March 2023

The Sarasota/Manatee Chapter is back up and running!.

Our priority during COVID was to protect the health of our members by limiting our face-to-face activities and meetings. Everything shifted to the virtual platforms.  While it was not ideal it did allow the chapter to continue delivering its mission to open the world of communication by way of information, education, support, and advocacy to people with hearing loss.

We held our first face-to-face meeting in April of 2022, thanks to the tireless efforts of a group of Chapter Revitalization Committee members, led by Jill Simons.  During the Fall of 2022, the chapter members nominated a slate of Board and officer candidates and elected them unanimously, in accordance with its Bylaws, at the December chapter meeting.

Your Sarasota/Manatee Chapter Board of Trustees and Officers:

Valerie Stafford-Mallis – President and Board of Trustees Member

Chris Goodier – Vice President and Board of Trustees Member

Marie Anderson – Secretary and Board of Trustees Member

John Wagner – Treasurer and Board of Trustees Member

Anne Taylor – Immediate Past President and Board of Trustees Member

JoAnne DeVires – Board of Trustees Member

Lisa Talcott – Board of Trustees Member

Alsison Gerardi – Board of Trustees Member

The newly Revitalized Board held its first Quarterly Meeting in January. At that meeting the Board finalized the Chapter’s 2023 Operating Budget and set operational goals & priorities for 2023. As you might imaging after having been inactive for over two years because of COVID, there have been many administrative and organizational matters to attend to.  Howeve, great progress has been made on these matters and the chapter is delivering ever-increasing information, education, support, and advocacy for people with hearing loss.

As the Sarasota/Manatee Chapter’s duly elected servant-leader, it is my honor to address you in this space.  I would like to say that we are an all-volunteer organization and we have no paid staff.  That means everything that we do is possible only because of generous volunteers and donors. No gift or skill or talent is too small. Won’t you please drop me a line today and let us know how you can help the might Sarasota/Manatee Chapter become strong once again?. 


Valerie Stafford-Mallis, President

[email protected]

Together, We Make It Happen!!!

July – August 2020

We are facing challenging times.

Our priority during these challenging times is to protect the health of our members by limiting our face-to-face meetings.

We are all disappointed not to be able to see and support each other at our events and meetings. We will monitor the COVID-19 situation on a regular basis.

When it is deemed safe to meet with fewer restrictions, we may feel comfortable enough to attend the smaller group events, such as the Private Eyes Movie Club.

In the meantime, please take advantage of the captioned seminars and meetings via Zoom over the next few months. 

Take care of yourselves. Stay well and safe.

We’ll meet again when all this is over.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President

May – June 2020

None of us ever imagined we would be in the middle of a terrible pandemic.

We were spoiled. We did what we wanted and when we wanted.

Now, we face the challenge of staying home and safe distancing. We can and must do this in order to protect the workers who are leaving their families to protect ours.

A big THANK YOU to all those working on the front lines during this crisis.

And thank you for staying home and doing your part.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President

March – April 2020

The Hearing Tech Expo & Clinic 2020 was a huge success!

More than three hundred people walked through the doors of Manatee Technical College looking for help for their hearing loss.

Thanks to the many volunteers, exhibitors, hearing screeners, audiologist, and doctors and experts who shared their expertise at the workshops.

The workshops were supported by Communication Assisted Real Time Translation (CART) to ensure no one missed a word. Thanks to our CART providers who worked around the clock all day long.

Thanks to the donors of cookies and coffee.

Thanks to the folks who came to support the Expo.

So many people to thank.

True teamwork made this event successful. 

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President
Hearing Loss Association of America – Sarasota/Manatee
Website –
Facebook –


January – February 2020

In 2019, the Hearing Loss Association of America/Sarasota/Manatee Chapter followed its mission to open the world of communication to many local people with hearing loss through education, information, support and advocacy. 

Expert speakers provided information about cochlear implants, hearing aids, assistive listening devices, hearing loops, telecoils, free captioned telephones, captioning, communication tips, new apps on the phone and hearing dogs.  

RAP sessions during the summer months gave members the opportunity to share success stories, frustrations and to seek answers to questions – all the while supporting each other. 

Members learned ways to advocate for themselves and look for the many opportunities to understand church services, theater performances and movies in the community. 

Our CART providers made sure no one missed a word. Many thanks to Jack Boneau and Richard Scire. 

In 2020, the HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter will continue to follow its mission to reach out to people with hearing loss by informing them that they do not need to face hearing loss alone.

November – December 2019

The holidays are here! The stores sparkle with lights. The streets are crowded with party goers, shoppers and more than usual traffic. It’s louder!

