Health Care and Wellness Organization of the Year,
Hearing Loss Association of America, Sarasota/Manatee Chapter!!

The 27th annual Frank G. Berlin Small Business Awards were awarded by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency on Friday, June 2.
The Chapter was announced the winner in the category of Health Care and Wellness with two other finalists, Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center and Dr. Thomas Bowles, DDS.



Four hundred of Sarasota’s business leaders were present for the annual award banquet. The Chapter was well represented with nine Board members in attendance.

Chamber Award Sunset Background 6.1.2017

award july 2017

From left to right–Chapter Board members Shelly Zelizer, Dave Donnelly, Kathy Combs, JoAnne DeVries, Chamber CEO Kevin Cooper, Chapter Board members Maria Anderson, Anne Taylor, Vinell Lacy, Richard Williams and former National Board member Valerie Stafford-Mallis were all present for the award.

A 90 second video was prepared and sent to the 2017 Awards Judges and presented on the big screens to the Chamber Luncheon assemblage.

Anne Taylor narrated the Chapter’s video highlighting the HLAA mission of Information, Support, Education and Advocacy and showing slides from the Chapter’s Expo, Private Eyes Movie Club, Between the Covers Book Club, Private Eyes Movie Club, the Walk4Hearing, After Hours and Chapter Meetings.
awards photos july 2017

Our Professional Partners

The HLAA policy is to not recommend any specific product or any specific ENT, audiologist, or hearing aid dispenser.

Although the Chapter follows this policy, it has identified professionals who endorse our 501 (c) (3)’s mission to help others through information, education, advocacy and support. They are listed on our webpage at

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

Additional information is also available on HLAA’s National website. The site features a searchable hearing health care directory that enables you to look for hearing products and local hearing aid providers.

To access, click on:

professional partner

Last month, HearCare Connection had its “Wine and Stein” fundraiser at the Gold Eagle Distributing facility and celebrated its successful efforts in Zambia where there is one audiologist for 17 million people. The event and auction raised thousands to provide hearing aids and assistance to bring full participation in life to those with hearing loss.

HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee and the Ear Research Foundation will jointly host its annual Comedy Club fundraiser on December 7 at 7:00 PM . The venue is McCurdy’s Comedy Club at 1923 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota.

Ticket price is $15.00 and can be ordered online at


The two not-for-profits are both dedicated to assisting those with hearing loss.  Join us for a special evening that will make you laugh and help make a difference that can be heard!



The Comedy Club will be looped and we will have CART!


It’s time again to seek members for the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Board of Trustees. The term is for 2 years — 2017-2019. The deadline for application is November 7, 2016. Elections will be at the December general meeting per the Bylaws:

Section VIII-B    Any member in good standing may be nominated from the floor at the November Chapter meeting.

Section VIII-C.            Officers and trustees shall be elected by a simple majority vote of the membership at the December Chapter meeting.

The job description and the application are posted on the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee website at

If you have an interest in our Mission, ” to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy”, we want your contribution.    Please contact the Chapter Nominations Committee Chair, Dr. Susan Fulton, at for additional information. Dr. Fulton states: “We are looking for individuals with a love of the association and who are interested in getting involved and making a difference”.

The Bylaws limit members to no more than three consecutive terms.

We have two openings and are anxious to fill those seats – please contact Susan Fulton.


STEP UP for People with Hearing Loss!


The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Walk4Hearing is the largest walk for hearing loss awareness in the country. Every spring and fall thousands of walkers – children and their families, young adults, young at heart, and everyone in between – form teams and walk in their communities to increase public awareness about hearing loss, help eradicate the stigma associated with it and raise funds for programs and services. HLAA depends on generous volunteers to raise funds, generate enthusiasm and awareness at each of the Walk4Hearing sites.
Chapter Trustee Vinell Lacy will lead our team, the “Dream Team”, on November 12. We step off at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville at 9:00 AM.
Dream Team link—

click on one of our Captain’s and then the DONATE link on the screen.

The more walkers we have, the broader our reach will be in raising awareness for hearing loss. Your participation will help make this a successful walk. If you can’t make it, please contribute.

Participating in an event that raises money for HLAA might touch your life in some way. Think about the ways that hearing loss has impacted you and those around you.

