off at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville at 9:00 AM.

Dream Team link—                          

click on one of our Captain’s and then the DONATE link on the screen.


 President's Message


Our HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee local chapter "Dream Team" is so proud to be a part of The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Walk4Hearing. The HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Dream Team will be in Jacksonville on Saturday, Nov 12th, representing our chapter and supporting our national organization.
The funds that are raised assist us in our mission of education/information, advocacy and support for the over 145,000 people with hearing loss in Sarasota/Manatee counties. Your donation helps to pay for items such as: captioning and hearing assistive technology at HLAA chapter meetings, our yearly Hearing Loss Expo, information packets we distribute at over 100 outreach events throughout the community,  and so much more! 
Please consider becoming a HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Dream Team member and join us for the Walk OR, if you can’t walk, please consider making a donation. Click on the link below and help us raise awareness of hearing loss in the community. 
We are determined to make hearing loss visible in Sarasota/Manatee counties! Thank you for your ongoing support! 

Make a Dream Team Donation!!




HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee and the Ear Research Foundation will jointly host its annual Comedy Club fundraiser on December 7 at 7:00 PM . The venue is McCurdy’s Comedy Club at 1923 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota.
Ticket price is $15.00 and can be ordered online at

The two not-for-profits are both dedicated to assisting those with hearing loss.  Join us for a special evening that will make you laugh and help make a difference that can be heard! 
The Comedy Club will be looped and we will have CART!


Tess Crowder, Executive Director of Communications Access, who fills in as a CART provider at our Chapter meetings is the past President of HLAA-Florida State Association.

She is sponsoring a Communication Access & Technology Expo in Tampa.  Please stop by if the topics are of interest to you.

Saturday, November 12, 2016 - 10:00 AM  to 3:00 PM
Hilton Hotel – 2225 Lois Avenue, Tampa, Florida 
State-of-the art technology in assistive listening devices, hearing aids, cochlear implants, products, programs, and services for people with hearing loss.
Free Admission! Free Workshops! Free Door Prizes! Free Refreshments!
Workshop Schedule: 
10:15 AM   Self-Advocacy
11:00 AM   Self-Empowerment
11:15 AM   Real-time Captioning
12:00 PM   CART Captioning
  2:00 PM   “Ask the Good Doctor” - Panel of Professionals


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.

Section VIII-B    Any member in good standing may be nominated from the floor at the November Chapter meeting.
Section VIII-C.   Officers and trustees shall be elected by a simple majority vote of the membership at the December Chapter 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 are encouraged to review this list of professionals when considering professional services.

Our October Chapter meeting addressed the heavy marketing of hearing aids and raised ethical questions with some “bait and switch” and misleading advertising. Hearing professionals are finding themselves in an evolving industry.  More and more “over the counter” devices are being marketed without the help of a professional.
There are some ethical questions that raise challenges to professionals.  Dr. Michael Mertz, PhD, addressed those challenges in an editorial for “Hearing Journal” last month. He summarized by stating: 




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, November 19th 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.






[NOTE OF VENUE CHANGE - - Due to the election board use of the Newtown Library, we will meet at the Jacaranda Public Library Meeting Room, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice]

Kris Adams, ENP, will be our speaker. The topic is “Text-2-911”.

Kris Adams, ENP has worked with the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office in the Emergency Operations Bureau (911 Dispatch Center) for 18 ½ years.
She is currently the Operations Manager in charge of the Professional Development section (911 Training). She manages, supervises and coordinates new recruit training, cross training, continuing education, public education and quality assurance for the 911 center.
The designation ENP means “Emergency Number Professional”.
Kris will update us on all things 911 and how to use the technology we have in emergencies.

                                           SEE YOU IN VENICE!


October Chapter Meeting Recap

The Chapter had a fine turnout of over 50 members and guests to hear HLAA-S/M Trustee, Mark Selis of All Ears Hearing Services, speak about “Truth in Hearing Aid Advertising”.

Mark’s presentation covered a lot of the ins and outs of the industry and raised some ethical questions about representation in the many full-page ads we see in our local newspapers. Come-ons like free lunches, hearing aids for low decibel loss, “white coats”, non-label hearing aids and much more were discussed. A lively question and answer period followed.

The next “After Hours” meeting will be Tuesday, November 29, at 6:00 PM
at the Center for Arts and Humanities, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
The program will be an educational forum on cochlear implants. A panel of cochlear implant users will be discussing their experience and answering questions on CIs.

