Posted by: hlacentralma | March 27, 2017

Call to Action! Fight For OTC Hearing Aids

MARCH 24, 2017

This is a weekly report from the HLAA national office in Bethesda, Maryland. Please also sign up for the online HLAA e-News where even more news is published.


It’s a Call to Action! Join HLAA in Supporting the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 On March 21, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), reintroduced legislation (S. 670) to make hearing aids for those with mild to moderate hearing loss available over the counter (OTC). A companion bill (HR 1652) led by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was also introduced in the House.

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter and remove unnecessary and burdensome requirements that currently create barriers for consumers who could benefit from hearing aids.

HLAA is issuing a Call to Action to ask for your help in sending Congress a message that passage of this bill would be life-changing for the millions of Americans who don’t seek help for their hearing loss simply because they can’t afford to.

You – we – now have the opportunity to influence Congress to change that. We have created a new section of the HLAA website entirely devoted to over-the-counter hearing aids.  It includes information on what exactly an over-the-counter device is, what all this means to people with hearing loss, the NAS report, information on the Call to Action – what you can do to help, useful links and much more.

Senator Warren Discusses Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids with the FDA On the heels of the reintroduction of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, Senator Warren discussed the legislation, what it means to people with hearing loss, and posed some questions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding over-the counter hearing aids. Senator Warren has made some compelling arguments during the discussion, which took place at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday, March 22.

You can watch a captioned video of the presentation here.

Posted by: hlacentralma | March 17, 2017

HLAA-Central MA Workshop and Meeting

hearing aidsHearing Loss Association of Central MA will be hosting a three-part series on technology for people with hearing loss and their families/friends.

All are welcome!

The presentations will be held at the Northborough Public Library.

Saturday, April 8th, 2017: “What Do I Need to Know About Hearing Aids”  to be presented by Tina Coderre, M.A. CCC-A.    2:00 PM-4:00 PM.

Saturday, June 10th, 2017: “What Do I Need to Know About Assistive Devices” to be presented by Jonathan O’Dell, MA Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  2:00 PM-4:00 PM.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017: “What Do I Need to Know About Signaling Devices” to be presented by Beth Wilson, PH.D, Electrical Engineer 10:00 AM-12:00 PM.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for further details of these upcoming presentations.

Posted by: hlacentralma | March 16, 2017

Library Adult Program Series: Navigating a Hearing Loss


(People can register on line at the Northborough Library or call the library.   (508) 393-5025 ,the maximum # is 20)

Part I: The Basics Tuesday, March 21, 2017 (7-8:30 pm)
Basic information on hearing loss. This session will cover some facts and myths about hearing loss and explain the difference between frequency and loudness.

Part II: Technology Strategies Tuesday, March 28, 2017 (7-8:30 pm)
Basic information on hearing technology. This session will provide an introduction to hearing aids and assistive devices.

Part III: Communication Strategies Tuesday, April 4, 2017 (7-8:30 pm)
Basic information on communication strategies: this session will provide techniques for making it easier to listen and to communicate with family, friends, and co-workers. This introductory series provides basic information and strategies. If you have a hearing loss or know someone who does, this series can help make hearing loss less mysterious and provide some information on how to make hearing loss easier to deal with.

bethThe sessions will be led by Dr. Beth Wilson, who was born with a hearing loss and is a member of the local Hearing Loss Association of America Central Massachusetts chapter. Beth has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with research in speech processing, so she actually understands how things work! She has had much experience in explaining her own hearing loss in a way that makes everyone comfortable (and a bit entertained).

Dear Members of Hearing Loss Association of America – Central Massachusetts:

We are writing to ask for your assistance in identifying candidates to fill two available positions on the Board of Registration of Hearing Instrument Specialists (“Board”). This is a six-member board appointed by the Governor.

The available positions on the Board are for (1) a hearing aid user who has no affiliation in any way with hearing aid dispensing; and (2) a representative of the public who does not have affiliations with the hearing aid industry or consumers. To be eligible, a candidate must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Massachusetts.

We have publicized these positions with the other branches of the Hearing Loss Association in Massachusetts, as well as the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association. We would love to receive any recommendations from you of other people or groups who you think could be helpful in filling these positions. We also encourage you to share this email letter with anyone who may be helpful.