The money we raise goes to HLAA, both at the national and local levels, to fund outreach and awareness programs.

Let’s step up to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and make hearing loss an issue of national concern.

Your donation will assist  with local programs and services such as:

·         Captioning and hearing assistive technology at HLAA chapter meetings to make them accessible

·         Scholarships toward HLAA Convention for new members with hearing loss

·         Funding for hearing aids and devices for people who cannot afford them

·         Installation of loop technology in public places, such as community rooms and public libraries

·         Seminars on coping with hearing loss for veterans and  families



Our Chapter been offered a large flat screen TV on which the sound does not work. The picture is excellent HD. If any member relies solely on captions, we will pass it on to you.
Contact HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter at if interested.


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 Instructor will be Betsy Rogers

The classes are FREE thanks to an anonymous grant.

lip reading

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.

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.


Our October Chapter meeting addressed the heavy marketing of hearing aids and raised ethical questions with some “bait and switch” and misleading advertising. Hearing professionals are finding themselves in an evolving industry.  More and more “over the counter” devices are being marketed without the help of a professional.

There are some ethical questions that raise challenges to professionals.  Dr. Michael Mertz, PhD, addressed those challenges in an editorial for “Hearing Journal” last month. He summarized by stating:

“Both audiologists and dispensers should be preparing for the coming changes. If you look closely at the directions of audiology and the innovations of technology, you can make your own observations and draw your own decisions. But, only short-term, “simple professionals” will likely come to conclusions that support the status quo—and even then, only in the near term. Technology is changing the world in which dispensing strives to be professional; definitions and behaviors have changed professional status. Audiologists may end up wishing they had separated and cultivated true professional services and made profits in a strictly specialized manner.

Operating a legitimate, profitable health care business requires more than a cute name, a nicely decorated office, a short- and/or long-term advertising plan, and a computer programmed for patient callback. These are issues for professional sellers. While there is nothing wrong with honest retailers, there will be an inherent conflict with the “professional” definitions and public perceptions.

No health care provider should be a professional salesperson. Health care decisions should be made on the basis of science and data. Audiology providers should remember that the sales power of a white lab coat is too often abused, especially when data-shy recommendations are mixed with selling up. Use science and data to help patients make decisions in their best interest, not in the interest of profit”.

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.

The Hearing Industries Association (HIA), the national trade association of hearing aids and other associated products, emphasized the apparent risks associated with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solutions, like PSAPs. ..Citing survey data from their members outlining the risks associated with purchasing PSAPs without first seeing a hearing professional to rule out a medical complication, the International Hearing Society (IHS) offered similar opposition to the PCAST recommendation of the creation of a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, and support for the adoption of the 2013 PSAP Draft Guidance…. Similarly, Amplifon Americas, with hundreds of Miracle Ear and Elite Hearing Network locations around the U.S. issued a 70 page tome opposing any changes to the 1977 FDA regulations.

On the other end of the spectrum, advocacy groups such as AARP and HLAA focused on affordability and accessibility issues in their public comments.

Stating that the 2013 Draft Guidance is a barrier for innovative hearing technologies coming to market, in their public comments, AARP urged the FDA to withdraw their PSAP guidelines because they create unnecessary limits to consumer access.

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) echoed similar sentiments in their public comments, stating they supported the PCASTs recommendation of creating a new category of “basic” over-the-counter hearing aids.

Consistent with consumer advocacy groups, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) offered strong support for the PCAST recommendations.

Perhaps the most eye-opening public comments came from consumer audio giant, Bose. Using dozens of citations from the hearing science and audiology literature, Bose built a case for the safe and effective use of over-the-counter hearing aids for a wide variety of hearing losses – beyond “basic” hearing aids for mild to moderate age-related hearing loss.

The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology also weighed in on the issue. In their comments, AAA asked that in order to avert consumer confusion “there remain only two classes of amplification devices: hearing aids and personal sound amplification systems.”

In contrast, ADA expressed concerns over the FDAs “intended use” doctrine, which is part of their 2013 Draft Guidance and backed a change to regulating devices around their “actual use”. In their public comment, ADA offered qualified support for the creation of a new category of direct-to-consumer hearing aids.

Bridging the Divide?

