January 2017

Happy New Year!

At the December Board meeting of the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter, the Board reviewed its “wish list” items.  
It was determined that in addition to CART services, community outreach, and other programs that our all-volunteer organization expends annual budgeted funds upon, the Chapter should, when an opportunity is available, economically assist in the looping of facilities that serve the community.

The Chapter’s Board and “After Hours” meetings are held at the Center for Arts and Humanities facility. The meeting rooms are open to not-for-profits’ meetings both day and night. It was felt that looping the facility would not only benefit the Chapter, but the community as well. The use of the loop by other not-for-profits could be used to educate attendees of the value of looping.


The Center for Arts and Humanities is just north of and across from the Van Wezel entrance.
The cost to loop the meeting room is $4,263. A 50/50 match has been found and the microphone system has been donated.  It was moved and seconded to fund an amount not to exceed $1,656 after private donor and membership solicitations for assistance is first offered.                                                                                                                



President's Message


Happy New Year!
I hope each of you has been able to have a better hearing holiday by utilizing the communication skills for the hard of hearing that HLAA promotes. This and the advocacy for captions on TV and movies, as well as looping of public venues, are HLAA National and local initiatives to improve the quality of life for those of us with hearing issues.
Currently, I’m planning on continuing my term as President of the Chapter in 2017 - but will need our Board and members’ help and support. You may have read I was recently elected as Chairwoman of a major community organization. I have been active over the years dedicating my time to both the political process and HLAA-S/M.  I will continue to do this.  Board members are stepping up to take on some of the outreach and organizing responsibilities that I love to do. As always, if you have an interest in getting more involved in our organization do not hesitate to contact me.
The Chapter has 12 Board members, each of whom takes on responsibilities that require their time and this is appreciated. Our meetings and outreach do not just happen; they require a lot of dedication by those who wish to help others. They dedicate their time to make them aware of the assistive devices and communication strategies that are so important to continuing active lifestyles despite the hearing limitations that three million of us in Florida live with every day.
Happy New Year from the entire HLAA-S/M Board. To all - have a great 2017

JoAnne DeVries, President

Website -
Facebook -




On December 14, five Trustees were nominated for another two-year term and two new Trustees were nominated for a two-year term.
The returning Trustees are:
Kathy Combs
Maria Anderson
Lindsey Nalu
Vinell Lacy
Mark Selis
and our new Trustees:
Beth Reckord
Shelly Zelizer
Beth Reckord is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS), Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. Currently, she works part-time at Silverstein Institute with adults with hearing loss (primarily those who have received cochlear implants) and full-time with children with hearing loss and other disabilities and their families at All Children’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Sarasota. 

Beth stated: “A place on the HLAA-S/M Board would help me participate in delivery of awareness to our community of the needs of families with children with hearing loss and adults for support of, as well as advocacy for, these two different age groups”.


Shelly Zelizer is a retired CFO of a major hedge fund and living in Florida full-time for the past three years. 
Shelly stated: “I've been wearing hearing aids for about 8 years. I like the idea of helping others with hearing loss to get helpful information. Also, I want to make them feel supported in dealing with their loss, knowing they aren't alone. When I first got my hearing aids, I did not have a support group like HLAA and felt a bit awkward in wearing them”.


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 is a fun experience guaranteed to make you want to return year after year.  The Scholarship application can be found on our website -

The deadline to apply is March 7, 2017.

Lip-reading classes at ACE (Adult Continuing Education) will be held at the Technical School on Proctor and Beneva in Sarasota. They begin January 16 and end March 29. The hours are 10 AM to Noon and this session will be addressing consonants.

The classes are
FREE thanks to an anonymous grant.

The classes are in Room 205 at the Technical School.  All students must register at the ACE office either by phone, e-mail, or in person.  Contact the ACE office at 941-361-6590.


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!
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 -

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.

The Chapter is now at the VENICE Farmers Market on first Saturdays.
• Get your basic questions about hearing loss answered 
• Learn about all the free educational meetings and events HLAA offers locally
• Learn about the free access technologies at over a dozen Venice locations
• Find a mentor and receive a free hearing screening
Stop by and say hello on January 7 from 9AM to 1PM.


Linda Wilson of the Venice Farmers Market and Anne Taylor, our Chapter VP chatted with folks in Venice last month.

Next Sarasota Farmers Market - Saturday, January 21, 2017- 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM

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 Chapte
r has a permanently assigned site, 1920 State Street between Lemon and Pineapple on THIRD SATURDAYS of each month.


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 .





January 11th, 2017

Our speaker will be Karalee Needelman, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT.
The topic is “Aural Rehabilitation”.


Karalee is a cochlear implant consumer specialist with Advanced Bionics. She has provided cochlear implant education and auditory-based therapy to children and adults with hearing loss in school and clinical settings. She received her B.A. degree in Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University and her M.S. in Speech Language Pathology from Gallaudet University.
North Sarasota Library Meeting Room
2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota

December Chapter Meeting Recap

Our annual HLAA Chapter Holiday Party was a blast featuring comedy by Anne Taylor and holiday songs by Connie Bulawaka and Julie Dadekian …and a great holiday spread for a holiday feasting!

