January 2016


We know it is difficult to keep a resolution for the whole year so let’s make it easy to accomplish—in three months.

1. Support HLAA’s Consumer Technology Initiative. This one can be done now (after signing up at by completing the survey. 
An Article entitled “Support--HAT” found elsewhere in this month’s Listen Up explains the consumer initiative.  Just answer the questions about the hearing assistive technology ("HAT") that will be listed for you to rate your experience.
2. Attend the Volunteer Get Together on January 26 at 10:30 AM at the Sarasota North Library, the regular Chapter venue, and gear up for the March 5 Expo — all hands on deck.
This Get Together is explained elsewhere in Listen Up as well.

3. Come to first two Chapter meetings of 2016 featuring nationally recognized speakers--AND--the 5th annual Hearing Tech Expo.

    January 13 -- Dr. Jack Wazen, author and leading national authority on hearing and balance disorders.

    February 10 -- New York law firm, Eisenberg and Baum, Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  National practice on rights and accommodations for the hard of hearing.

    March 5 -- The 5th Annual Hearing Tech Expo at the Manatee Technical College on Route 70. Come as a volunteer!

President's Message

Greetings Friends!  

The holidays are always a busy and special time for many of us.  As I look back over the past year I can’t help but think what a wonderful year it has been for HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee. This past year has been an exceptional one for us.  We have managed to accomplish a lot.
We couldn't accomplish the mission of HLAA-S/M -- information, education, support and advocacy -- without all of your support.

It's also that time of year when we reflect and say thank you to those who have work diligently throughout the year on behalf of people with hearing loss and HLAA-S/M.  Thank you for your financial support and for your ongoing support of our local HLAA chapter over the past year

We have an exciting upcoming year planned. We invite you to join us on Tuesday, Jan 26th at 10:30AM at North County Library for a Volunteer Appreciation gathering.  We will share with you some of our activities and special meetings that we have planned! 

Best wishes for the happiest of holidays!





The Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter’s next Board Meeting will be January 11 at 5:00 PM.
Good news for some Board members who are moving on to HLAA National positions has created some openings on the Board.
The Executive Committee of the Board has the power to make interim appointments to provide for a full Board.  If you have considered donating some time to assist the quality of life of the 145,000 hard of hearing people of the two county area, this is the time to step up and join our Board.
Please contact our Board President, JoAnne DeVries so that your service to the community can be considered. E-mail:

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 the work done by Sonova-Phonak’s “Hear the World Foundation” The following is from their website:


Hearing loss is still a neglected issue, even though the figures speak volumes: more than 15% of the adult population is affected by hearing loss, and around half of these cases could have been avoided by taking preventive measures. Some 665,000 children with significant hearing loss are born every year.  READ MORE!


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

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market -
Saturday, January 23rd 7:00 - 1:00 

Outreach Events Keep the Chapter Busy 

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.





January 13th Chapter Meeting 

Our speaker for Jan 13, 2016 is Dr. Jack Wazen.  
Dr. Wazen’s topic for January is going to be “What’s new in Implantable Hearing Devices”. An open-ended session he likes to call "Ask the Doc" will follow.
If you attended the November “After Hours”, you know you could probably apply for med school credits after listening to Dr. Wazen.  “Ask the Doc” is a valuable opportunity to address any concern you have with your hearing issue.

Dr. Jack Wazen is an ENT-otolaryngologist formerly in New York and now in Sarasota, Florida. He also is on the Board of Directors of HLAA in Bethesda, Md.          
Recognized repeatedly as one of New York’s and America’s “Best Doctors,” Dr. Wazen is one of the nation’s leading authorities on hearing and balance disorders. He has pioneered new research that expanded treatments for people with single-sided deafness and complex cases of hearing loss. He also is author of the seminal book, “Dizzy”, providing new treatment options and hope for people affected by balance and hearing disorders.  

December Chapter Meeting Recap

Board members Valerie Stafford-Mallis, Anne Taylor, Richard Williams, Dave Donnelly, JoAnne DeVries and Maria Anderson greeted the members to the annual Holiday Party. Anne discussed the approach to take with the loud season and trays of goodies were in abundance.