Refreshments, including products of Napa and Sonoma, will be served!
The Center for Arts and Humanities is just north of and across from the Van Wezel entrance.

Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!



MEDICAL - New Clues to Age-Related Hearing Loss

A recent article in HealthDay News reported that a recent study indicates that older people's brains have a harder time processing speech.
When background noise makes it hard to carry on a conversation, many older people chalk it up to hearing loss. But a new, small study finds that the problem may not just be in your ear, but also in your brain.
Researchers from the University of Maryland in College Park have found that the brain's ability to process speech declines with age.

For the study, Alessandro Presacco and colleagues divided 32 English-speaking adults into two groups -- one with an average age of 22, the other with an average age of 65. Study participants were given a speech comprehension test and also underwent brain scans.

In both quiet and noisy settings, the older people had more trouble tracking and understanding speech. Evidence of these hearing-related deficits in the older participants was also evident in the brain scans, the investigators found.

The findings suggest that age-related problems with understanding speech are not only due to an inability to hear at certain volumes. They may also occur because the brain cannot correctly interpret the meaning of sound signals, the researchers said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.
The study was published recently in the Journal of Neurophysiology.


LEGAL – The FCC Disability Advisory Committee

On Dec. 2, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission announced the establishment of a new federal advisory committee, the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC).

The HLAA has a seat on the DAC and Lise Hamlin of the national office serves as our representative. She co-chairs the Video Programming Committee, and sits on the Relay/Equipment Distribution Subcommittee, Relay Working Group, and the Technology Transitions Subcommittee, which worked on recommendations presented to the full DAC.  Last month, three recommendations that will directly benefit consumers with hearing loss were approved without dissent at the meeting. The recommendations are concerning:

·         Internet Protocol (IP) captioned telephone service quality standards
·         911 training for video relay service communication assistants
·         Amplified phones

The DAC will streamline the bureaucratic process to make improvements that help all of us with hearing loss.
The FCC press release on the DAC states:

“The DAC will provide a means for stakeholders with interests in accessibility issues to exchange ideas, facilitate the participation of consumers with disabilities in proceedings before the Commission, and assist the Commission in educating the greater disability community and covered entities on disability-related matters.  The Committee is expected to keep the Commission apprised of current and evolving communications issues for persons with disabilities.  Issues to be considered by the Committee may include, but are not limited to, the following:

§         Telecommunications relay services
§         Closed captioning
§         Video description
§         Access to televised emergency information
§         Access to video programming apparatus
§         Access to telecommunications services and equipment
§         Access to advanced communications services and equipment
§         Hearing aid compatibility
§         Access to 911 emergency services
§         The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
§         The impact of IP and other network transitions on people with disabilities’



This year, a hearing assistive device is featured at each Chapter meeting.  At the October meeting, tech guru, Flo Innis, demonstrated the ‘Williams Sound Pocketalker 2.0”.
This device is a vast improvement over the original Pocketalker. It features a more comfortable design, extended battery life, and superior sound quality. It works with your t-coil and its purpose is to help you hear better in small group settings. It can be hand held or attached to clothing.

HLAA members can order the Pocketalker from Williams Sound for $189 at
Flo advised she has several older models that have been donated and you are welcome to try them out. Just contact the Chapter at



Part of HLAA’s mission is advocacy. It could be as simple as reinforcing the importance of the loop.
Last month a member verified the hearing loop was operable at the Venice Theater before purchasing tickets to “The Sunshine Boys”. Upon arrival, two signs were in the lobby.  Alas, the dialogue could not be understood as the loop was not “on”. The member immediately went to the theatre office.  They checked and advised that the system must have been jostled during an earlier event.  The loop was turned on and all the comedy came in loud and clear.
Two things were accomplished:
(1) the member could enjoy the show;
(2) the theater staff was reinforced about the value of loops to patrons with hearing loss.
Below are the ten key goals and outcomes of HLAA’s advocacy mission from the HLAA website:
“The mission of HLAA is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA achieves its mission by working diligently to achieve the following ten key long-term goals through our public policy and advocacy initiatives. In addition, we encourage the use of best practices by hearing health care professionals during the assessment and treatment of hearing loss. HLAA also supports vigorous enforcement of current local, state and national disability and human rights laws that include provisions for effective communication”.  