The November meeting consisted of a panel addressing cochlear implant experiences. The discussion was insightful and the Q&A provided vital information to attendees that may be considering CIs as well as those with CIs.
The panelists were Barbara Chertok, Anne Taylor, Debbie Hagner, Maria Anderson and Ed Ogiba.  The Chapter thanks them for their time.
The 2017 “After Hours” schedule has been announced.  The dates for 2017 are:
Tuesday, Feb 7
Tuesday, May 2
Tuesday, Sept 5
Tuesday, Nov 7
The meetings are at 6:00 PM and programs will be announced in Listen Up and by email flyers.
The evening chapter meeting is held at the Center for Arts and Humanities, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.


Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!



MEDICAL - Advocating for Physician-Patient Communication

The Chapter has long advocated for looping in medical offices. This falls on “deaf” ears for the most part, causing us a great deal of frustration. You can help!

Researchers from Duke University and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston are conducting a brief survey to find out how hearing loss affects communication with people you interact with during your health care visits.

 It should take no more than 5 minutes of your time and results will be kept confidential - no information will be collected that can identify who is responding. They would very much appreciate your assistance. Your answers will help researchers design and test the most appropriate strategies for improving hearing health care for adults.
Here are some examples. The survey asks if this occurs “often”, “sometimes” or “never”.
Do you have difficulty understanding information (such as medical questions, instructions, results) spoken by the primary care physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant?
Do you have difficulty understanding information (such as schedule/dosing of medications) spoken by the pharmacist, primary care physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant?
During your appointment, does the physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant turn away while speaking with you to read or make notes on the computer?



LEGAL – Final Department of Justice Rule on Movie Captions

HLAA National has spent a decade advocating for movie captions. They report that on December 6 a Final Rule was issued by the Department of Justice.
The HLAA release stated:
“On June 10, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations – Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description.” Six-and-a-half-years later, the DOJ has issued a Final Rule on the ANPRM.
In their Final Rule, the DOJ requires movie theaters to:

  • Have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron’s seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise    made available
  • Provide notice to the public about the availability of these features, including on communications and advertisements at the box office, and other ticketing locations, on websites, mobile apps newspapers and via telephone. Third party websites are not required to provide that information.
  • Ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features.

We are thrilled to see movie captions recognized and required as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, we must make sure these new rules work.
Don’t be afraid to complain if you don’t get the accommodations you need.
And don’t forget to compliment the theater on a job well-done. 

Your input is more than important; you can be a driving force behind making movies truly accessible to those with hearing loss!”



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)   

One Woman’s Experience of Hearing Again with Cochlear Implants

A review of Hear Again and Listening Closely by Arlene Romoff

Arlene Romoff began losing her hearing during her late teens. Up until then, she had had normal hearing. Her hearing declined gradually until, almost twenty-five years later, she was left profoundly deaf. When hearing aids no longer worked for her in 1997, she elected to get her first cochlear implant, which is a computerized device that bypasses the damaged portion of the cochlea and stimulates the auditory nerve directly.

In Hear Again, Arlene shares her extraordinary story with outstanding insight, candor and humor. The book describes clearly the impact of Arlene’s severe hearing loss and subsequent cochlear implantation on her daily life, family and professional interactions. The insights provided by the author will give the hearing-impaired individual (or family member) a better understanding of what it’s like to cope with hearing loss, while providing professionals with a more compassionate comprehension of the feelings, trials and tribulations of the hearing-impaired population.  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! 


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,


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!

1059 “likes” and counting—but slowly.
If you know anyone with hearing loss—advise them to” LIKE” this site—lots of new information daily.

Here is an example of the tips of the day last month:


If you want to keep current with HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee activities or hearing loss issues, click on the HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter Facebook page. Announcements, photos, industry information, medical advancements and much more are posted daily. 

Find Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota on Facebook and tap on "LIKE".

To access our 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 Movie Club will meet on the fourth Thursday of each month in 2017.

The Private Eyes Movie Club Thursday, January 26th

“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. 

Signup with the Club at or on Facebook.

The exact time and movie will be announced to Private Eyes Members. Anne Taylor will meet you by the inside customer service area around 4:00 PM. 

See the “LEGAL” story in this issue of Listen Up for the good news of the issuance of the United States Justice Department final rules for movie captioning - it will be the law!

Our friends at Captionfish -  - report on all theatres and screens in North America that offer closed captions. A website test found that the link “Sarasota” brought up 13 theatres within 60 miles and 212 movies that are captioned.

Check it out! 

The "Club" met November 22 to see "Arrival" and discussed it at Sol's Deli afterward


Curtain Time Theater Club (Members Only)




The 87th season of The Players Centre for Performing Arts, at 838 N. Tamiami Trail, is moving along with a great “Broadway” series.

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.  

Reserve now for December’s show “Sweet Charity” on January 10th


The internationally revived and multiple Tony Award winning  “Sweet Charity” is a quirky comedy with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon that shares the ups and downs of the ever-hopeful taxi dancer named Charity Hope Valentine. Charity sings, dances laughs and cries her way through life as she searches for love. Hit songs include “Hey Big Spender”, “I Love To Cry At Weddings”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now” and “There’s Gotta Be Something Better than This”. This bright and sophisticated musical was made famous with a successful Broadway run and a film directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse.



Between The Covers Book Club (Members Only) 


The Club’s meetings are over for 2016 and a spring 2017 meeting is being scheduled.  If you have heard about or read a book related to hearing loss, let our President, JoAnne DeVries, know at
Our Clubs carry out our mission and the book club has introduced many members to communication and social strategies to make life a little better.





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