December 2015



The Sarasota/Manatee Chapter and HLAA
Dual Membership is the holiday bargain of the year!

HLAA of America gives back all year long--

·    Provides timely and reliable information about hearing loss through HLAA’s website, Hearing Loss Magazine, HLAA e-News, the Hearing Loss Support Specialist Training, message boards/chat forums and the HLAA Convention
·    Advocacy at the national level to affect legislation that impacts people with hearing loss, whether it’s funding for hearing aids, cochlear implants, communication access in public places or other important issues
·   A nationwide network of chapters and state organizations providing peer support

·   Support for parents of children with hearing loss at
·   Outreach to veterans returning with hearing loss

Our Chapter and its volunteers give back every month

·         Captioning and hearing assistive technology at HLAA chapter meetings to make them accessible
·         Scholarships to the National HLAA Convention
·         Free membership and programs for Veterans
·         Installation of loops in public places, such as  theatres, community rooms, Publix and public libraries
·         Seminars on coping with hearing loss for yourself and families
Membership applications can be found at the Chapter website, and a gift of HLAA membership at --

President's Message

It is our mission to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy. In order to meet our mission and provide services in our community, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. Without the assistance of community-minded individuals just like you, we wouldn't be able to serve those in our community each year. 

We continue to strive to expand our programs and offerings to the community. We hope that you will be able to take part in one or more of the many exciting events/meetings that we are offering in the upcoming year and experience firsthand the pride we take in supporting our cause.

Did you know that this past year we have touched the lives of many through our participation in 100+ outreach events, leading chapter meetings in Sarasota and Venice, and hosting an annual Hearing Loss Expo. The Chapter offers free hearing & health screenings and the latest products & services by reaching out to the more than 145,000 people with hearing loss in Sarasota/Manatee counties. Your generosity will make a difference in our community by allowing us to continue in our work.

Your support of HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee ensures we can continue our efforts to find, educate and motivate these individuals to seek treatment, while providing chapter members with emotional support and the most current information available.  Although hearing loss is called the “invisible condition”, HLAA Sarasota/Manatee refuses to be invisible in its determination to raise awareness regarding our mission of education, information, advocacy and support for people with hearing loss in our community. 

Your donation is helping to make our community healthier. Right here. Right now.  We are so grateful to you for helping to create and support our mission. Please click on the link to make a donation.  Remember that every donation makes a difference, regardless of size. 

Happy Holidays





The Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter had a very busy Board meeting on October 26.  In addition to reviewing the successful Giving Challenge and planning for the March Hearing Tech Expo, the Board revised the Chapter Bylaws and approved a Board Reference Manual to assist new and old board members in carrying out the mission of HLAA.
In addition, an insurance policy to protect the financial assets of the Chapter was approved.

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 and members are encouraged to review this list of professionals when wading through all of those full page hearing aid ads in the newspapers for assistance with their hearing needs.

From time to time, we will feature stories about professionals doing good work. The stories should not be considered an endorsement but are intended to demonstrate professionalism in the hearing assistance industry.

“Hearing Health and Technology Matters” is a publication whose primary audience is audiologists.  Bob Martin Au.D. wrote a ten part article, “Winning the War Against Hearing Loss”.  A look behind the curtain in Part Nine below will give an insight to how a professional approaches a patient’s hearing loss and lifestyle. The article demonstrates the professionalism of our professional partners and can make our members better patients by seeing what the professional can do with the information you share with them.


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

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market -
Saturday, December 26th 28th 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.





December 9th Chapter Meeting 

The annual Chapter Holiday Party will be most entertaining this year!
Each December, the Chapter emphasizes the “support” part of its mission and puts on some holiday entertainment to kick off the holiday season. 

This year will be magical. In addition to a great spread of holiday treats, announcements and updates, we will be entertained by the “Parlor Magic Show”. No disappearing elephants or ladies cut in half, just some amazing prestidigitation and lots of fun.

November Chapter Meeting Recap

Chapter Mentor Anne Taylor spoke about Membership and Chapter Club in the L shaped room

Due to the North Library closure for the Veterans Day holiday, the Chapter meeting was held in Venice at the CCDHH storefront facility. Attendance was likely in excess of the Fire Marshall’s limits but chairs were set to accommodate all. 

