Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Abby Needs to Hear from YOU

Dear Abby PhotoDear Abby answered a letter this week from a woman who felt “trapped” by her husband’s hearing loss. The resulting Dear Abby article is titled “Wife of Deaf Husband Seek to Cope in New Surroundings”. 

The question the column raises for all of us every time we see such a posting is how good and complete was the advice? What did Abby miss that the wife and other readers should know and Abby should consider next time she gets a letter like this? What would you like to say to help the wife, her deaf husband, Norm and the millions like them reading this column?  Your comments can make a difference and you can respond with your suggestions on the same page as the article, by clicking on the title above. 

Reaching Out to Others Photo
Please weigh in with your response to Abby and please encourage other family and chapter members to do the same. It is very important every ONE of us seizes highly visible opportunities like this to speak out so the 48 million Americans with hearing loss know there is real education and support available for them. Your personal experience and support may be the only one that resonates and connects with someone to finally do something about their hearing loss.

You can read Anna Gilmore Hall’s response to the wife attached below. You can read my response to Abby which I also posted on my Facebook page.

Dear Trapped;

Your letter reveals an important aspect often misunderstood by many people when thinking about hearing loss.  The fact is, hearing loss not only impacts the person with hearing loss but their family as well.

The good news is that there are solutions that can go a long way toward helping you and Norm live a more satisfying life. For example, in addition to being sure that you are seeing a good audiologist or hearing aid dispenser and that Norm’s hearing aid and CI are properly programed, there may be additional assistive listening devices that will aid in his hearing in the dining room. There are many good products on the market that can be of assistance in these kinds of listening situations that can greatly enhance his listening.  For more information about these kinds of devices, visit the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) web site With proper assistive listening devices that work with your hearing aid or CI many individuals find that instead of living lonely, isolated lives, they can re-engage in social situations like the dining room or eating out in restaurants.  

And, if he has not already tried auditory rehab program, with a speech-language pathologist, he should.

The other good news is that Norm is not alone. If he gets out of his room, Norm will find that there are many in a retirement community who are also experiencing hearing loss.  There are many other tips that you can use in these kinds of situations and a HLAA Chapter in your area is a great resource for learning about them. The Chapters are a great support system for you and your husband. They may also be able to help you with advising  the staff at the retirement community  about ways  that would not only help you and Norm but many of the other residents living there.

Anna Gilmore Hall
Executive Director of HLAA

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Holidays Call for Elf Ears or Communication Strategies

Photo of Elf's Ear and Hat
Many people with hearing loss find the holidays stressful because it is hard to connect with others over all the noise at big family gatherings or parties. As a leader, the best gift you can give your membership is to teach or remind them how to handle these situations especially during the holidays. Now you can either suggest your members write to Santa to ask for a pair of Elf Ears :-),  or better yet, teach them how to use the indispensable tool of communication strategies. 

Communication strategies are the best way to fill in what we missed in a tal when our hearing aids,  implants and even ALDs cannot handle. Hearing aids are great but they are not the final solution for many conversations where clarity is lost and communication strategies can fill those gaps. Communication Strategies also provide the indispensable foundation for all us to use to self-identify and self-advocate for ourselves throughout the year.

One of the best primers for holiday communication strategies is Arlene Romoff's very insightful and popular guide:  Seven Tips To Better Communication during the holidays. It can be found on the HLAA website.

HLAA Boston also created a wonderful "Surviving and Thriving Holiday Tool Kit” this season which they emailed to all the members and friends of their chapter. Their message offered a "tool kit" featuring the transcript of the recent HLAA webinar on the subject along with their best wishes for a wonderful new year.  The photo below is courtesy of HLAA Boston which preceded their holiday message to draw greater attention.

In my view, communication strategies are THE most important skill that chapter leaders can teach your members as well as their spouses and families. I hope you will consider adding some guidance on the topic to your holiday meeting remarks,  your newsletter, Facebook page and perhaps even with a special mailing.

Happy Holidays to all,

HLAA Boston Holiday Swirls Photo

Monday, December 1, 2014

Who are your chapter's Super Heroes?

I am sure every chapter has local heroes who have made a difference for your members and the community. You might think about honoring them during your chapter's HLAA's 35th Anniversary activities! 

Do they deserve national recognition? HLAA Award applications close this Friday, Dec 5. Click here:

Hearing Loss Super Heroes have been getting national attention this year that is helping to build awareness for treatment and fight stigma. Here are the latest:

Blue Ear with hearing aid photo
Marvel Comics has introduced a new comic book series that featrues Blue Ear and Sapheara, two new Super Heroes. Blue Ear wears a super-sized hearing aid and Sapheara dons cochlear implants to enhance their super powers and dispel any indignity in wearing a hearing device.