Even though the holidays are exciting and special, they can be challenging for those of us with hearing loss. Parties and family gatherings are particularly challenging, with many people talking at the same time, and often music in the background. We cannot control our hearing loss, so we focus on what we can do.

Don’t hide your hearing loss. Wear your hearing aids.

Carry spare batteries. Use your assistive listening devices.

Ask people to face you. Politely ask if the music can be turned down.

Try not to bluff. Sit with the light to your back.

Pay close attention to the speaker. Look for visual clues.

If things become uncomfortable, find someone to talk to in a quieter place.

Accept that you will not hear everything. Ask the person next to you to explain what you missed. Try not to say ‘what?’; rather, repeat the bits you did hear.

Hearing loss is invisible. Let people know how to help you.

And finally, don’t let hearing loss hamper your holiday happiness.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

September – October 2019

I have been a member of HLAA for ten years have learned much about hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive listening devices. I am grateful for the education, support and advocacy.

Recently, I learned about a need to take on full responsibility for myself and my loved ones – a responsibility to be there for them. I must make my own phone calls and stop relying on other people. I learned this from a member whose wife was admitted to the hospital with life-threatening problems. The member revealed that he was able to be an effective advocate for her and most likely saved her life. He has no hearing but with cochlear implants, he was able to hear everything said and succeeded in making the necessary phone calls.

The member has met many people who think they hear well enough with hearing aids. He is confident that many of these people do not realize what they are missing and would benefit from wearing cochlear implants. He has a strong message that all of us must take on responsibility and do as much as we can and stop waiting for other people to hear for us.

I am guilty of letting my husband handle all our phone calls because it’s easier. The message of this member encourages me to be more independent and at least try to handle my own calls. If I am not able to hear everything I can, I must use my captioned telephone.

I have already called a sick uncle in England. He was delighted.

Let’s all accept the responsibility to hear as well as we can. We may save someone’s life.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

June – July – August 2019

I am honored and humbled that the Palm Aire Women’s Club chose the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Sarasota/Manatee Chapter to receive a grant of $1,000.

Their generous grant will allow HLAA Sarasota/Manatee Chapter to offer two new educational classes for FREE to the public.

HLAA will team up with the Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE) in Sarasota. Skilled volunteer instructors from our chapter will teach the 2 classes. ACE has agreed to provide the administrative framework, advertising, enrollment, and facility to host these sessions. Each of theses two-hour, one-day sessions will be available to approximately 30 people at the Suncoast Technical Center. Date to be determined.

ACE will mail this information to more than 218,000 residents and businesses. ACE will mention both the Hearing Loss Association of America and Palm Aire Women’s Club, as our donor. 

Course #1 – Easy Ways to Improve Your Hearing

Course #2 – How to Communicate with a Loved One with Hearing Loss: A Spouse’s Primer

The members of the Hearing Loss Association of America Sarasota/Manatee Chapter and I are most grateful for the generosity of the Palm Aire Women’s Club that allows us to offer these FREE classes.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President

May 2019

As we know, May is better speech and hearing month. We also know that treating hearing loss is expensive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first year of treatment for hearing loss in older adults is projected to rise more than 500% – from $8 million in 2002 to an estimated $51 billion in 2030. This is staggering and scary! $51 billion!

Ok, we know we are supposed to turn down the sound on the television and our MP3 players. We know fireworks, music concerts, and sports events are loud. We may have heard mutterings about ear protection, but do we use it?

Do we ever think about our every-day convenience machines such as the lawn mower, leaf blower, dryer, washing machine, dish washer? All noisy. We attend fitness classes where loud music is supposed to be motivational. Noisy again.

We are exposed to noise all day long. It is a noisy world, after all!

Being exposed to loud noises all day long can damage the inner ear cells and cause hearing loss. The inner ear cells do not grow back. By the time we become aware we can’t hear as well as we used to, it may be too late.

There is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss. It can be ‘helped’ by hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive listening devices.

We should use ear protection and limit our exposure to loud sounds. If we already have hearing loss, then we can try to stop it from getting worse.

Happy May! Happy Hearing!

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President
Hearing Loss Association of America – Sarasota/Manatee
Website –
Facebook –

April 2019

We know that our hearing aids/cochlear implants do not work without batteries. We put in a new battery and sigh with relief that we can hear again. We are a battery away from hearing or not hearing. Isn’t that interesting?

It goes without saying that we folks with hearing loss must carry spare batteries all the time, everywhere we go.

Fresh batteries give the best performance. When you remove the little orange tab from your new battery, let it sit for one minute before you insert it into your hearing aid. It will last longer. Try not to pull the tab off until you are ready to use the battery.