Julia Nagel, HAS and Jeffrey Lezynski Au.D. from the Silverstein Institute put on an informative presentation “It’s Time to Listen and Hear”. Dr. Lezynski outlined the process of hearing and addressed myths of hearing loss as well as causes of hearing loss and consequences of hearing loss. Julia updated the Chapter members and guests about all the new technology and choices that each patient has to consider. A number of questions and answers followed.


Dr. Jack Wazen discussed the latest research on possible causes and the most efficient treatment options.    Dr. Jack Wazen is an ENT-otolaryngologist in Sarasota, Florida. He also is on the Board of Directors of HLAA in Bethesda, Md.
Fifty Chapter members and visitors filled the meeting room and over half identified themselves as tinnitus sufferers. Tinnitus is “the perception of sound in the head or ears when no external sound is present”.  Dr Wazen said “if the patient says the sounds are saying words, the patient is visiting the wrong doctor”. 
Dr. Wazen’s presentation was mixed with some humor and real patient experiences. He pointed out that tinnitus is a symptom always with an underlying cause.  He took the attendees through diagnosis protocol including neuroma. He discussed the effect of sound on the cochlea and how loud sounds cause hearing loss.  He also talked about treatments and measures to alleviate the tinnitus’ effect on the brain.  Dr. Wazen left time for questions and, as always, the “class” learned a lot from theses answers.
[Note—Dr. Wazen will be our speaker at the January Chapter meeting on January 13]
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!




The “Sarasota Dream Team” “won” the “Walk4Hearing in Jacksonville in November. Led by JoAnne DeVries and Valerie Stafford-Mallis, the Chapter raised $5,085.  Thank you members for your contributions!

The HLAA goal for the Florida Walk was $30,000 and the Walk raised $21,405.68 overall but contributions are still being accepted. Valerie Stafford-Mallis was the top walker ($4,250) as many of the Sarasota/Manatee Chapter members contributed to her as her employer, ACS Captions, matched the contributions.

A special “thank you” to Phil Hyssong and Mike Cano, owners of ACS Captions for the match.

Phil and Mike said: “Valerie Stafford-Mallis is an elected member and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).  This is a great honor for her and ACS is very proud to support her in her efforts…Mike and I have already made personal donations of $100 each and the race is on."  


Dr. Wazen’s tinnitus presentation at “After Hours” prompted a number of questions and also reflected that tinnitus is a not uncommon experience of Chapter members.

The National Institute of Health supports research and publishing of tinnitus issues.  For those who wish to review current findings and research, the included summary from NIH follows:
What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. You might hear it in either one or both ears. Roughly 10 percent of the adult population of the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. This amounts to nearly 25 million Americans.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus (pronounced tin-NY-tus or TIN-u-tus) is not a disease. It is a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus. But it can also be the result of a number of health conditions, such as:  



HLAA has issued a progress report on the ongoing issue of hearing aid compatibility with digital phones. The following is from HLAA:

“HLAA has worked with industry and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue of Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) phones. When mobile technology moved from analog to digital in the 1990s, it created a huge barrier for people with hearing loss in that suddenly people with hearing loss who could use wireless handsets were faced with interference when they held the phone to their ear.

It wasn’t until 2003 that the FCC determined that the complete exemption from HAC for wireless handsets would have an adverse effect on individuals with hearing loss and that limiting the exemption was technologically feasible and in the public interest. For all that time, people with hearing loss waited for access to hearing aid compatible phones.



Our HLAA Chapter is active with the Sarasota “Citizens with Disabilities Advisory Board” and made presentations to them calling for the looping of city meeting facilities.  Sarasota City Council members were invited to our looped Chapter meetings (and attended) and were encouraged to accommodate those with hearing loss.

Our advocacy was successful!  The Sarasota City Hall Chambers and the Sarasota County Media Room located in the City Hall Annex Building are now equipped with an induction loop system that enables people with hearing loss to hear council meetings and proceedings more clearly.

