Chapter member Christine Goodier is an Osprey, Florida-based freelance travel writer, editor and photographer. Chris, who cannot hear once she turns off her cochlear implant at night, felt the need for a trained hearing dog. She explained the protocols of the training, and daily alerts that perhaps we do not consider, such as the oven timer, clothes dryer alert, doorbells, knocking and so on.  

She also spoke about travel difficulties with an invisible handicap. The dog allows flight attendants and others to recognize the need to communicate properly. 

Chris’ presentation was entitled “Would a Hearing Assistance Dog be Right for Me”.

Since 2014, Chris has been accompanied on her travels by her Hearing Dog, Raylene, a Labrador trained by Dogs for Better Lives, a nonprofit organization previously known as Dogs for the Deaf. With co-author Henry Kisor, Chris has written a unique travel guide to be published in 2019 by the University of Illinois Press titled Journeys with Working Dogs: Navigating Service Animals Across North America.

Her stories were most entertaining as she conveyed a lot of information in our limited time. The Q and A brought out even more facts of the value of a hearing dog.



The meeting opened with Chapter Treasurer Dave Donnelly’s report indicating that HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee’s primary support comes from the Giving Challenge and fees from exhibitors at the annual Expo (coming up October 27).

Chapter president Anne Taylor gave a rundown of upcoming events.

Board member Ed Ogiba explained the new features of the 7th Annual Hearing Tech Expo, including a clinic and children’s (and parents’) events.

Flo Innes, an early Chapter member back when HLAA was SHHH, reported on the HLAA Convention held in Minneapolis this past June.

Flo then spoke about an array of hearing assistive devices including pocket talkers, alarm clocks, doorbells, FM and Bluetooth devices for the TV and many more. She advised that HLAA members get 20% off all purchases through Harris Communications whose catalogue lists literally 100s of devices that can help the hard of hearing get through each day a little better and safer.

https://www.harriscomm.com. [see similar discounts on ten other companies for HLAA members at https://www.hearingloss.org/make-an-impact/become-a-memberrenew/]


The first “Lunch and Learn” was a great success with 40 members and visitors arriving at the new time and many taking advantage of the $5 lunch spread of sandwiches, snacks and cookies.


“Rap Session” is a summer staple of the Sarasota/Manatee Chapter.

There is no guest speaker, just an open session to focus on your individual needs.

Attendance was good this year and sessions were facilitated by Dr. Vicki Moore of The Hearing Spa and Dr. Sharon Rende of the Silverstein Institute.

In July, our facilitators fielded numerous questions regarding criteria of Cochlear Implants. Also, what to tell your audiologist or HAS when you’re having trouble with your instruments, auditory rehab, and hearing in noisy situations.  

They were both gracious to be there with our group on their own time. 

Flo Innes, our September speaker, did a demonstration of an alarm clock that was unintentionally the hit of the meeting as Flo could not get it to work … and then a few minutes after she had given up, the thing went off like a rocket! 

In August, the discussion ran overtime as the attendees shared knowledge and concerns about a variety of topics: selecting an audiologist; the new amplifier hearing aids; movie caption preferences; when to get a hearing aid (if you need to ask, NOW), lip reading classes; hearing aid assistance for the underprivileged; rechargeable hearing aids (may not have telecoil); recycling hearing aids; features of advertised aids and big box aids; relearning to hear apps and much more!


As always, those who had difficulty with hearing even with the hearing loop and microphone in operation did not miss a word thanks to our ever present CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) transcriber, Jack Boenau.
Our program chair, Kathy Combs and Member Valerie Stafford-Mallis (all pictured above) directed the discussion of the 25 members ranging from cochlear issues, new hearing aid technologies and many other topics.

Audiologists, Dr. Karen Draper of The Hearing Spas and Dr. Sharon Rende of the Silverstein Institute kept us informed on the current studies regarding hearing loss as well as the advances in technologies (including Phonak’s “Roger Select”, the old “Roger” on steroids) with not only hearing aids and cochlear implants but assistive devices available to help in daily situations.
Longtime member and advocate Flo Innes promised to report back on a number of assistive devices she will try at the HLAA Convention in Minneapolis.


Hurricane season begins today, June 1!

Following 2017’s historically destructive fall and summer, scientists are now predicting the upcoming 2018 hurricane season will again be above average.

At May’s meeting, Sherilynn Burris, Emergency Management Chief at Manatee County Government, brought us up to date on hurricanes from a meteorological perspective. Most importantly, she explained the Sarasota and Manatee County evacuation maps, and why it is too late to evacuate if you wait for the order.  

Sherilynn gave us the standard preparedness tips and a whole lot more – in particular how to prepare for the electricity going out by using your car to charge your phones or cochlear implant batteries, as well as understanding the effects if your public lift station has no power. 

The great thing about chapter meetings is they do not really end with adjournment. In May, members got together with the speaker and chapter officers to gain more information as the photos below indicate.


Our presenter in April was from the Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI). Fabiola Sannon, FTRI Specialist, told us about the not for profit FTRI, which is funded by a monthly 10-cent tax on every landline phone.

There was an informative question and answer session about phones for the hard of hearing and a demonstration of the ring, lighting, captioning and amplification of a number of phones available FREE by appointment, even in your home.

[Contact is 941-3519545. FTRI is located at 3281 17th St., Sarasota.]