THE HLAA CONVENTION IS IN “NAWLINS” IN LATE JUNE

All of the information is online at https://www.hearingloss.org/programs-events/convention/. 

A number of members have made plans to venture across I-10 for the convention.

Humorist Gael Hannan wrote “The Way I See It”, the book that our book club reviewed in 2018.

She will be a convention speaker and has attended our Chapter meetings when on the west coast of Florida. She wrote an article last month for “Hearing Health Matters” about the value of hearing loss conventions. Here it is:

Why I Go to Hearing Loss Conferences (and Why I Think You Should, Too) 

What is your biggest complaint about having hearing loss? For many people, it’s the isolation they feel when they don’t hear what others are saying, or when they miss sound cues.

What used to be easy is now a challengeWe can’t keep up in conversations. In groups, whether large or small, competing voices dissolve into noise, making even idle chitchat impossible. Using the phone becomes more difficult. What’s worse, the hearing people in our lives don’t really understand our issues, increasing our sense of isolation.

I lived most of my life with this sort of social alienation, a fact of which I was only dimly aware. I heard what I heard and that was that. It’s only in looking back that I realized that, in spite of having good friends and doing well in school, I operated in partial isolation. There was a lot going on around me that I just didn’t catch.

But then my life changed, big time.

I went to a hearing loss conference and I came home three days later, a woman transformed. I was no longer isolated; instead, I was connected to a large and vibrant community of people who faced their communication challenges head-on. The conference was my launchpad to improving my own communication strategies and becoming more connected to the world around me. That was 25 years ago and, today, I still attend at least one annual hearing loss conference, often to speak but also to listen, to learn and to share. The hearing loss conference – any which one, anywhere – is my happy place.

Why I believe you should go to a hearing loss conference:

  • Interesting speakers and workshops. You will have a hard time choosing what sessions to attend because so many of them will touch on at least one area of your hearing loss life. Presenters are people with hearing loss who share valuable strategies and lessons learned. They may also be hearing health professionals who help explain the mysterious workings of our hearing system.
  • Exciting exhibits. At the large conferences, there are dozens of exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest devices as well as neat stuff that can boost your hearing, your communication and your confidence.
  • Social events. The conferences have many opportunities to meet other attendees with whom you can enjoy the excitement and the learning. If you’re shy and worry you won’t be able to interact very well, all you need is the courage to go to the conference. Everyone else has hearing loss too! The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention runs a wonderful session at the start of the conference for first time attendees.
  • Everything is accessible. All events and workshops provide communication access through captioning (CART), amplification, and telecoil/room loops. Unless you’re sleeping or bored (which I doubt), you won’t miss a word.
  • You’re not alone. You will understand that you’re one of millions of people dealing with hearing loss. You will learn techniques to keep you in the conversation. And you will return to your community with ideas that not only make your life better but have the potential to improve the lives of other people with hearing loss in your area.

In addition to national and international conferences, many regions have smaller conferences and many communities have hearing loss groups that hold monthly meetings.

Some people find the larger events to be expensive, but there are ways to save costs. Try driving to the events that are within a reasonable distance. Share hotel costs with another attendee, or find an Airbnb in the conference area, which is an increasingly popular option.

Whatever the cost, consider it an essential life purchase, because it may also be life changing.

Note – HLAA has its annual Convention in New Orleans in June. (I will be speaking, so I hope to see you there!)

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We are the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), which has been instrumental in advocating for hearing rights and access across the country.

They provide much of the guidance and direction for our educational and support programs, and can offer the same opportunities to you to better deal with your hearing loss if you join HLAA as an individual member.

We encourage everyone to become members of the HLAA to benefit from the personal enrichment they offer and to support their efforts in championing for hearing needs. To learn more, visit HLAA.

We also encourage everyone to attend the HLAA National Convention. Our members who have attended this annual convention each June,  all report how personally rewarding this experience was.