From our Chapter's press release: “Approximately 145,000 residents in Sarasota/Manatee counties have some level of hearing loss making it a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis.

Over the past 5 years, our HLAA- Sarasota/Manatee Chapter has been successful in educating the community on the benefits of installing a hearing loop system in their business or venue. In addition to the Sarasota City Hall Chambers and the Media Room, more than 120 venues in Sarasota/Manatee counties offer hearing loop technology. The result is better communication access for persons with hearing loss benefit when attending area churches, the theater, or visiting business locations throughout our community”.  


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)   

Hearing Loss is Frustrating for the Whole Family
What did he say?
I’m sorry I didn’t hear you
I can’t hear you in the dark
You are mumbling again
Why are you not facing me when you talk to me?
It is frustrating to say and to hear these phrases over and over again, isn’t it?
Hearing loss, whether caused by disease, exposure to loud noise, medication or old age, is stressful, isolating, depressing, frustrating and annoying.
From the view-point of folks with hearing loss

It is not fun to be with a crowd of people and miss the joke. What are they all laughing at? 


Calling all Volunteers!
Did you know that our HLAA chapter is run completely by volunteers? 
We could use your help.  There are many opportunities to help HLAA become more visible to the community and by doing so; enable others with hearing loss to find the resources that that are available. 

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.
Volunteering can make a positive impact in the lives of others with your time, experience and passion.


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. 

Dr. Cassel will describe a recent study on improving hearing technologies for older adults, which was conducted by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST). PCAST specifically looked at how to support older adults with mild to moderate age-related hearing loss, which affects nearly half of people over the age of 60 and has major health and social impacts.

The report 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”—the current issue features “Mobile Device Apps for People with Hearing Loss” and the “Smart Hearing Aid Revolution”.   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. 
  • (New Perk) 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,
Among the many functions of HLAA National is 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 $5 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.

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

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

Reaching for 1000 -- Invite Your “Friends” To Like This Page The Chapter’s Facebook Page is a fantastic resource for anything and everything related to hearing loss. Announcements, photos, industry information, medical advancements and much more are posted daily.

The Chapter now has over 774 users.  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 December 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.

 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 begins!

The Players provides the Chapter with 20 to 25 FREE tickets, a great benefit of our nominal membership dues. The shows are, of course, looped! 

There is an option for a pre-theatre dinner.  Members enjoyed dining at Two Senoritas before the last show, Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang.


The show date is always the pre-opening show, the night prior to Opening Night.   Contact the for tickets. Tickets are distributed to Members only.
The next offering will be “She Loves Me” on the pre-opening date of December 1. Reserve your seats now.

The musical follows the 1940 James Stewart-Margaret Sullivan film The Shop around the Corner and the 1949 Judy Garland-Van Johnson musical version In the Good Old Summertime. It would surface yet again in 1998 as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature You've Got Mail. The plot revolves around shop employees Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash who, despite being consistently at odds with each other at work, are unaware that each is the other's secret pen pal met through lonely-hearts ads.  
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.

In her blog, Gael wrote about writing this book:

The Way I Hear It  is not only about my life, although my experiences are common to most people with hearing loss; it includes the stories of many who have gobsmacked me with their hearing loss courage and expertise—and that includes the hearing health professional.   I have tried to go beyond typical hearing loss advice (‘this is what a hearing aid does’, ‘make sure the speaker faces you’, ‘keep your sense of humour’), for a you-are-there book that hopefully will make you laugh and maybe even pound your fist on the table with ‘Yes! That’s MY life!’ 
If you have hearing loss, although you may never write a book, I recommend writing as a way to deal with the frustrations and anxieties of communication challenges.  At the simplest level, write a piece of inspiration that gets you through the hearing loss day and stick it on the fridge.  Years ago, I wrote:’ it’s not just about hearing. It’s about being heard.’ That still inspires me. Or ramp it up a notch and write in a journal or start a blog.  It doesn’t matter who reads it or if anybody reads it.  What’s important is how it makes you feel and how it helps you deal positively with your hearing loss. That’s the way that hear it, anyway”.




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