Magician Don Majo told stories and totally mystified the 50 members in attendance with a style that is described in magical circles as parlor magic. It was enjoyable, humorous and quite visual.  The presentation was centered on the fun of magic. 

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.

“After Hours” meets at the Center for Arts and Cultural Alliance at 1226 Tamiami Trail, just north of Van Wezel on the east side of 41. 

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:
As part of HLAA’s Consumer Technology Initiative (CTI), now referred to as Hearing Solutions, HLAA has developed a Product Directory (PD) for Hearing Assistance Technologies (HAT).  Beta testing of the PD is now complete and before they do a public launch, they want to give a few more people the chance to test it and give them feedback. They are asking our chapter to participate in final testing.  

The Sarasota/Manatee Chapter is always ready to assist and support!
Click on the link to the Product Directory:
A new Password will be required.
IMPORTANT!  Once there, please be sure that you first read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the About US sections before signing up.  Once that is done, please register so that you can not only search for products but also rate, review and add products.  
After trying out the PD for a few days, please let HLAA know what you think by sending Cynthia Compton-Conley an email at: .
Any praise, suggestions, complaints, etc. are welcome! They want the Product Directory to be perfect before they launch it and your input is very important to HLAA.  
Please try to do this in the next two weeks as the deadline for completion is January 15, 2016.

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.
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



As ubiquitous as some of the hearing aids ads have been lately, some are actually carrying the message that HLAA addresses -- cognitive decline due to hearing loss. 
“Hearing Health and Technology Matters” has granted the Chapter permission to reprint articles of interest to our members.  Their summary of the Journal of the American Medical Association on the role of audiology on cognitive decline is reprinted below:


“JAMA Report Outlines New Approaches to Mitigating Cognitive Decline: Will Audiology Play a Role?

By Brian Taylor   December 8, 2015

According to the 
Pew Research Center, roughly 10,000 Baby-boomers will turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 15 years. With this aging population comes the increased risk of Alzheimer’s as well as other forms of cognitive decline. The prevalence of dementia is expected to double every 20 years because of the aging of the world population. A November 25th article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) sheds light on how cognitive decline can be mitigated in our rapidly aging population.
The JAMA report, authored by 
Bridget Kuehn, MSJ, a Chicago-based freelance science writer, outlined three behavioral factors that appear to modify or stave off the effects of cognitive decline. These three factors are:


  • Cardiovascular health 
  • The immune system’s ability to protect the brain from injury and infection
  • Social support



Members of the Chapter who attend the HLAA Convention are very familiar with “hearing” service dogs.  We have a service animal or two that attend Chapter meetings from time to time.  Abuse of the service dog exception in places of public accommodation was addressed this past session of the Florida Legislature.  The law amended Section 413.08, F.S. which requires a place of public accommodation to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability under certain circumstances.  The amendment provided for a penalty for knowing and willful misrepresentation with respect to use or training of a service animal.
In short, many persons were claiming they needed their dog for emotional support and other reasons.  The law more specifically defined what a service animal is and is not.  Persons with trained “hearing” service dogs have no problem meeting this test.  There are state criminal code and ADA penalties for denying a person and their service animal entry into a place of public accommodation.  On the other hand, a person misrepresenting a service dog to gain entry into a place of public accommodation is subject to a second degree misdemeanor and mandatory community service.

HLAA-FL State President Cynthia Moynihan and LaRue
The rights of persons using service dogs is explained at and anyone wishing to file a complaint under the ADA can do so online or by mail at



CART: (Communication Access Realtime Translation) is verbatim text of spoken presentations provided for live events. Only the text is provided on a computer screen or projected for display on a larger screen. CART may be provided in the classroom, at meetings, workshops and other presentations including live theater – anywhere that someone with a hearing loss needs to hear in a group setting.

Katherine Bouton, an HLAA Trustee and author of “Shouting Won’t Help,” recently wrote an AARP column entitled “Frustrated by Silence at a Funeral”. She heard little of a friend’s memorial service because the church did not have a hearing loop or an FM or an assistive listening system.  If a Church or a funeral home lacks such devices, all is not lost—CART can provide the realtime captioning necessary for your accommodation.