In summary, opinions typically coalesced around two camps: Those that believe the harms associated with direct-to-consumer devices outweigh affordability and access issues, thus the status quo should remain relatively unchanged. The second camp, alternatively, tends to believe affordability and access trump any potential harm caused to those choosing not to see a professional prior to purchasing traditional hearing aids.

Stay tuned”.

This month, we are sending our professional partners back to the classroom and ask them to listen to our concerns. Gael Hannan (featured in “Between the Covers book club) wrote this tutorial, The World’s Shortest Audiology Class” a year ago to communicate from our side of the hearing booth:

“Hearing care professionals believe they know what people need in order to hear better. After all, they’ve gone to school to learn this

People with hearing loss (PWHL) know they want to hear better, but believe they don’t always get what they need from the professionals. And after all, they’re the ones struggling to hear.
Is the process too complicated, too divisive? Maybe the professional and the PWHL should hold hands for a little while when they come together and see where that takes them.

In Robert Fulghum’s iconic book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, he drills down centuries of philosophy on achieving life happiness and success into credos such as play fair, clean up your own mess, and take naps. Reading them, you realize that simple statements can provide answers to the big questions, especially when they are presented together, in the Big Picture. ‘Yeah, problems really do get solved when we hold hands and stick together!’

Of course, it helps if you know what you’re talking about which, in our case, is hearing health care delivered by audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. I’ve been receiving these services for a lifetime; after 40 years of hearing aids and 20 years of advocacy, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s what. (I think.)
When I give presentations to university and college students who are training to be hearing care professionals, I’m there as a real, live PWHL. I stand in front of motivated, intelligent people looking forward to a satisfying career that will help people and pay the bills. They have learned their profession’s scope of practice and intend to honor it. So, in my various presentations, I use humor and drama, Power Points, promises and thinly veiled threats to help them get under the skin of the real people they will be serving. Will my words and their professors teachings stick with them when, as new professionals, they feel the shock of reality with fee schedules that don’t include the necessary client counseling, and the corporate pressure to sell?
Perhaps the course needs to drill down, be more elemental? Voila! The World’s Shortest Audiology Course.

Close your computers please and look at me while we talk. Your clients will need the same courtesy. I’ll follow up with a print or electronic version; you should do the same for your clients after every appointment.

Paint the Big Picture. The journey to communication success is a partnership and both professionals and PWHLs have roles. Explain yours and explain your vision of theirs. Ask if they have a different vision. Come to an agreement. Write it down, spit in your hands, and shake.

Learn all the technical stuff about Audiology and Technology and then articulate the important bits to your clients. Don’t dumb it down or Einstein it. Keep it real.

Communicate better. Even if people say you already speak well, learn what your clients need and then deliver. Face them when you speak. Always. No exceptions. Speak clearly, maybe a bit louder, don’t over-emphasize. The message in your eyes is as important as the words on your lips. Practice in front of a mirror and with a PWHL. Ask for feedback from professors and friends. Am I loud enough (but not too loud)? Do I speak clearly?

Don’t assume. Ask questions. It’s easy to believe, by virtue of your diploma, that you’re the expert on what your client should want. How can you be? You’re not them. Ask what’s important in their life. How has hearing loss affected them? What would they like to see changed? Can they afford standard hearing aids?

Be a scientist and never lose your curiosity. Explore alternatives. Be patient.

Walk in your clients’ shoes. Learn what they must learn—the other communication strategies that complement technology. Become artificially hard of hearing for a day or two to understand the challenges in understanding speech, hearing your baby cry or coping in noise and groups. Use closed captioning for a month. Take a speechreading course. Use the peerless peer support of consumer groups such as HLAA and CHHA. Wear an amplification device for an explosive revelation at what your clients really endure as they get used to new hearing aids.

Loop your office. The whole thing. The front reception desk and the client interview/fitting rooms—but not the sound booth. Then—use a transmitter to connect with your client. Of course, to do that, you will need to put telecoils in your clients’ hearing aids. Explain why they need them and how the system works. Bluetooth is wonderful: it connects clients to their phones, TV and other devices. Telecoils and looping connect them to YOU.