Thank you very much for your consideration. We look forward to any assistance you may give.


Michael Hawley, Executive Director
(617) 727-6524

Lynn Peterson Read, Board Counsel
(617) 727-4423 Direct

Posted by: hlacentralma | March 10, 2017

New England News

Newsletter from Peggy Ellerston of Hear@Boston Boston Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America:

This newsletter brings you highlights about HLAA’s national office and New England chapters: Plymouth, Cape Cod, North of Boston, Boston, Central Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.


This year’s Research Symposium at the Convention will present a panel of hearing healthcare professionals who will explore a topic that affects many of us, whether we are hearing aid or cochlear implant users – or both. Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants: Merging Technologies, Expanding Benefits will bring together a panel of otolaryngologists, audiologists and speech pathologists who will examine the changes in hearing technology that have expanded the C.I. candidate population and blurred the lines between hearing aids and cochlear implants. Chapter and state leaders attending the HLAA Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah this June are invited to attend an exciting 3- hour Leadership Training. Session facilitator J.D. Taylor’s presentation, Leadership is Intentional Influence, will address the challenging aspects of leadership, as well as principles and strategies involved in successful leadership models.

If you have not yet registered for the convention, you can do so here .

(Early-bird registration ends on March 31.)


A shout out for HLAA Plymouth Chapter on being honored as this year’s “Up and Coming HLAA Chapter!” Sandy Spekman will accept the award at the June Convention’s HLAA Stars Come Out Talent Show and Awards Ceremony. Congratulations! On Tuesday, March 21, HLAA Board member Kevin Franck will meet with Plymouth chapter members to talk about the work of HLAA’s national office. 7 pm – 8:30 pm at the Plymouth Public Library, 132 South Street, Plymouth.


CHAPTERS HLAA North of Boston ~Regular “Third Wednesday of the Month”gatherings with support and friendship resumed on Wednesday, March 15. Meetings begin at 11:00 AM and take place at the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library (2nd floor) 345 Main Street in Wakefield.

HLAA Central Mass ~A reminder that the three-part series Navigating a Hearing Loss begins on Tuesday March 21 and continues on March 28 and April 4 from 7:00-8:30 PM at Northborough Free Library. Held as part of the Library Adult Program Series.

HLAA Boston ~For a fun night with friends and acquaintances and some great Mexican fare, attend the chapter’s next Quiet Restaurant Meet-up at TU Y YO in Somerville on Friday, March 17!

Best wishes to the Boston Chapter’s new volunteer webmaster, who will assume administration of later this week!

HLAA Eastern Connecticut ~ On Saturday, March 18 at 10:00 AM, Jennifer Cox, AuD, clinical audiologist at New England Center for Hearing Rehabilitation, will be joining the chapter for a talk about hearing testing, including a discussion of audiograms and other forms of testing, how the tests are scored, what are “normal” results, and how the results transform into a diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut, in the second floor Conference Room of the Phillips Communication Sciences Building, 850 Bolton Road (next to the Nathan Hale Inn). Free Parking on site.


Planning has begun for this year’s Walk4Hearing, which will take place on Sunday, October 29 at Artesani Park! It’s not too early to register as an individual or to start a team to raise funds for HLAA’s national programs and the HLAA Chapter or Walk Alliance of your choice.

New England Walk4Hearing Alliances are weighing in on the important goals of their organizations – and the value that their groups receive from participating in the New England Walk! from Julianne Harris of Northeastern University:

“The Northeastern University Student Academy of Audiology is a student-run organization for Doctor of Audiology students aspiring to be audiologists and who donate their time to fundraising, organizing, and giving back to the community. We strive to educate our community so that individuals can make informed decisions about their hearing health care. The Walk4Hearing Alliance program allows us to purchase materials for events such as our senior center information sessions and our preschool education days. The funds also help us sponsor a local child in need of a service dog.”

from Caitlyn Parton of A.G. Bell:

“We continue to use HLAA Walk4Hearing funds to bring families together. We have events in which parents can meet other parents, tell their stories and share ideas. Our teens have the opportunity to meet others teens as well as meet deaf adults as mentors.