Funeral homes are required by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide effective communication, including assistive listening systems—but please notify them ahead of time.  Houses of worship are exempt from the ADA but may be willing to provide CART for a funeral if this is requested.

Our Chapter’s CART professionals, Jack and Dee Boenau
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS—there will be a presentation on the rights of hard of hearing persons at our February 10 Chapter meeting.



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:  
The site can give all looped locations in any geographical area or can provide looped locations in any one of 16 categories in as small or large an area as you choose.          

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.

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)   

Causes of Hearing Loss
Do you ever think about how much hearing enhances your life in so many ways?
How about listening to music, going to the movies and plays?
How about relationships with family?
How about your job?
How about safety? Smoke alarms warn you about a possible fire. Emergency vehicles switch on the sirens to warn you of their approach.
Difficulty hearing affects all aspects of life. According to Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans have some level of hearing loss, with only 20% doing anything about it. In Sarasota/Manatee counties alone, there are approximately 145,000 people with hearing loss.
Hearing loss in not always age-related. In fact, some of our soldiers are coming home from the wars with many life-changing injuries. Many of them say that the most challenging injury is hearing loss (most often caused by excess noise). 



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. 

There was a webinar in December entitled “Aging America and Hearing Loss” by Christine Cassel, M.D.

She discussed the PCAST report that found multiple factors that limit people’s access to hearing technologies—most notably, the high cost of hearing aids, but also the challenges that consumers face in shopping for best value. PCAST recommended a few key federal actions that it believed could improve access and reduce cost, and Dr. Cassel will summarize those recommendations in the webinar.

Read More for a list of the past year's Webinars which may address a concern you have.

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,

Edward Oldenburg,     Sarasota
Diane Block,               Venice
Adrea Manley-Pion,    Englewood
Keely Huey,                Sarasota
Lauren Cuffaro,          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

We hit lucky 777 in December and are reaching for 1000 -- Invite Your Facebook “Friends” To Like This Page!

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 January 26th.
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.

 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 at Cairgulio’s around 5:15.  Members enjoyed dining at The Starlite Room last month prior to the hit of the season, “She Loves Me”.        
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.


When a die-hard theatre fan plays his favorite cast album, the characters come to life in this hilarious musical farce. Winner of 5 Tony Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score) this loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical feature one show-stopping song and dance number after another. New York Magazine called it, “The Perfect Broadway Musical.”

 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” Spring Meeting in March
The Spring book promises to be the best and funniest book we have ever read dealing with hearing loss. The author, Gael Hannan, will attempt to attend as she will be in Florida in March.  The book, “The Way I Hear It” has provided members who have read it “laughing so hard, I had to put it down” experiences in every chapter. 
Although comedienne Hannon brings humor to everyday occurrences, each chapter addresses strategies to deal with hearing loss, whether it be ordering food, dealing with the airlines, family interaction, technology and many more situations and subjects.


Katherine Bouton, HLAA Trustee, a former New York Times editor and author of a book reviewed last year, “Living Better With Hearing Loss” wrote recently about her hearing loss book club

Three friends and I have formed a hearing-loss book club. Because we all have hearing loss we bring a knowing perspective to the books. I am rereading most of them, and after six years of being open about my hearing loss – writing about it, advocating for change, interacting with others with hearing loss –I find I am reading them quite differently.

Six years ago, I focused entirely on hearing loss as a “character” in the books, almost the point of them. On second reading, hearing loss becomes a lesser factor, one element in a life – just as it should be in real life. Hearing loss is a part of a life, not the life itself.

Reading memoirs about hearing loss is a good way to remind yourself that you’re not alone: there are literally millions of us. It’s also good way to remind yourself that you are more than your hearing loss”.

and Gael’s book--

You are all probably familiar with Gael Hannan’s “THE WAY I HEAR IT: A Life with Hearing Loss.” Her writing is as wry and witty as she is in person, and those who have seen her perform will smile even at the memory – if not laugh out loud. Gael writes about hearing loss from the valuable perspective of one who has spent a lifetime living with it – and who has still not lost her sense of humor”.




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