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)   

Ears plead, “Please do not poke me with Q-tips”

I have a confession to make. I do not buy Q-tips or potato chips. Potato chips call me to eat them. We all know that eating potato chips is fun - they are delicious, but perhaps not good for our health, especially for our weight. Q-tips beg me to poke them into my ears. I can’t help it.  My ears itch.
Now, cleaning out our ears with Q-tips may feel good. But, according to William H. Shapiro, an audiologist and clinical associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, poking inside your ears with Q-tips can affect your hearing, as wax (cerumen) gets pushed up against the eardrums.
Audiologists like to say ‘Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’. Poking a Q-tip (or a finger) in your ear could damage the sensitive skin of the ear canal, cause bacteria to grow or even rupture the eardrum. A ruptured eardrum is very painful and sends approximately half of the U.S. population to emergency rooms, according to Dr. Peter Svider, an otolaryngology resident at Wayne State University in Michigan.
Audiologists can always tell if you have been using Q-tips. It is satisfying to see wax on the end of the Q-tip, but you tend to push more in than you pull out. ‘If you get enough wax back there, it can completely block the ear canal and cause muffled hearing’, says Dr. Brett Comer, an assistant professor of head and neck surgery at the University of Kentucky. Clearing the blockage requires a doctor or specialist’s intervention. If the wax is so tightly packed, it may require surgery when normal methods cannot remove it. 




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:

This month’s Webinar is a new product …. DITTO – the anti-gadget to “hear” your mobile phone!

Neal Pecchenino
Date & Time: 
Nov 2, 2016 - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Ditto is something to free people from worrying about their smartphones and to be more present in life. Ditto is tiny and elegant. No buttons, switches, lights displays, or cables. Ditto is silent, discrete, and allows you to feel your phone from 50 to 100 feet away!
Ditto notifies you to calls, texts, emails, alarms, calendar updates, and even to a forgotten phone!
The user-friendly Ditto app allows you to customize exactly what notifications you receive while also filtering out unwanted distractions. If you only want to receive updates from a few special people in your life, Ditto makes it possible. 
As with all Product/Service Showcase webinars, products and/or services presented are in no way to be construed as an endorsement by HLAA.   
See more 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,


George Blatt,          Sarasota
Karen Finch,           Sarasota
Gwen Thornton,     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:
Also, if you want to know if a theatre or meeting place is looped—anywhere in North America, check out—
Assistive Listening Device Locater


Over 1000 HAVE “LIKED” THE CHAPTER’S FACEBOOK PAGE - 1058 and counting!

The Chapter’s Facebook Page is a valuable resource for anything and everything related to hearing loss.
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 Tuesday, November 22nd

The Movie Club generally meets the last Tuesday of each month through “the season”.  This month due to a conflict with "After Hours" it is the 22nd.  
“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.

Anne Taylor will meet you by the inside customer service area around 4:00 PM.

More and more theaters are providing caption glasses as the Justice Department, HLAA and other organizations have some timing agreements in place for ADA caption compliance with the National Association of Theatre Owners.  We meet at Regal, as they were the pioneers in captioning when they didn’t have to do it. READ MORE!


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.

There is still time to reserve today if you read this in time.
If you missed this show, reserve now for December’s show, “Legally Blonde” on December 6.

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.

Legally Blonde: The Musical
December 6, 2016

Legally Blonde is a musical critics praised as being “Fun and upbeat”, “High Energy” and a “hymn to the glories of girlishness”. Based on the novel “Legally Blonde” and the award winning film of the same name, it follows the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. No one seems to have faith in the “pretty in pink” Woods and her dog, but in the end, she manages to surprise her contemporaries and stay true to herself.



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.
The Chapter has been promoting “The Way I Hear It” for some time.  If you are hard of hearing, it is an absolute MUST READ!
Gael attends the HLAA Convention each year and has come to our Chapter meeting in the past. We hope she makes it down from Canada this spring.
We’re looking forward to a great discussion on November 14! 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.

Here is one of Gael’s monthly columns for Hearing Health and Technology:
In the hearing loss world that I live in, there are HoHs and there are Pros:
HoH: Refers to a person who has hearing loss and who may also identify as hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, or hearing aid/cochlear implant user. (This term does not refer to all those affected by a person’s hearing loss, such as the moms and dads, life partners, children, and friends.)
Pro:  Refers to someone who works in a hearing healthcare field, such as an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist, but this category also can include an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor, hearing aid manufacturer, and/or an assistive technology sales rep. 
…now that we’ve got that out of the way…
If you’re a HoH, you have most likely—hopefully—met a Pro by now. You made an appointment, walked through that door and sat down to discuss your hearing with this Pro. (Just asking, did you check out the certificates on the wall? You want to see something official hanging there, with more substance than proof-of-participation in an online hearing aid course.)




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