Compliment your clients on their achievements, however small, and encourage them through the setbacks. Smile and make them want to smile back.
You may ask, in fairness, “If you want us to walk a mile in your shoes, how about lacing up our runners for an hour or so?” I would, except that science is my weak link; my explanation for how hearing aids work: you put a battery in it. But you have chosen to be hearing healthcare professionals; while I did not choose to have hearing loss, I have chosen you to help me. And, to even things up, here’s the World’s Shortest Course on Living Well with Hearing Loss:
Admit it. Get help. Use technology and other strategies. Tell people what you need. Communicate. Repeat as necessary”.

Our Professional Partners continue to give back to the community.

Dr. Mary Thorpe and her staff at Hear Care Audiology Center hosted a “Wine & Stein Fundraiser” on Thursday, April 21.

may professional partners

Dr. Thorpe

The event was held at the beautiful Gold Coast Eagle Distribution facility in Lakewood Ranch and was a fun filled evening. There were appetizers and Silent Auction Items along with Gold Eagle’s beverages. 

Dr. Thorpe has formed a local 501-(c)-(3) not for profit organization, “Hear Care Connection”, to create a nonprofit hearing clinic in Sarasota County. The purpose of the fundraiser was to help launch a reduced-fee, sliding-scale nonprofit hearing clinic in Sarasota County.  

HearCare Connection has served nationally for over four years reaching more than 500 people with the Gift of Hearing. Over 220 generous community members attended to help “build the self worth of individuals by restoring their hearing potential and providing them with opportunities to engage with their communities through service to others””.

prof partner may


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.

remote conference

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.


Our CART Provider’s Radio Show with Realtime Captioning

“Tess Talk!” – a live radio show – will make its debut on Saturday April 2, 2016 on WTIS-AM 1110 at 11 AM. Tess Crowder covers our Chapter Meeting CART captioning when Jack and Dee Boenau have schedule conflicts. She is a past President of HLAA-Florida State Association.

You can listen to the program on the radio, AM 1110, or through the internet,
or read the live realtime captioning at www.streamtext,net/text.aspx?event=TessTalk

Each show will feature inspirational and uplifting stories which will warm your heart, motivate you, and inspire you to reach your full potential in your personal and professional life. She will also interview guests who are doing great things in our community and all around the nation. Each week she will feature a non-profit, charitable organization to help spread awareness in our community about their programs and services and create support for their cause.
Florida Statutes — Chapter 484 Section 0501

484.0501Minimal procedures and equipment.—

(5)(a) A hearing aid office must have available, or have access to, a selection of hearing aid models, hearing aid supplies, and services complete enough to accommodate the various needs of the hearing aid wearers.
(b) At the time of the initial examination for fitting and sale of a hearing aid, the attending hearing aid specialist must notify the prospective purchaser or client of the benefits of telecoil, “t” coil, or “t” switch technology, including increased access to telephones and noninvasive access to assistive listening systems required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

History.—ss. 11, 18, ch. 83-153; ss. 1, 7, ch. 84-94; s. 1, ch. 85-262; ss. 11, 19, 20, ch. 86-283; s. 22, ch. 90-341; s. 11, ch. 90-345; s. 4, ch. 91-429; ss. 250, 335, ch. 94-119; s. 8, ch. 94-160.


Hearing loss is still a neglected issue, even though the figures speak volumes: more than 15% of the adult population is affected by hearing loss, and around half of these cases could have been avoided by taking preventive measures. Some 665,000 children with significant hearing loss are born every year.

One of the biggest challenges is that 80 percent of people with hearing loss live in low- to middle-income countries and often do not have any access to audiological or medical care. In low-income countries, for example, only one in 40 people with hearing loss wears a hearing aid. This has serious consequences: children with untreated hearing loss, particularly those living in these regions, have hardly any future prospects. After all, children who cannot hear very well have difficulty learning to speak, which reduces their chances of receiving an education and developing at an appropriate rate for their age. Hearing aids as well as audiological and medical care would remedy this. However, access to these remains beyond the grasp of most families.

Sonova, the leading manufacturer of hearing solutions, founded the non-profit Hear the World Foundation against this background in 2006. The foundation advocates for equal opportunities and improved quality of life for people with hearing loss around the world. The foundation’s aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance of good hearing.