If the battery gets wet, then throw it out. Batteries do not work well when wet. With implant batteries, place them in a dryer overnight. If you are lucky, they will dry out. I heard of someone who dropped one in the toilet. It still worked after a night in the dryer.

Remember to remove the battery from your hearing aid and leave the battery door open when you take off your hearing aid. With implants, also do remove the battery from the implant when you are not using it.

  • Please do not put your batteries in the ‘fridge or the bathroom (might get wet).
  • Put batteries in a safe place – away from children or pets, who may eat them.
  • Check the expiration date when you buy a pack of batteries.
  • Oh, and remember – carry batteries with you always.

Happy April. Happy Hearing!

TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President
Hearing Loss Association of America – Sarasota/Manatee
Website –
Facebook –

March 2019

As you know, Rocky Stone founded the Hearing Loss Association of America, then Self Help for Hard of Hearing – SHHH – back in 1979. He encouraged us to take responsibility for our lives, confront our hearing loss and do something about it.

He came up with the expression ‘hard of hearing’ because we are in-between the Deaf and Hearing. We don’t fit in either world. We are not Deaf and we are not Hearing.

Hearing loss takes away our confidence leading to self-doubt, frustration, loneliness, depression and feelings of humiliation. Hearing loss is invisible. Rocky called it “The Invisible Condition”. When we admit to it and seek help, we discover an amazing array of hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive listening devices. We discover audiologists and otolaryngologists, who will help us to hear as well as we can. When we can hear as well as we can, we become healthier, happier people and feel better about ourselves.

If you know someone who is struggling with hearing loss, let him or her know about HLAA. Tell them that HLAA opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through education, information, support and advocacy. HLAA turns life around for many of us. As Rocky Stone said, “We do not have to face hearing loss alone. It is a daily challenge we can overcome.”

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor, President

February 2019

Valentine’s Day is a day for connection with your loved one. One of the loveliest gifts you can give to your loved one is yourself. A romantic dinner together, a gift, a movie, a museum. Just the two of you.

Hearing loss will go with you whether invited or not. So, it will be the three of you.

That’s ok. Just plan on making some small adjustments to ensure that you and your partner enjoy each other’s company. Wear your hearing aids. I know they are not perfect and may not be able to eliminate background noise in restaurants. Make a reservation for the quieter times. Focus on your partner when he/she is speaking.

Use the assistive technology at the movie theater/museum. You can read what you don’t hear. You will become bored, frustrated and fidgety if you can’t understand the dialogue. Hardly romantic.

Even though Valentine’s Day is the day to express love, continue to express love and show respect every day by wearing your hearing aids.

You will love life more when you can hear! And, so will your loved one.

Anne Taylor, President

January 2019

I look back with pride at the achievements of our Chapter this past year.

Our mission is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through education, support and advocacy.

Together, as a team, we have educated, supported and provided advocacy to numerous people with hearing loss through our monthly chapter meetings, After Hours, the Expo, the monthly Farmers Market and outreach events.

To help our members hear more clearly, we shared technology such as Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART), Sony captioned glasses and CaptiView at the movies, and the hearing loop at the Players Theater, one of the120 looped venues in Sarasota.

For the future, we look forward to a new family support program, which will be implemented to help spouses and family members improve communication with loved ones with hearing loss. We will continue to build on the 120 looped venues in the area.

Thank You to the five retiring board members: Kathy Combs, Mark Selis, Lyndsey Nalu, JoAnne DeVries and Maria Anderson. Your combined 23 years of service made a difference!  We appreciate that you will continue to support the Chapter as active members.

Welcome to our five new Board members: Christine Goodier, Sharon Rende, Joanna Hoskins, Peg Guy and Darralene Duggins.

With great, enthusiastic volunteers, the future looks bright for the Hearing Loss Association of America Sarasota/Manatee Chapter.

Thank you!

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor

December 2018

I am thankful to be living in an age of texting, email, digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices, hearing loops, and captions on the phone, television and the movie screen.

We have come a long way from the ear trumpet aid, haven’t we? These devices were designed to gather sound energy and direct it into the ear canal. I appreciate the efforts of the various engineers from that era who tried to help people with hearing loss.

Thank you to the professionals who worked with the three-part body aids and those who attempted to eliminate the squealing and static noise of the old analog hearing aids – an almost impossible task at the time. And then, on to digital hearing aids which are computer-adjusted. The diligence of hearing specialists through the years has resulted in smaller and more effective hearing aids.

I appreciate the miracle of cochlear implants. They do not cure deafness. They give a sense of hearing and bring people with profound hearing loss back into the world of communication.

