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. Our peer mentor will be fielding questions ably assisted by YOU in comparing experiences covering all facets of coping with hearing loss.

june 2017 rap session

North Sarasota Library Meeting Room

2801 Newtown Blvd. Sarasota


CHAPTER MEETING—May 10th 2017 1:30 PM

valerie may meeting

That trip to the hospital can sometimes be more immediate than you had planned. Folks with hearing loss must be prepared to advocate for themselves and preparation can help.

[Note–See Anne Taylor’s recent experience with hearing loss issues in a hospital setting in this month’s column below]

May’s Chapter Meeting presentation–“What People with Hearing Loss Need to Know About Doctors and Hospitals” will give Chapter members and guests information about their rights and responsibilities for effective communication during healthcare encounters; how to use available tools to help support effective communication at each step of the way; and what to do when the inevitable snafus occur.

Our presenter, Valerie Stafford-Mallis, has been a member of the Sarasota/Manatee Chapter of HLAA since 2012. She is late-deafened and uses bi-lateral cochlear implants to access sound. Valerie has worked as the Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s training and outreach person, Business Development Manager for Alternative Communication Services (ACS Captions), and Director of Chapter Development for the Hearing Loss Association of America.  

She has professional experience in healthcare, education, governmental agencies, for-profit businesses, and civic engagement. Valerie has served on the national HLAA Board of Trustees and the HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter’s Board of Trustees. Recently retired, Valerie lives in Lakewood Ranch with her husband Sam and their rescue kitties.


CHAPTER MEETING—April 12th 2017 1:30 PM

debi moser

Debi Moser, OEI Outreach Representative for CapTel, will be making a presentation titled “CapTel Phone Demonstration” and updating us on technical improvements in caption phones.

Debi, a long-time resident of the Sarasota area, is a graduate of Venice High School and attended Manatee Community College. Debi joined OEI in 2016 wanting to help people with hearing loss. She said, “When I am doing an install for a new CapTel user and we make that initial test call, it is so amazing to see and hear the expressions of pure joy as they realize their quality of life has suddenly and dramatically improved!”



Lynn Rousseau was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss at a very young age. After college and marriage, she moved to Gainesville and joined SHHH, HLAA’s prior name.

lynn rouseeau

Wanting others to feel just as capable with hearing loss as “normal hearing individuals”, she became a member of the SHHH Florida Board. Lynn then became Florida State Chapter Coordinator, traveling all over Florida to meet and start chapters.

Through her HLAA work, Lynn was invited to become a member of the Continental/United Airlines Travel Advisory Board. Then came an invite to join the brand new Royal Caribbean “Guests with Disabilities Advisory Cruise Board”. She also taught employees of Amtrak how to recognize and assist people with disabilities. Lynn is Past President of The Hearing Loss Association of America – Florida State Association and founder/current president of the Gainesville Chapter. 

Lynn’s desire is to make travel easier, safer and more enjoyable for those of us who cope with hearing loss. 

The title of Lynn’s presentation is “Traveler’s Rights”.


Dr. Kyle Allen, MD, MPH, an Otologist, Neurotologist, and Skull Based Surgeon with the Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center in Tampa, was rated as the #1 speaker at last year’s Healthy Hearing Expo.

feb meeting 2017

His presentation at our upcoming February meeting is entitled “What is New in Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Technology”. Following the presentation, Dr. Allen will entertain questions on technology, balance, tinnitus and any other concerns you have.

Chapter meetings are open to the community and people with hearing loss, their family members and supporting friends.

North Sarasota Library Meeting Room

2801 Newtown Blvd. Sarasota



Our speaker will be Karalee Needelman, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT.
The topic is “Aural Rehabilitation”.


Karalee is a cochlear implant consumer specialist with Advanced Bionics. She has provided cochlear implant education and auditory-based therapy to children and adults with hearing loss in school and clinical settings. She received her B.A. degree in Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University and her M.S. in Speech Language Pathology from Gallaudet University.


North Sarasota Library Meeting Room

2801 Newtown Blvd. Sarasota




Join us for our annual HLAA Chapter Holiday Party!

Connie Bulawaka and Julie Dadekian have prepared popular holiday songs for our entertainment.

Lots of food and song — see you there?




[NOTE OF VENUE CHANGE – – Due to the election board use of the Newtown Library, we will meet at the Jacaranda Public Library Meeting Room, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice]

Kris Adams, ENP, will be our speaker. The topic is “Text-2-911”.


Kris Adams, ENP has worked with the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office in the Emergency Operations Bureau (911 Dispatch Center) for 18 ½ years.

She is currently the Operations Manager in charge of the Professional Development section (911 Training). She manages, supervises and coordinates new recruit training, cross training, continuing education, public education and quality assurance for the 911 center.

The designation ENP means “Emergency Number Professional”.

Kris will update us on all things 911 and how to use the technology we have in emergencies.