The vision of the Hear the World Foundation is a world in which:
The Hear the World Foundation actively supports and promotes projects that provide help for people with hearing loss to enable them to enjoy a better quality of life. The foundation also draws attention and raises awareness of the issue of hearing loss by carrying out studies and campaigns. Support is provided via financial resources, the provision of hearing systems or the deployment of one of the foundation’s own teams. Sonova bears all of the foundation’s administration costs to ensure that 100 percent of all donations go directly to the projects.


I listened carefully, conducted a new hearing test, and ran real-ear measurements to see how much amplification she was experiencing. After I did that, I could hardly control my excitement! Jessica’s lifestyle and the degree of her hearing loss were perfect for a miracle! Looking at her hearing aid fitting and knowing the capacity of new hearing aids, I could see many ways to improve her hearing dramatically. With a little luck and a lot of work, we could make this miracle happen.

Let’s examine this patient’s numerous hearing needs, one by one, and then present solutions to address each of them.
• Hearing distant voices: As a teacher, Jessica needs to hear students speaking from the back row of the classroom. That requires markedly increasing the bandwidth in program #1, as discussed in Judy’s story.
• Noise reduction so she can converse in the cafeteria: Employ narrow-zone hearing, using a microphone array set to the minimum field in program 2 or 3. Occluding ear molds act as noise plugs. This was discussed in Kim’s story.
• Singing in the choir: Create a special music program with a smooth response. Use minimum automatic gain control (AGC) settings, and de-activate most automatic features. Details are discussed below.
• Listening to music from her IPad: Connect her streamer to her IPad by wire. Create a music program.
• Using a cellphone: Connect Bluetooth to her streamer, with the microphones de-activated. Discussed in David’s story.
• Watching television: Increase bandwidth. Discussed in Judy’s story.
• Tolerating the barking of her brother’s dogs: Use the noise-reduction program, and set the AGC carefully. Discussed below.

If you have read the previous installments in this series, you know how most of the miracles that Jessica needs can be provided. Earlier posts discussed bandwidth, noise reduction, and cell phone use. But we have not talked about listening to music through hearing aids, so let’s do that now.

Most high-tech features in hearing aids are designed either to help patients understand speech or to keep them comfortable when they are using amplification. When used appropriately, these features are wonderful. However, they are worse than useless in a hearing aid music program. If you leave these features on, they will distort the music.
Programming hearing aids is not a job for an amateur, nor can it be done effectively automatically using “first fit” software. The professional adjusting the hearing aids has to know what he or she is doing.

Our last task was solving the “barking dog” problem. For this, Jessica uses her hearing aids’ noise-reduction program to reduce environmental sounds. In addition, I took great care in selecting the AGC settings (thresholds and compression ratios) to ensure that the loud barking would no longer be intolerable for her.

Bingo! Jessica, our teacher, is now able to hear in places that, until recently, were impossible for her: in the cafeteria, in her choir, and from the back of her classroom. This fitting took many office visits and a lot of work. We succeeded, thanks to fantastic hearing aids that, when properly fitted, can work miracles.”



Leanne Browning, our 2014 intern reports she has been “crazy busy”. She is an FSU graduate and attending James Madison University in Virginia for her Au. D.
She met her first patient in September and has her “white coat” ceremony soon. The ceremony marks the student’s transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health sciences. Leanne expects to receive a 6 week placement next year outside of the university and may be placed in the Sarasota/Tampa area. We are keeping our fingers crossed! She keeps up with HLAA and the Chapter through Facebook

Renee Eicher, our 2015 intern has been studying for the Graduate Records Exam to begin the graduate school application process to attain her Au. D. degree. She will be applying to the University of Florida and the University of South Florida by the end of this year for Fall admittance. Renee is still is helping the Chapter getting the last of the Publix packets delivered and hopes to do some follow-up with the managers shortly after that.

HLAA Convention Recap

cover photo








Another super HLAA Convention with more than over 900 attendees with hearing loss. There were over thirty sessions with demos, symposiums, and four concurrent seminars every two hours for four days.

All 5 or 6 simultaneous events had CART captioning and all rooms, including the main ballroom, were looped.

