February 2016



Exhibits, Seminars, Veterans Panel, Latest Technology as well as
prizes and refreshments—and its FREE!



The site is the same as the past two years, the Manatee Technical College on Route 70 between I-75 and 301. Read More!


 President's Message

Greetings Friends!  

Save The Date- March 5th!  The theme for this year’s expo is “What’s New.” The theme reflects the huge strides being made in technologies to help the hard of hearing. We have already lined up exhibitors and a roster of expert speakers for the 2016 Sarasota/Manatee Hearing Loss Tech Expo which will be held on March 5, 2016.  
Seminars will feature an insiders’ look at many of these new innovative technologies, such as captioned phones, new hearing aid and implant technologies.  This EXPO is free to the public and our way of reaching out to our community in need. Over 145,000 locals have hearing loss and 116,000 are not getting the treatment and support they need to lead less isolated lives. 
To take advantage of the robust number of educational outlets that will be available at the Expo, we are rolling our Veterans Hearing Awareness Forum into the Expo in 2016. There are 85,000 veterans living in Sarasota/Manatee and 17,600 of them suffer with hearing loss.
The Hearing Tech Expo is open to the community and sponsored by the Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter. The event takes place on Saturday, March 5 from 9 am to 4 pm at Manatee Technical College (MTC) 6305 State Road 70 in Bradenton, just 1 mile west of I-75 and exit 217B.
For more details, click:

We look forward to meeting you at Expo 2016! 





The Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter held its Board Meeting on January 11.
The primary agenda item was planning for the March 5 Hearing Loss Expo. Discussions and plans were also made for demonstrating assistive devices at Chapter meetings, planning a fundraiser with the Ear Research Foundation, successful membership initiatives and Committee updates.

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:

Hearing Loss Association of America Announces Valerie Stafford-Mallis as Director of Chapter Development

Our Chapter is losing a Trustee but all of HLAA is gaining an outstanding advocate. The National Bylaws require that Valerie take leave of her position with our Chapter but the good news is Valerie is staying right here in the community and will continue to lend her expertise to us.
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) announced the recent hire of Valerie Stafford-Mallis, as the director of chapter development on January 4, 2016. In this role Valerie will be responsible for providing the leaders of HLAA Chapters with the direction they need to effectively deliver the HLAA mission to their members and respective communities.
The HLAA press release stated--
“’As a person who lost my hearing during my working years, I have experienced firsthand the struggles faced by people with hearing loss to maintain employment, independence and full participation in public life,’ said Valerie. ‘HLAA changed my life. I fully support HLAA’s mission to open the world of communication to persons with hearing loss. I believe the local chapters and the state organizations are the foundation of the information, education, support and advocacy that HLAA offers. I pledge to use my knowledge, skills and abilities gained from working in the public and private sectors to provide the leaders of HLAA Chapters with tools and support they can use in delivering this mission. Together we can make it happen.’

On March 2, the Ear Research Foundation and our HLAA Chapter will have a “Celebrity Bartending” event at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch.  Dr. Herb Silverstein and his jazz group, “Doc and the Ear-iginals” will be playing a couple of sets.
The Polo Grill is on off Lakewood Ranch Blvd on Main St and Boardwalk (10670 Boardwalk) and the event takes place from 6 PM to 9 PM.  All tips go to the two 501 (c) 3’s.  Stop by for a drink, meet a lot of folks they may not hear every word but will enjoy the jazz. Tip well for a good cause!
The Ear-iginals are--
Dr. Herbert Silverstein, Piano
Dr. Jack Wazen, Drums
Richard Drexler, Bass
La Rue Nickelson, Guitar
Laura Wazen, Vocals

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.

“Listen Up” profiles professionalism in hearing loss matters.  This month, we feature the premier hearing research organization, the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF). Since 1958, HHF has awarded approximately 2,000 grants totaling over $27.8 million through the Emerging Research Grants program. The work of HHF’s grantees has led to many of today’s standard treatments for hearing loss, such as cochlear implants, treatments for ear infections and surgical therapy for otosclerosis.

In 2011, HHF launched its most important research initiative yet. The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) promises to deliver a genuine, biologic cure for millions living with hearing loss.