Marvel Comics Front Cover with new Super Heroes

They are teaming up with Iron Man to clean up crime in New York City. 

Notice Sapheara's sweptback hair does NOT hide her CI. There's no stigma here, just proud to hear. 

Bravo, Marvel Comics! 

To learn more about the new Marvel action series called "Sound Effects", click here.

Derrick Coleman photo and quote
Earlier this year,  Derrick Coleman, a running back with the champion Seattle Seahawks, was introduced in Super Bowl ads wearing his hearing aids proudly as another Hearing Loss Super Hero. If you have not seen this incredible 60 second spot, click here.

We'd love to hear your stories about your chapter heros. Please also consider submitting them to HLAA Spotlight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Honor Our Veterans with a Free HLAA Membership

Today is Veterans Day and HLAA would like to thank all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have served our country with dignity, loyalty and bravery.

The portrayal of the Purple Heart is on the wall at the entrance to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, right up the road from the HLAA national office.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Premier Issue...HLAA in Action

What is advocacy? Legislative lobbying? Promoting an agenda? Educating others about your issue or cause?

Advocacy can be any of the above. Whenever you are speaking or acting on behalf of yourself or others, or in support of a particular issue, you are being an advocate.

Advocacy is so important to us that HLAA is showcasing our efforts in this online HLAA in Action edition. We’ll also bring you advocacy news from other sources: federal regulators, other non-profit organizations, even industry news when it fits.

HLAA publishes two e-News a month, one with general news on hot topics and one titled HLAA in Action. Sign up today. It's free!

And, for chapter and state newsletter editors, these online newsletters are a great source of news you can share.

Honor HLAA's Finest!

Honor HLAA Finest with an Award -- Nominations Due December 5, 2014

Don't miss the chance to nominate an individual, chapter or state organization for an award. Check out the award descriptions and details and get the nominations forms. 

Zina Jawadi receives the 2014 HLAA Young Adult Award from Executive Director Anna Gilmore Hall at the HLAA Convention 2014 this past June in Austin. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Special Rates: Act Now to Send Delegates to HLAA Convention 2015

Good news! HLAA Convention 2015 registration is now OPEN! We would love to have you attend this year’s Convention and help us celebrate our 35th anniversary in St. Louis, June 25-28.

More good news! State associations/offices and chapters can register up to 4 officers (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer) PLUS 1 Delegate (encourage a member who is being groomed for a leadership role to use the Delegate registration).

Early-bird registration
Deadline: January 31, 2015
                Rate: $125 + banquet + off-site event

After January 31
                Deadline: March 31, 2015
                Rate: $150 + banquet + off-site event

After March 31, 2015, this pricing is no longer available; use the regular registration form found in Hearing Loss Magazine or the Convention page on

How to Qualify for the Special Delegate Rate

Officers must be current members of HLAA and we must a have current Chapter Update form on file. If you have not submitted the form this year, please see the form here.

Your registration cannot be processed if we do not have a current form on file. Updating your chapter information is important so our records and website reflect the correct data. 

We are excited about the plans being made for Convention 2015 and we hope to see you in St. Louis! Be sure to check for updates on the Convention page, in the online HLAA e-News. (If you are not receiving the HLAA e-News, sign up here), and see our Facebook page.

Contact Nancy Macklin for questions regarding registration. 
Contact Ed Ogiba for questions regarding Chapter Update forms.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Have You Had Your TWIB Today?

TWIB, as it is fondly called here at the HLAA national office, is officially a little Friday publication called This Week iBethesda. 

TWIB gives you a weekly snapshot of the happenings here at your national office. Caveat: some Fridays it is not published; for example, when the HLAA Board of Trustees meets or on holidays.

It is in Word doc so you can cut and paste news into your newsletters or websites. It is also in PDF format for passing along. Please go to the HLAA Official Leaders List to get your TWIB or contact Ed Ogiba or Barbara Kelley for a copy. There is no way to attach it here to this blog, otherwise we would. There is also no subscription mechanism (but you can subscribe to this blog).

Happy TWIB-ing!

Barbara Kelley
Deputy Executive Director
Editor-in-Chief, Hearing Loss Magazine

Friday, October 31, 2014

Do You Want a TWIB? How about an Award Nomination Form?

Do You Want a TWIB?
TWIB, as it is fondly called here at the HLAA national office, is officially a little Friday publication called This Week in Bethesda. It gives you a weekly snapshot of the happenings here at your national office.

It is in Word doc so you can cut and paste news into your newsletters. It is also in PDF format for passing along. Please go to the Leaders Listserve to obtain it or contact Ed Ogiba, director of chapters, for a copy. There is no way to attach it here to this blog, otherwise we would. There is also no subscription mechanism. 