There will be more coverage of the Convention in this and future Listen Ups as well as presentations at the September Chapter meeting.
The venue was the nation’s largest and busiest railway station built in 1884, the St. Louis Union Station. A 150 million dollar makeover and another 50 million dollars to come make this an outstanding convention site and left all attendees with a good feeling about St. Louis. Some pictures of our Chapter attendees enjoying the Conference follow:

cover photo 2













cover photo 3

cover photo 4

cover photo 5 game


It is time again to seek members for the HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Board of Trustees. The term is for 2 years– 2016-2017. The deadline is Oct 16, 2015. Elections will be at the December general meeting. The job description and the application are posted on the HLAA-Sarasota website under the bullet points on the right hand side:

Please contact the Chapter Nominations Committee Chair, Dr. Susan Fulton at: for additional information if needed. Dr. Fulton states that: “We are looking for individuals with a love of the association and who are interested in getting involved and making a difference”.

board app photo

Chapter’s Happy Hour Event

From time to time, the Chapter announces a “Happy Hour” in Listen Up and the Facebook page. On Friday, June 19, over 25 folks stopped by to “get happy”. Classico Sarasota at Palm and Main was the venue. Lots of conversation and fun—not sure everyone heard it all — but that didn’t matter — all understood the “good time” part.

june happy hour

State Board-HLAA-FL

Our Chapter hosted the HLAA-FL Quarterly Meeting. The HLAA-Florida State Association met on May 30 at the Village Walk in Palmer Ranch. The Chapter hosted a social hour following the meeting.

quarterly meeting photo

The State Board updated the Bylaws, adopted a Strategic Plan, and addressed the website, fundraising, recruitment of Board members and other business. The Board agreed that the day was productive and celebrated with Chapter member and hostess, Flo Innes.

Chapter Board-HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter

The HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter’s Board met on June 9 to cover many agenda items. They included updates on the Publix initiative, the Giving Challenge and the Convention. Discussions and reports included the Governance Committee which is working to restructure the nominating process and committee responsibilities. Fundraising and membership efforts were discussed. Amendments to Bylaws to permit electronic voting and provide for a student Board member were approved. Program services and outreach programs were addressed as well as preparation of a member survey. Planning for the 2014 Expo was also covered. The Chapter’s Board is all volunteer and has a full plate as always.

board photo

The Chapter “Office”

HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter has officially moved in to its spacious “closet”. The price is right thanks to the donation of the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) for Manatee and Sarasota Counties is located at 1750 17th Street in Sarasota. They had a small office that was not in full use and an agreement was reached for HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter to use this space—for free!

CCDHH, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. CCDHH offers services and programs for deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, deaf blind, speech impaired, and hearing individuals making communication possible for all in our community. CCDHH serves the residents of Manatee and Sarasota Counties with the main office located in Sarasota and a branch office in Venice.

chapter office








The Chapter has a need for a bookcase that would fit into the space above–let us know at



Our new Chapter intern is Renee Eicher.

Renee, a Bradenton resident, is completing a second bachelor’s degree. She was introduced to the profession of audiology in the midst of obtaining her first bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. She registered for an American Sign Language course as an elective and was instantly engrossed by the language. She now has a major at the University of South Florida in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

new intern







Dave Donnelly and Renee Eichler reaching out to our Veterans

She observed two audiologists at Silverstein Institute and the observations solidified her excitement for the profession.

Her work with the Chapter will be a great asset for Sarasota and Manatee County residents with hearing loss and will help her to further understand the daily inconveniences we members deal with daily.


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (“BHSM”). BHSM encourages parents and grandparents to identify possible speech and language problems in their children which can affect a child’s learning and self esteem. BHSM educates people about the signs of hearing loss.

Signs of Hearing Loss Include:

• Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
• Turning an ear in the direction of sound in order to hear it better.
• Understanding conversation better when you look directly at the person. Seeing their facial expression and lips movements can help a someone understand another better is there is a hearing problem.
• Being unable to hear all parts of a group conversation.
• Experiencing pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
• Listening to the TV or radio at volume levels higher than other people normally listen to.