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

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market -
Saturday, February 27th 7:00 - 1:00 

Outreach Events Keep the Chapter Busy 

The Chapter’s outreach program covers over 100 events a year.

Our President advocating in Palmetto

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.

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.




February 10th, Chapter Meeting 

The Chapter is providing a unique opportunity to assist members in knowing their rights as well as advocating for themselves and others.  

Members of the New York City law firm Eisenberg and Baum will be here to present “Know Your Rights and Empowerment”. 

Topics include  “communication barriers and ADA issues.

They are board members of the Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing and advocate daily for workplace accommodations, captions, public accommodation and much more.


North Sarasota Library Meeting Room
2801 Newtown Blvd, Sarasota



Wednesday, February 3, 2016
3:00 - 4:30 pm
Venice Jacaranda Library

Do you have trouble communicating with your friends and family? Do you have a tendency to withdraw socially or to simply "check out"? 

Our February 3rd meeting in VENICE will feature a presentation on "How To Improve Relationships Through Better Hearing" presented by Virgi Mills, M.E.D., a Consumer Outreach Manager with MED EL.


She will be sharing research that demonstrates the importance of listening practice and provide examples of how to intentionally practice listening.  

The Venice Jacaranda Library is located at 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd, Venice, FL 34293.

January Chapter Meeting Recap

The Chapter kicked off 2016 with 80 plus members filling the room for Dr. Jack Wazen’s presentation at the January 13 Chapter meeting.


Dr. Wazen discussed the merits, limitations, costs and criteria for fully implantable and partially implantable hearing devices. He explained how hearing aids can have issues of occlusion, feedback and sound quality for some as well as stigma.  He discussed in depth such devices as Envoy Esteem, Maxum and Baha.

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. The topic will be one of interest. Do you wonder about the four page ads for the hearing aids that make your hearing better than hearing folks? Are you amazed by the wrap around the front page ads promising the end of all of your hearing issues? Do you wonder how all the hearing aid companies can afford to run the full page ads every week?
Mark Selis of All Ears Hearing Services will address these issues in “Truth in Hearing Aid Advertising” at the next meeting at 6:00 PM on 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:
A number of members have tried the Roger Pen, an assistive device developed by Phonak—but it works with any hearing device that has a T-coil. It was designed with discretion in mind and features adaptive wireless transmission. It looks like a pen and can be carried in a shirt pocket, placed on a table or held like a microphone to a person you are speaking with.  Its range is about 33 feet. The Chapter has one on loan from Phonak and you can sign up to borrow it for a month at any Chapter meeting.
The system includes the pen and a neckloop with chargers. The pen and a neck loop require charging. The pen then connects to the T-coil in your hearing aids or cochlear device and volume can be regulated by the neckloop.  The pen also can connect to a phone and the phone can be answered by pressing a button on the pen. Connection to other audio devices is also available.
The cost is over $1200 so a “test drive” is imperative. Phonak’s charts and technical information for “Roger” can be found at

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


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:
In addition to assistance in finding looped locations, Loopfinder has a FAQ section about looping. Here is the visual explanation of 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.


“Hearing Health and Technology Matters” has published a three part series by Dr. Bob Martin on the relationship of hearing loss, balance issues and migraine headaches.  If you have these issues, the summary addressing treatment for these problems may be of some interest.
HHTM has been gracious enough to permit us to republish Dr. Martin’s article.


Treating People Who Have Genetic-based Migraine and Ear Problems

Genetic research has found a defect in DNA code that helps us understand diseases that had previously been mysterious, hard to understand, and difficult to treat. These diseases include some types of dizziness, hearing loss, and nose problems. The great news is that once we have identified the genetic defect, it gives us a new and more successful path for managing the disorder.



An opportunity to advocate from your living room

Florida’s primary elections will be held March 15. 
This means we will be besieged by political ads for the next few weeks. Regardless or party or candidate preference, the Chapter members can create an awareness for captioning with the candidates and their ad agencies.  Advertisers have an exemption from the television broadcast captioning requirements of the FCC and some will not spend the comparatively minute’ percentage of the cost of an ad to save a few dollars—apparently unaware that 3,000,000 Floridians are hard of hearing and 145,000 of us in the two county area have difficulty hearing television sound.