Happy TWIB-ing!

Honor HLAA Finest with an Award -- Nominations Due December 5, 2014

Don't miss the chance to nominate an individual, chapter or state organization for an award. Check out the award descriptions and details and get the nominations forms. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

35th Anniversary Plans for Chapters Announced

We invite each chapter to join the 35th Anniversary Celebration starting this November

HLAA’s 35th Anniversary is this November and a committee of chapter and state leaders has created a wonderful plan to celebrate with activities we hope you will support for 13 consecutive months starting next month in November. For each month in the Anniversary Celebration Year you will find up to 5 or 6 suggested activities with the hope that your chapter can execute at least one of these. The goals are to promote the HLAA Mission and in that regard to promote what each chapter offers its members and community. 

Chapter anniversary activities for November honor our founder, Rocky Stone
The list of suggested 35h Anniversary activities for this November is below. We hope each chapter will consider executing one or more of these which includes introducing Rocky Stone to your membership, discussing one of his short articles from his book,  An Invisible Condition, considering a rap session or member discussion that was one of Rocky’s favorite support tools. 

November 2014 Theme: Rocky's Gift to the 48 Million

Rocky Stone photo
1.  Introduce Rocky Stone to the membership by summarizing his bio.  

2. Discuss an article from Rocky's Stone's book, An Invisible Condition.  

3. Have a member discussion on "How HLAA/SHHH has impacted my life."

4. Hold a Rap Session, one of Rocky's favorite support and educational vehicles.

5. Serve a Happy 35th Anniversary Cake.

6. Promote Free HLAA Memberships for Veterans- November 11 is Veteran's Day. For a Veterans Free Membership banner to add to all your communications, go to Logo File.

7. Take some smiling, group photos at your meeting and promote your chapter as a friendly, welcoming place on Facebook, in meeting flyers,  newsletters and all your communications.

By joining focus with HLAA and the other 160 plus chapters, each fully participating chapter should gain significant local awareness from the impact of the widespread national effort. Each chapter can start their program by downloading the 35th Anniversary logo,  which features the anniversary theme of “Celebrating 35 Years for 48 Million with hearing loss”. It is now available for all chapters and state organizations to use on all communications. as anniversaries draw greater attention and readership, so enhance chapter meeting flyers, newsletters and more with it. 

To download the logo, go to Logo File

To receive a 35th Year Plan outline, contact me.

You will receive more detailed directions for upcoming months in the coming weeks. Please contact me directly for any questions. 

Best wishes for a happy 35th, 

P.S. If your chapter is also celebrating a significant anniversary, please share the news of how the chapter celebrating with a a smiling group photo if possible so we can add it to our publicity on your behalf.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

HLAA Online Store Now Open- Did Your Chapter's Leader Receive Access?

Order Materials in Our New HLAA Online Store
We are pleased to announce the opening of our new HLAA Online Store hosted by Ironmark. This is the place for one-stop shopping for all your HLAA activities - you can order brochures, copies of Hearing Loss Magazine, DVDs, pens with the HLAA logo, displays and banners with your chapter logo, and more.
The current contact person for each Chapter has been sent a login (email and generic password) for the store and should have received that information in an email from Ironmark (dated September 24, 2014). If you are the Chapter’s primary contact and did not receive login instructions, please email Gaelin Bryant who will update HLAA’s database and relay your information to Ironmark. If your Chapter has new leaders, please email Gaelin so we can update our database and website – we can’t emphasize how important this is (see below)!

When you login for the first time you will be prompted to enter a security question and change your password to something you prefer. The primary contact will have full access to the site and all of the materials, including promotional items. You may still order HLAA materials if you are not a primary Chapter contact – just click on the link that reads "If you are not affiliated with a chapter, register here." Don’t be confused by the wording here – we receive orders from professionals and other people who are necessarily involved with a chapter but who like to have our materials on-hand.
To begin shopping, click on HLAA Online Store or go to
Should you have login or technical questions about the HLAA Online Store, email or call 410.329.1224.

Updating Your Chapter Contact Information
Many chapters have incomplete or outdated information on the HLAA website, which could be preventing many new first-time visitors from contacting your chapter.  Make sure we have your current information so people with hearing loss who are looking for support find the correct information on the Find a HLAA Chapter page. For convenience, just copy and paste the information below into an email and send to Ed Ogiba at and copy Gaelin Bryant at
Here is the Information We Need:
Chapter Name
When Chapter Meets (Day of Month/Time/What Months)
Where Chapter Meets (Venue Name/Full street address/city/state/zip)
Primary Contact
Contact #2: (Optional, but the chapter needs a least one phone and one email contact)
Chapter Website Link:
Facebook Link: