July/August 2016

In 2011, The Selby Foundation Grant paid for the Asolo’s smaller Cook theatre to be looped. At the time, Asolo only elected to submit the Cook Theatre for a Selby Grant because there was too much interference from the Mertz Theatre’s older sound system to make the loop feasible. Recent renovations created the ability to install a hearing loop in the large theatre.
A subscriber, Joel Fried, and others have lobbied for the loop to be added.
The Chapter thanks Mr. Fried and Asolo is formally attributing the loop to the efforts of an “anonymous contributor, Joel Fried, The Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee Chapter; and The Edward K. Roberts Emerging Needs Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County”.
The loop is operational downstairs and “installed” upstairs. Jim Scott of Complete Hearing Solutions will fine tune the upstairs during a dress rehearsal and it will be completed before the 2016-17 begins this fall.

The Asolo Mertz Theater and--Jim Scott, Joel Fried and Matt King
Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida’s premier professional theatre is one of the most important cultural forces in the Southeastern United States. It is adjacent to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.


 President's Message


It is always such an amazing experience to attend the national HLAA convention.  People travel from across the country wanting to learn about hearing loss and what they can do about it.  HLAA remains the one organization that is the voice of consumers with hearing loss who want to stay in the hearing world.  HLAA is based on self help—finding out all you can about your hearing loss, making choices that keep you optimistic and, in turn, helping others do the same. 

For me, the national convention experience is always a new one—meeting new attendees, hearing a new story or idea, trying new technology, seeing a new city, and so much more!  The Convention was outstanding this year and included educational Chapter Building Workshops, a research symposium (Novel Approaches toward Addressing Hearing Loss—Ideas on the Cutting Edge), and a variety of hearing loss related seminars/presentations.  The Convention is a unique educational experience that provides opportunities for peer interactions and mutual sharing with others facing similar issues.

At our September 14th, 2016 monthly meeting all of the Sarasota/Manatee convention attendees will share some of the highlights of their experience. What a great experience we had—we can’t wait to share it with you!  




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 .  Members are encouraged to review this list of professionals when considering professional services.

This month, we take a look at an FDA issue the professionals are facing.
The FDA recently held took comments and held a workshop on Personal Sound Amplification Devices (PSAPs) and with permission of the editor of Hearing Health and Technology Matters (HHTM), the proceedings and comments are summarized below from their article.
During the April 21 FDA public workshop several key stakeholders weighed in on the issues surrounding the regulation of hearing aids and PSAPs.  These comments, which are authored by private citizens, professional organizations, consumer advocacy groups and businesses, provide a range of opinions both supportive and in opposition to changing the current FDA hearing aid regulations, in place since 1977, and the FDA’s 2013 PSAP Draft Guidance.
Given the potential regulatory changes to the professions of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, HHTM provided its professionals with a review of the statements made by some of the familiar stakeholders as well as notable upstarts.

Wide Variety of Opinions

“Not surprisingly, entities with the most at risk over any impending changes to current hearing aid regulations voiced the most vehement opposition to regulatory change and offered strong support the 2013 FDA Draft Guidance.



Good news!  Remote Conference Captioning (RCC), also referred to as Relay Conference Captioning, is currently available through Sprint Relay to Florida residents.  It uses human real-time caption writers and not speech recognition software. 

FTRI is Florida's State Relay Administrator and the link for setting up a conference call to anywhere is

It does not matter where the conference call participants live nor in what state the conference call dial-in is located.  All that matters is that the person requesting the call is a Florida resident with hearing loss and that the person uses a land line with a Florida phone number, because the Florida relay service is paid for by a tax on monthly landline bills in Florida. When the person requests the service, they will input their landline phone number as a part of their identifying information.

The words are read online in a closed link that only the participants share.
If you are hard of hearing and need to “meet” with others for business or a group you belong to—or even a telephonic family get together, you can have CART “free”!


Lip-reading classes at ACE (Adult Continuing Education) will be held at the Technical School on Proctor and Beneva in Sarasota.  They will begin on October 5th and end on December 7th with no class the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 

The classes begin at 10 am and end by 12 in room 205.  All students must register at the ACE office either by phone, e mail, or in person.  Contact the ACE office at 941-361-6590.




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, June 25th 7:00 - 1:00 

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.


Next Farmers Markets—Saturday, July 23 and August 27,
7 AM to 1 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 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 fourth Saturday, stop by and say hello to Dave and our volunteers.






In the summer, the Chapter conducts “Rap Sessions”.

Attendance is strong although some folks have wandered “up north”.  At these meetings, most all questions, concerns, successes and disappointments are shared and discussed. There is no guest speaker, just an open session to focus on your individual needs.

We will have Derek Hart of Connect Hearing assisting our peer mentor in fielding questions on July 13 and Ashley Camblin-Toole of Adept Audiology on August 10.

The venue is the same as the chapter meetings, the North Sarasota Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd.