If an ad is not captioned—by any candidate—fire off an email to the “contact us” section of the candidate’s website.  They may ignore one or two but when they see a trend of complaints, they will get the message—especially if you say “I cannot vote for you because of your insensitivity to the hard of hearing, 3,000,000 of us in Florida” (even if you would never vote for that candidate anyway).

Below, please find the website of each of the debate qualified candidates.




Hearing loops are truly international. Although hearing loops are prevalent in Europe, hearing loss advocates have made great strides down under and in other travelled areas in Asia.

Thanks to our past HLAA Treasurer, Eileen Schulert and husband Doug for the pictures as they travel about the world. If you see Loop signs on your travels, send a picture to the Listen Up editor at


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)   

Is there a difference between Deaf and deaf?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the word deaf is spelled with a big ‘D’ – and sometimes is spelled with a little‘d’?
Does it matter which way it is spelled?
Little‘d’ deaf is generally used by hearing people for individuals who cannot hear well.
In 1979, Howard (Rocky) E. Stone found himself alone with a substantial hearing loss, amongst hearing people. He came up with the term ‘hard of hearing’ for folks who did not fit in the hearing world, or the totally deaf world. 


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. 

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

On January 15,  Dr. Alison Freeman Ph.D. presented “I Survived the Holidays...Barely!


During this presentation, Dr. Freeman reviewed how we handled (or not) our hearing loss during the holidays. She will share both her personal and professional experiences in dealing with her lifelong hearing loss. This webinar looked at how we can better manage the challenges of hearing loss during stressful times in time for the next holiday and every day! 
The eight webinars presented in the first half of 2015 are found below. One or more may be of specific interest to you.  
Read More!

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,

Mr. Russ Coleman                              Sarasota
Dr. Gwendolyn Dawson, AuD            Sarasota
Ms Tatiana Doorenko                         Lakewood Ranch
Mr. Kevin Furniss                                Englewood
Mr. Edward Loomis                            Sarasota
Dr. Sarah Lundstrom, AuD                 Venice
Mr. Richard Mantyla                           Sarasota
Mr. Jeffrey Olson,HIS                         Sarasota
Mr. Paul Peterson                               Sarasota
Mr. Norman Pokorny                          Venice
Dr. Jenilee Pulido, AuD                      Sarasota
Dr. Daniel Weiner                               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

800 FRIENDS!  Pushing for 1000 
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 February 23rd.
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. 

Here is an example of the information for our “home” theater where all screens are captioned (limited to 3 screens for space): READ MORE!

 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.

There is an option for a pre-theatre dinner around 5:15. 
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.             
The next offering will be “Hands on a Hardbody” on February 16

Celebrating: Hope! Ambition! The American Dream!
For 10 hard-luck Texans, a new lease on life is so close they can touch it. Under a scorching sun for days on end, armed with nothing but hope, humor and ambition, they’ll fight to keep at least one hand on a brand new truck in order to win it. Inspired by true events, and infused with a “fresh roots-rock vibe,” this is the hilarious hard-fought contest where only one winner can drive away with The American Dream. 10 contestants. 4 days. 1 truck


 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” – March 17 – 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM - 1350 Main St. Sarasota
The book for our Spring meeting is, “The Way I Hear It” by Gael Hannon.  Gael is from Canada and comes south in the Spring and attended last April’s Chapter meeting while on holiday.  She is unable to attend the Between the Covers” book club meeting in March but we hope she can address a Chapter meeting next year.
This is an outstanding book on everything you need to know about hearing loss that will have you laughing out loud in every chapter. Whether you are able to attend “Between the Covers” or not, you will identify with the situations addressed in the book.

From the book--an excerpt about battery care—“I’m always one dead battery from falling to pieces. When hearing technology is humming along, life is good.  But when technology goes dead, so does my composure.    ‘Please let it be the battery’ I pray desperately as I claw through my purse for a battery package. ‘Oh please, please, PLEASE’.    And usually it is, but there is that painful nano-second after putting in a fresh battery when you hear nothing. Or the booming silence instead of the welcoming chimes that say all is well, but just before melting into the floor like a dying Wicked Witch of the West, you try one more battery, which works and still want to cry, because your beautiful baby hearing aid isn’t broken after all. The relief is stunning”.       





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