The Chapter meeting will include presentations from members who attended the 2016 HLAA Convention in Washington. The latest information on the PCAST report, FCC captioning, loop initiatives, the state of the art technologies, advocacy strategies, assistive technology communication successes and more will be discussed.


sept meeting upcoming

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

cart info


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.

july august meeting

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

meeting 2


 Beth Reckord will be presenting “It Takes Two to Tango! Or does it when it comes to Listening?”

may upcomingmeeting

Beth (Catherine) Reckord is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS), Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. She has over twenty-five years’ experience working with children and adults with special needs. Currently, she works part-time at Silverstein Institute with adults with hearing loss (primarily those who have received cochlear implants) and full-time with children with hearing loss and other disabilities and their families at All Children’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Sarasota.

Beth holds a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Pennsylvania State University. She is certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a member of both the A G Bell Association for the Deaf and HLAA.


                                                Wednesday, May 11 at 1:30                                         

meeting 2

april chapter meeting

March 10th 2015 CHAPTER MEETING

Katie Figueroa of Cochlear Americas will present the topic, “The Cochlear Implant and Baha Experience”

Katie received her Bachelor of Science in Communications Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She also holds a Hearing Aid Specialist License in the State of Florida. She works throughout South Florida raising awareness of implantable hearing solutions. In her free time, she enjoys being home with her husband, 4 year old son and infant daughter.

upcoming 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 of the 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.

feb meeting pic

meeting 2


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

 venice meeting

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



Our speaker for Jan 13, 2016 is Dr. Jack Wazen.

Dr. Wazen’s topic for January is going to be “What’s new in Implantable Hearing Devices”. An open-ended session he likes to call “Ask the Doc” will follow.

If you attended the November “After Hours”, you know you could probably apply for med school credits after listening to Dr. Wazen. “Ask the Doc” is a valuable opportunity to address any concern you have with your hearing issue.

jack wazen

Dr. Jack Wazen is an ENT-otolaryngologist formerly in New York and now in Sarasota, Florida. He also is on the Board of Directors of HLAA in Bethesda, Md.

Recognized repeatedly as one of New York’s and America’s “Best Doctors,” Dr. Wazen is one of the nation’s leading authorities on hearing and balance disorders. He has pioneered new research that expanded treatments for people with single-sided deafness and complex cases of hearing loss. He also is author of the seminal book, “Dizzy”, providing new treatment options and hope for people affected by balance and hearing disorders.


The annual Chapter Holiday Party will be most entertaining this year!

Each December, the Chapter emphasizes the “support” part of its mission and puts on some holiday entertainment to kick off the holiday season.

This year will be magical. In addition to a great spread of holiday treats, announcements and updates, we will be entertained by the “Parlor Magic Show”. No disappearing elephants or ladies cut in half, just some amazing prestidigitation and lots of fun.

decmeber meeting

demeber cart photo


november meeting

NOTE—Due to North Sarasota Library closing for Veteran’s Day, the November Chapter meeting will be held at the CCDHH Building at 628 Cypress Avenue [block south of Business 41&Venice Ave] in Venice on Tuesday, November 17 at 3:00 pm

Our Chapter meeting in Venice is entitled “Causes of Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Benefits”

Julia Nagel of the Silverstein Institute will be presenting. Julia graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Science in 1994. She joined the Silverstein Institute in 1999 as an Audiology Technician, with primary responsibilities of performing diagnostic evaluations of the auditory and vestibular systems.

nocember meeting map

Our speaker’s topic is “Ototoxic Effects of OTC and Prescription Drugs”

Ototoxicity remains a clinical concern due to its reported association with many medications. Symptom severity is varied among patients, but in severe cases can result in permanent hearing impairment. Dr. Ryan Wargo will review the possible signs, symptoms, outcomes and issues related to ototoxicity. Focus will be primarily on common OTC and prescription drugs that are known to be associated with this complication. While ototoxicity can be a detrimental adverse effect, its impact can be minimized by following simple precautionary standards and these will be reviewed as well.

After completion of this presentation, Chapter members and guests will be able to complete the following objectives:

1. List common medications known to cause ototoxicity
2. Recognize possible signs, symptoms and issues related to ototoxicity
3. Identify key precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of ototoxicity

Dr. Wargo assures us there will not be a quiz but questions will be entertained.

ryan wargo upcoming meeting

upcoming meeting


On August 12, the Chapter will conduct the last of its summer 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.

The venue is the same as the chapter meetings, the North Sarasota Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd.
Our peer mentors lead the discussions and our professional partners sit in as time permits.


The September meeting will be held on September 9.
The venue is the same looped facility as the 2015/2016 Chapter year kicks off– the North Sarasota Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd—between Route 301 and Tuttle Avenue.

This meeting will include presentations from members who attended the 2015 HLAA Convention in St. Louis. The latest information on the Consumer Technology Initiative, hearing aids and cochlear implants, employment successes for people with hearing loss, advocacy strategies, assistive technology communication successes and more will be discussed.

july meetin date