Thursday, July 31, 2014

The #1 Skill Every Person with Hearing Loss Needs to Develop

The most helpful lesson that a person with hearing loss can master is good listening and communication skills. These simple tools can increase one’s understanding of conversations significantly and no HLAA chapter leader can ever stress these invaluable guidelines often enough to their members and guests.

Now thanks to the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Serviceswho partnered with HLAA at the HLAA Convention in Austin, we have a very insightful and focused 19 minute video that provides a great demonstration and summary for communication strategies. I suggest featuring this video in your newsletter or showing it at your next leaders' session or an upcoming chapter meeting. I believe the video lends itself to a fabulous rap session where a chapter leader can moderate a discussion by stopping the video after each harrowing hearing experience in restaurant, with the receptionist and in the doctor examination to discuss "who has been there" and how to address it.

Gael Hannan is a
celebrated public speaker,
actor and prolific writer 
The video is called Lets Make It Clear and stars Gael Hannan in a dramatic role after her hilarious standup comedy act at the HLAA Convention Banquet which left so many of us in gales of uncontrollable laughter. You can access the video at: Lets Make It Clear.  A special thanks to Dan White of HLAA Fort WorthChapter for sharing the video.

In my experience, Communication Strategies have proven to be the MOST critical tool to help people with people with hearing loss improve their listening and restore communication abilities. Just as importantly, I have heard the family members, friends and co-workers of people with hearing loss say time and again, that learning these tools has made all the difference in their relationship.

Some chapters have had speakers present this topic presented from many different lifestyle angles and often have two or three different presentations of this topic every year as THE foundation to a very successful chapter-building education program. If your chapter is looking for a fresh approach on this subject, I welcome your invitation to discuss the various ways which I have witnessed how this topic can resonate.

Ed Ogiba
Director of Chapter Development
HLAA's 35th Anniversary celebration
starts in November 2014 and runs
until November 2015 with monthly events
at participating chapters.
What are other chapters doing to celebrate?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hearing Loss Magazine Exclusive -- Send Us Your Questions

Please Send Us Your Questions for Ahme Stone

The November/December 2014 Hearing Loss Magazine will feature Ahme Stone on the cover to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the organization and to kick off celebratory events that will culminate at HLAA Convention 2015 in St. Louis. Alice Marie “Ahme” Stone is the wife of Founder Rocky Stone.

Editor Barbara Kelley will interview Ahme and welcomes your questions for her. She will use these to help formulate final questions for the interview. Email your questions for Ahme to Barbara Kelley by August 10, 2014. As a side note, Ahme has never been interviewed or featured in any of our publications before. So, after 35 years, we have a scoop!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HLAA Board of Trustees Elects New Chairperson

Margaret Wallhagen, Ph.D., of Mill Valley, California, was elected chairperson of the HLAA Board of Trustees in Austin at HLAA Convention 2014.

Share this news in your newsletters and websites.

Read more about Meg and the Board here. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Will Install Hearing Loop

HLAA Sarasota Chapter Board Member Convinces Supreme Court
to add a Hearing Loop to Courtroom
Share the News!

Sarasota, FL: For the first time in its history, the United States Supreme Court will install a hearing loop system this summer to enable people with hearing loss to follow the proceedings. This decision was a direct result of the efforts of Richard Williams, Esq., of Lakewood Ranch, a Board member of the HLAA Sarasota Chapter.

Pamela Talkin, Marshal of the Court said to Mr. Williams, “I truly appreciate the initiative you took in making your suggestion. Your suggestion will benefit countless visitors to the Court.”

Mr. Williams, who had sudden hearing loss and uses a cochlear implant plus hearing aid, has appeared before the court and knows first-hand the difficulty of hearing in the courtroom.

In 2013, Mr. Williams contacted the Supreme Court Marshal advocating that the court install a hearing loop to enhance speech and voice recognition for people who have hearing loss. Mr. Williams pointed to research showing that hearing loops have become more prevalent in public facilities in the United States and commonly found in most European public facilities.

A hearing loop system consists of a microphone that picks up the spoken word and an amplifier that processes the signal. The signal is then sent to an induction loop, a wire placed around the perimeter of a room or sanctuary, which acts as an antenna that radiates the magnetic signal directly into to the hearing aid. Delivering personalized in-the-ear sound directly from a microphone into a hearing aid or cochlear implant reduces background noise and other acoustic distortions and increases the clarity and crispness of sound.

“We are thrilled with this important decision and proud of what our board member, Richard Williams, was able to accomplish,” says JoAnne DeVries, president of the HLAA Sarasota Chapter. “Locally, our Let’s Loop SRQ initiative has resulted in more than 100 looped venues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. We are currently advocating for even more venues as well as actively working with the National Hearing Loss Association of America on the Get in the Hearing Loop campaign.

Among the more than 100 looped venues, the HLAA Sarasota Chapter has successfully looped all 13 live performance theaters in Sarasota. For a list of the facilities with hearing loops in Sarasota and Manatee, Florida, or for more information about the HLAA Sarasota Chapter go to or contact JoAnne Devries, president, 941-320-8825. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at the North County Library at 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hats off to Don Senger….welcome Janel Edmiston!

Northern California State Chapter Coordinator Don Senger announced effective July 1 that he is retiring from his position after over 20 years of service to State Association in various capacities. All
Flo and Don Senger photo
Flo and Don Senger at the HLAA
Convention in Austin
Photo courtesy of Zina Jawadi
week long, the HLAA head office has been copied on a flood of e-mails thanking Don for his outstanding support from numerous national office, state and chapter leaders. Don was one of the first HLAA leaders to reach out to me with some extremely helpful insights on the state association, various chapters and special events like the state convention. His leadership for all the state’s chapters in filing their annual IRS and state forms has been an extraordinary model.

Fortunately for the HLAA family, Don plans to stay involved as a member emeritus to the California State Association. As the consummate leader, Don stayed on in his position for an extra ten months to support his successor, Janel Edmiston, in her transition.  It was a great pleasure for many of us to meet Janel at the HLAA Convention in Austin.
Anna Gilmore Hall and Janel Edmiston photo
HLAA Executive Director Anna
Gilmore Hall chats with Janel Edmiston
at Texas Swing night in Austin

California is to be applauded for having so many leaders and members at the Convention and for running a highly productive state workshop for all their contingent. Please join me in congratulating Don for his remarkable service and reaching out to Janel with a warm welcome.

As mentioned at the Convention, I invite any new chapter or state leaders to contact me to schedule a New Leader Orientation session. HLAA is here to support new leaders and we have several new programs to support established leaders as well. If we have not talked, please contact me so we can explore what options might be beneficial for you and the association or chapter you represent.

Best wishes,

Ed Ogiba  
Director of Chapter Development  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Chapter Support Vehicles Announced

The HLAA Convention in Austin was a whirlwind of new and familiar, friendly faces, insightful learning, fresh ideas and a lot of fun events. I am grateful to all of you who reached out to welcome me and to connect. Whether you made it to Austin or not, I would invite every leader to schedule a phone talk so we can discuss your chapter or state association needs and how I can be of assistance. In addition, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about the three new HLAA support vehicles which were announced at the convention.

Chapter Leaders Training Session
Photo of team joining hands
This is a telephone meeting with me which can be done individually with a single chapter leader or in a group with all the leaders of one chapter. The goals are to address the major issues and the opportunities that the chapter is facing. I can set up a conference call for as many chapter leaders, committee heads and volunteers whom wish to attend. 

Chapter Meeting Presentation
Any invitation to address your membership is welcomed and one of my presentations, 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Hearing, covers the most helpful devices, programs and vehicles to improve one’s listening and communication skills.

I am happy to give this talk to any chapter in conjunction with a separate Chapter Leaders Meeting or a Chapter Building Workshop (see below) during the same visit to address the issues and opportunities that affect the chapter’s growth. 

Chapter Building Workshop
Photo of team joined in a circle
This is a four to six hour workshop, usually on a Saturday, with the leadership of three or more chapters and the state coordinator. We will conduct a session custom designed to deliver the agenda that the chapter leaders provide beforehand. This is the most productive vehicle to grow attendance, membership and improve the overall performance of a chapter.

Please contact me for a flyer to outline how any of the above programs work in more detail. Better yet, schedule a chat on the phone so I can get to know you and we can discuss the best options to support your chapter or state role.

Best wishes,

Ed Ogiba  
HLAA Director of Chapter Development