If any of these signs are displayed, a person can take action by visiting an audiologist for a hearing test. An audiologist is a health professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating people with hearing problems.
In most cases hearing loss is treatable. Audiologists can teach their clients to concentrate on listening to certain sounds. Hearing loss can often be overcome using either hearing aids or other assistive learning devices.
For more information visit the BHSM Website at

New Chapter “Office”

The Chapter has grown and outreach efforts have brought about boxes and boxes of materials to store and for our many volunteers to use at events. The business of the all volunteer HLAA chapter has taken on daily responsibilities. The Board has recognized that storing boxes and materials in homes is not viable and that a business environment is necessary to conduct business as well.
office pic 1





The Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) for Manatee and Sarasota Counties is located at 1750 17th Street in Sarasota. They had a small office that was not in full use and an agreement was reached for HLAA-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter to use this space—for free!

CCDHH, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. CCDHH offers services and programs for deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, deaf blind, speech impaired, and hearing individuals making communication possible for all in our community. CCDHH serves the residents of Manatee and Sarasota Counties with the main office located in Sarasota and a branch office in Venice.
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By the way, if you have a bookcase that would fit into this space, let us know.

The Chapter thanks CCDHH and the foundations that support them at the 17th Street facility.

2014 Chapter Intern Moving On to Grad School

Leanne Browning, our intern over the summer in 2014, has graduated from Florida State University and has officially committed to graduate school at James Madison University in Virginia.

She wrote the Chapter in March and said: “In the Fall I will be going to James Madison University in Virginia! I hope to still be involved with HLAA in Harrisonburg, although it’s such a small town there may not be a chapter-yet. We will have to find a way for me to stay in touch with you and the Sarasota chapter and keep informed”!






Chapter Board of Trustees Initiates Strategic planning

The Chapter’s Board met for a strategic planning retreat on January 15 and The Board is working to carry out HLAA’s mission with more formalized governance, active committees and best practices of not for profit boards.

These beginnings were further discussed at the quarterly Board meeting on March 10. Your Board’s committees are Governance, Fundraising, Membership, Program Services (outreach, public awareness). Non board members are welcome to serve and assist the committees in carrying out our mission of advocacy, education and support.

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Jan 2015 CELEBRATE HLAA 35th ANNIVERSARY JAN 2015-page-001

Join fellow HLAA members from Florida for a fun pre-holiday break and a fundraiser for advocacy, education and support of the hearing loss community.

Florida’s HLAA Chapters have met the minimum requirements for a free cruise and are offering that FREE CRUISE to any member or friend who wishes to donate to any Florida HLAA Chapter between now and August 1.  A $10 donation is suggested.

See Anne Taylor of JoAnne DeVries at the next Chapter or After Hours meting for your ticket.

Whether you win or not, you can still join fellow HLAA members from Florida for a fun pre-holiday break and a fundraiser for advocacy, education and support of the hearing loss community.

You can book with the group with $250 per person deposit is anytime until August 1st at which time  full payment is due.

Some cabins may be unavailable so best to at least put deposit to hold a cabin of choice. The flyer with moire information is a click away.


The Chapter has 50 tickets for only $6 each for February 11. These tickets are for members only, but hey, for a $35 membership, you’re in!

The show is “Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra”

A few tickets are left and we will have a waiting list–but no guarantee. Reserve at .

Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra!  unnamed-6

Celebrating and fortifying the American Jazz portfolio, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra are leaders of the modern New Orleans Jazz movement. Founder and Artistic Director, Irvin Mayfield is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning trumpeter whose enthusiastic band leadership embodies his dedication to jazz music and lights the way for the future of the foundational genre.

If you use the box office in person, thank them for the loop!


MAGICAL MOMENTS       unnamed-3

The Chapter’s Private Eyes Movie Club got an extra treat on Tuesday night, January 20, when they dined next to the Sarasota Magicians Association. Everyone passed on dessert, so five of the magicians stepped in to entertain the group with some of their favorite tricks and several of the Private Eyers left completely amazed. Their group meets at Appleby’s every Tuesday night so future Movie Club outings may have the same opportunity.

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. Some have found that CaptiView for some reason has more consistent delivery of the dialogue.



The Chapter bylaws call for an election in December of each year to elect members to the Board of Trustees. The terms are for two years with half of the seats up for election each year.

On December 10, the Chapter elected four new Board members. They are:
Kathy Combs, Mark Selis, Vinell Lacy, and Maria Anderson.

Returning board members re-elected to another 2 year term are Joan Haber, Valerie Stafford-Mallis, Lyndsey Nalu and Susan Fulton.

Congratulations to all!