June Chapter Meeting Recap

The combined meeting on June 14 was a great success with a full house and a great program.

The topic was “Why Don't Hearing Aids Work?”
The presenter was Ashley Camblin-Toole, a Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist. Ashley has been in the hearing industry for 12 years and has been a lifelong hearing aid user.

Three decades of wearing hearing aids has provided her with invaluable experience and the ability to help many people with their hearing issues.
She spoke about the three categories that lead to a successful hearing aid user, the hearing aid professional, the hearing aid and the hearing aid user, you.
She pointed out that the professional should be licensed and experienced and for the best results, a private practice offering a full hearing evaluation and clear return policy

She discussed types of hearing aids, the individual selection related to style, the price and the user’s lifestyle.  She further talked about background noise and clarity matters that affect each user.
She went over auditory exercises to keep the brain trained, the need to wear the hearing aids all day in all environments
After the presentation the questions kept coming for half an hour. It was pretty clear our members are well educated about hearing aids as the questions raised many technical and medical issues.

The next “After Hours” will be September 13 at 6:00 PM. 

Click on Event Calendar for Upcoming Events READ MORE!




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. the app is available for iPhones.

The website is:

As an example. --If you checked, you would find that the auditorium at Sarasota Memorial Hospital is looped. They have lots of programs and it is good to know that you will be able to “hear” with the hearing loop.

In addition to assistance in finding looped locations, Loopfinder has a FAQ section about looping.

Also, Assistive Listening Device Locater  is equally helpful.

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


In the past two months, the Chapter has been advocating on a local and national basis for Beta testing of a hearing loop at the order stations of Starbucks.  The team of JoAnne DeVries, Maria Anderson and Richard Williams put together educational packets on looping and visited managers of Starbucks in the two county area to explain the needs of the hearing loss community in simply ordering a latte and muffin over the din of the machines, the music and the conversations.  It was learned the managers can do little to initiate change. The team followed up by sending packets to each Board member at their own business addresses (people like NBA’s Bill Bradley and former Sec of Defense Gates) as well as CEO Howard Schultz and others at the home office.

You can certainly help by explaining how much a hearing loop would help to the manager or the barista when patronizing Starbucks.

The cover letter is copied below—

All Starbucks Customers Are Not Happy Customers...
People with hearing loss love Starbucks; however, the noise from music, customers and espresso machines make it a difficult and frustrating experience to simply place an order.
Unpleasant customer experiences like these occur daily at all Starbuck locations, yet
it doesn’t have to.
The addition of a low cost, easy to install induction hearing loop at the order counter facilitates communication by reducing unwanted background noise. The employee’s spoken word is transmitted directly into the customer's hearing aid or cochlear implant.

The hearing loop ensures a more efficient ordering process for Starbucks
and a significantly better customer experience for those with hearing loss.

The Sarasota/Manatee Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America has successfully advocated for improved communication access in more than 120 venues throughout our community and in the United States Supreme Court.



Hearing Health Care for Adults:
Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability

The HLAA recently send out a press release applauding a new report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The press release stated: “The groundbreaking report documents the critical nature of hearing loss and provides 12 recommendations that underscore hearing loss as a significant public health concern. The recommendations accurately reflect the needs, concerns, and frustrations that consumers face when making hearing health care decisions, including whether to seek treatment at all. HLAA is proud to be the only consumer organization to serve as one of the sponsors of the report”.

This report was discussed at the late June HLAA Convention and the recommendations add a base for the case to be made for Medicare and Medicaid assistance to those with hearing loss.

The HLAA release went on to state: “Implementation of the recommendations will provide people with hearing loss greater access to accurate information, offer more affordable choices and options, and will empower consumers to take steps to address their hearing loss. The current hearing health care model needs to change to be more consumer-focused, and implementing the recommendations contained in the report would go a long way toward realizing that change.






Some of us have spoken—only 88 citizens in the United States filed comments to the FAA’s request for comments “Access to Airports by Individuals with Disability”. HLAA leaders led the way.!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;dct=PS;D=FAA-2016-4796

The FAA “Request for Comments” was highlighted in the June “Listen Up” and many HLAA members from across the country did comment. The FAA advises they will still accept comments—“Comments must be received on or before June 6, 2016. The FAA will also consider comments received after that date to the extent practicable.”                     
Here is the link for late comments--!submitComment;D=FAA-2016-4796-0002
The good news is that although the Draft Advisory was addressing all disabilities, well over half of the concerns expressed dealt with hearing loss.  A few voices can make a difference.  Please add your comment!
As an example, Dr. David Myers, a former HLAA Convention Keynote speaker, stated:
“Kudos to the FAA for its careful analysis of airport accessibility. For the 48 million Americans with the great invisible disability--hearing loss--it has been wonderful to see "hearing loops" introduced at several airports, including both concourses and all individual gate areas of the Grand Rapids Airport, and now several gate areas (A40 and A73 to A78) at Detroit Airport, as well as at several smaller regional airports.