Heartfelt thanks to the movie theater managers for re-opening the world of movies to people with hearing loss by offering closed captioned glasses, CaptiView and open captioning.

A huge thank you to all of you who have chosen to work in the field of hearing technology. By helping people with hearing loss hear the best they can, you improve their quality of life. You make a difference!

Thank You!

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor

October 2018

The mission of the Hearing Loss Association of America is to open the world of communication to persons with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy.

The 7th Annual Hearing Tech Expo is a great place to find education, support and advocacy. And, it is FREE!

  • Try out hearing aids without the pressure to buy
  • Check out the 50 cutting-edge exhibitors
  • Discover the wonders of cochlear implants, wireless accessories, assistive listening devices, free phones
  • Watch demonstrations of the latest technologies
  • Check out the new programs for parents and children with hearing loss
  • Get a free consultation with an audiologist and a hearing screening from a hearing professional
  • Feel free to ask questions during the insightful panel discussions
  • Listen to keynote speakers who will demystify new devices and technologies
  • Have fun and bid on silent auction items
  • Traductores de español
  • If you need a free ride, (no tips allowed) call 941-364-7530; ITN Suncoast – a dignified transportation for seniors


Please join us Saturday, October 27, from 9 AM – 4 PM

Manatee Technical Institute

6305 State Road 70, Bradenton, FL

One mile west of I-75, exit 217 B

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

Anne Taylor

Hearing Loss Association of America – Sarasota/Manatee
Website –
Facebook –

September 2018

Do allergies cause hearing loss?

Many of us are affected by seasonal allergies caused by various tree, flower and plant pollination. You know the symptoms – watery eyes, sneezing, throat itching, nasal itching, eye and ear irritation.

A severe bout of allergies can trigger hearing loss as your ears fill up with fluid and feel stuffed or swollen. Swelling may block the opening to your middle ear, prevent the Eustachian tube from draining properly, thereby, increasing the pressure and fluid – hence, the feeling of fullness. You may notice your hearing decreases even more than it already has!

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the average loss of hearing from fluid in the ears is 24 decibels (wearing ear plugs) and can be as high as 45 decibels (the level of conversational speech). Of course, this additional loss is challenging to all of us especially, those of us who have permanent hearing loss.

Fortunately, this extra loss caused by allergies is usually temporary. Most often, your hearing returns to what it was before. If you continue to have trouble hearing well past the allergy symptoms, then see your hearing care professional.
TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

July/August 2018

Most of us in the Sarasota/Manatee chapter have hearing loss. We know that it is a 24/7 situation and that life takes some extra planning to keep us hearing throughout the day. 

When making your emergency hurricane kit, remember to include extra batteries, chargers and back-up equipment. You may want to include a waterproof storage container for your hearing devices and a store and dry box. You could even include watertight re-sealable plastic bags.

 Keeping your devices in the same place each night helps you locate them in an emergency.

 If you lose power, remember you can charge your batteries in the car. The car does not have to be running.

 During a hurricane, your hearing devices could become lost or damaged – causing the added stress of not being able to hear. It is imperative that you take the necessary steps to keep your equipment secure and functioning.

 You may need to consider what you would do if you find yourself unable to hear. Ask your audiologist, in advance of the hurricane, who you could contact about replacing lost or damaged equipment, and if a loaner could be provided. It is a good idea to obtain a copy of your audiogram and other relevant documents relating to your hearing devices in case you need to evacuate.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!

June – 2018

The New York Times reported that failing to shut off keyless cars has caused more than two dozen deaths from carbon monoxide seeping into homes. 

Drivers become so accustomed to driving without using a key that it’s easy to forget to shut off the engine. 

For those of us with hearing loss, today’s quiet engines make it difficult to hear the car running. Several times I have left my car running for an hour or two while running errands. I’m always shocked to find how cold the inside of my car is!

According to Noah Kushlevsky, a partner in the New York law firm Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, states “keyless ignition systems in automobiles have been around since the mid-1990s. But as their popularity has grown, presumably for their convenience and ease, so have the inherent and substantial safety risks associated with these systems”.

As electronic key fobs can be operated while still in your pocket or purse, it is easy to forget to shut off the engine, leaving the car running for hours. As well as the afore-mentioned carbon monoxide problem, there is a possibility of leaving the car in gear – making it susceptible to rolling and causing damage and/or injuries.

Let us agree, for safety’s sake, to wear our hearing devices and to take the time to make sure the engine is turned off.

TEAM Together Everyone Achieves More!


Previous President’s Messages

July 2017 – May 2018

Jan 2017 – June 2017


July – Dec 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015