As explained at, this hearing assistance system broadcasts sound directly via most hearing aids and all cochlear implants. It requires no more than the push of a button to activate the magnetic telecoil sensor that comes with more and more of today's hearing aids (7 in 10 models at last count)--thus transforming hearing aid into a customized, in-the-ear speaker that delivers deliciously clear sound. 



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)   

How to communicate with a person with hearing loss
We folks with hearing loss know that it is challenging to have a decent conversation with our friends and family. Sometimes, we are guilty of ‘tuning out’ because we are too tired and frustrated to try to understand any more. I know we may sometimes give the impression that we are being rude, or ignoring people, or are just plain stupid.
It is challenging also for those who love us and want to include us in the conversation. The hearing family members and friends are not sure if we have heard correctly or not – especially when we bluff, nod our heads – giving the impression that we have heard what they said.
I have been guilty of bluffing and suffered the dire consequences – such as meeting at the wrong place and time – or turning right instead of left.
There is no wonder people get frustrated and angry with us. “Why did you not say you did not understand?’ I guess we thought we had it right.
No big deal, right? Just say you did not understand. However, it is embarrassing to the person with hearing loss (HL) to ask for constant repeats. And, it is annoying and irritating for the hearing person to be asked for constant repeats – however, less so than taking corrective action.
Understanding how people with hearing loss hear 


Calling all Volunteers!
Did you know that 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  and see if there might be something you would like to do. 

Most do not require a long commitment of time or energy and provide the added benefit of making you feel more a part of the local chapter.  And don't worry; you'll have someone to provide guidance and support.

We hope you would be willing to share your time and talents.  And it's a great way to meet new people. 


HLAA conducts educational webinars for its members and constituents.  There is no cost to attend webinars. All webinars are captioned and archived for access at the HLAA website. 

Most past Webinars can be accessed at:
Current Webinars that may be scheduled—often with short notice can be found at:

The HLAA finds many new topics from its Convention speakers—and the June presentations were outstanding.  The schedule of Webinars will be posted as Webinars are scheduled. If you are new to the world HLAA opens up, take a look back at the archived Webinar to find a topic that will benefit your.



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!

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.  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,

Sherrill Munro, Bradenton

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:



1000 Friends is a significant Facebook milestone AND at the time of Listen Up publication, we had 1005 Friends.  

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"
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 Returns September 20
The Movie Club generally meets the Fourth Tuesday of each month but due to the conflict with the Theatre Club, they will meet the Third Tuesday in September, September 20.
 “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.

All AMC cinemas offer the CaptiView captioning system and Sony Access Glasses are available at all Regal cinemas nationwide. Sony Access Glasses are only available at Regal cinemas, but the CaptiView system can be found at some other national chains like Cinemark, as well as independents. These devices can also less confusing to newcomers if referred to as captioning systems and not Closed Captions (CC). Closed captions, once accessed like on TV or a DVD or streamed home movie, are seen by everyone watching the screen. In contrast, captioning systems provide personal captions for the device user only. Burns Court does not offer captions (unless a foreign film) but they do have a hearing loop system on screens 1 and 3.

Our friends at Captionfish, list all theatres in North America that offer closed captions. Check it out.


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 been announced.


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.  

The Curtain Time kickoff show is--


September 27, 2016

“Everything’s Coming Up Roses” with this 1959 classic musical about the ultimate stage mother! Loosely based on the memoirs of famous strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, this piece is often referred to as “The Greatest American Musical”.
The entire season is loaded with great Broadway shows.



Between The Covers Book Club (Members Only) 

“Between the Covers” – Fall 2016

The book is “The Way I Hear It” by Gael Hannan.
Whether you plan to attend or not, please read it!
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.

From time to time, we will republish Gael’s article in “Hearing Health and Technology Matters” with permission of the editor. Here is last month’s article--



Everybody asks for things to be repeated. Whether you can hear people whispering in a noisy restaurant or have trouble understanding even your own mom on the phone, everyone needs to say pardon me on occasion.

Maybe a person is talking with a mouth full of food, munching words beyond recognition. More than one person is speaking at once, and your ears can’t keep straight who’s saying what. Words don’t seem to match the speaker’s facial expression—sad words but happy eyes, for example—and you don’t want to give the wrong response. In these situations, even ‘hearing’ people ask for repeats or clarification.

But for the person with hearing loss who needs darn near perfect listening conditions, these are only a few of the reasons our days are punctuated with Hey? What was that? Pardon me?

Having to ask the question is like a chronic toothache, but dealing with the responses can be jolting, even for the seasoned person with hearing loss.

Ask for a repeat once—and it’s given graciously.

Ask twice—and it’s repeated with concern.

Ask three times—and you get one of three responses:

A. Impatience, a frown and maybe a little eyeball rolling

B. “What are you deaf or something?”

C. “Never mind, it’s not important.”



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