It’s always amazing to us that there are still kids out there even in Massachusetts who have never met another child with hearing loss like themselves. It’s nice when they see others at our events and know that they are not alone. In addition, they realize, they are going to be okay!”

Non-profit organizations working on behalf of people with hearing loss are invited to team up with the Walk4Hearing as a Walk Alliance – a great way to generate income to fund “wish list” items for your group and to support the work of HLAA’s national office. Visit and learn about the Alliance program by downloading the Walk Alliance Q & A.


HLAA/ALDA Theater Night at New Rep Theater in Watertown takes place on Friday, April 14. Members of HLAA and ALDA can purchase discounted tickets to the performance of Golda’s Balcony in the looped Mosesian Theater space at New Rep.


The Museum of Fine Arts Boston Accessible Tour Series will continue in April with two tours of the popular Art in Bloom on Friday, 4/28 at 2:30 and 6:30PM. Registration begins on April 5 and ends on April 21. Pat Dobbs is a Gallaudet University Peer Mentoring Candidate and Hearing Loss Management Coach and Advocate. She is launching a free, online pilot of her workshop, Coming to Terms with Your Hearing Loss: How to Achieve Your Best Hearing Experience. All are invited to inquire about participating by contacting Pat at

HLAA New England Spring Supper

Watch for an invitation email with additional details regarding the location and program for this year’s Spring Supper!

An opportunity to support our organization and share an evening of New Orleans-inspired food and lively conversation with members of HLAA’s Board of Trustees is planned for Saturday, May 13 from 5:00 until 8:00 at the home of Board member Peggy Ellertsen.

Guest trustees at this Spring Supper will include board members with strong ties to New England! Patrick Holkins may be best known to members of the Boston Chapter as the founder of “Hear@Boston,” an HLAA chapter created for young adults in 2009 during Patrick’s undergraduate years at Harvard University. He is currently a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Jonay. Patrick was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May, 2016. He serves on the Board’s Membership and Development Committees.

Jim Saunders is professor emeritus of research otolaryngology, physiology and neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Recognition for his research efforts includes the Claude Pepper Award for research excellence from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Jim serves as co-chair of the HLAA Board of Trustees Executive and Nominating Committees and as a member of the Audit committee. He and his wife Elaine live in Philadelphia and love to spend leisure time on Cape Cod in Harwich.


(only 4 days until spring!)

Posted by: hlacentralma | February 20, 2017

HLAA News of New England

Updates from and about HLAA’s national office and New England chapters:  Plymouth, Cape Cod, North of Boston, Boston, Central Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Written by Peggy Ellersten, HLAA Boston.

Folk Artist and HLAA Partner Zoe Nutt tells her hearing loss story.

Nashville musician and HLAA partner Zoe Nutt has released a captioned video of her poignant new single “Like You,” which tells the story of her journey as a young adult with progressive hearing loss and tinnitus.

 HLAA Webinars

All webinars are archived approximately 2 weeks after the live event and can be accessed for viewing at your convenience.

For those who are interested in building self-advocacy skills in the workplace, a webinar for consumers on Career Success after Hearing Loss with David C. Baldridge, BGS, MBA Ph.D. took place on Wednesday, February 15.   (You can also find additional readings about managing effectively on the job on the Boston chapter website.)

img_0436Accessible Arts for HLAA Members and friends

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

On February 5th, there was an accessible tour of the dazzling Art of the Americas: Making Modern exhibit at the MFA Boston was led by our tour guide Karen Moss, with a full contingent of HLAA and ALDA members in attendance.

Three tours remain in the current series; if you’d like to attend one (or all!) of them, watch for details and registration dates here.  (Registration is on a  first come/first served basis, so if there is a tour that especially captures your interest, be sure to register early in the registration cycle.)

You can also contact the Boston chapter steering committee at or ALDA president Francine Stieglitz at with requests for future tours of your favorite exhibits at the MFA.

An important reminder:  The MFA Tour program is limited to HLAA and ALDA members.  If you would like to renew your HLAA membership or become a first-time member of HLAA, you can visit the membership page here.

Accessible Theater 

goldas-balconyA menu of accessible theater performances is brimming with opportunities to enjoy performing arts events.

Mark your calendars for HLAA/ALDA Theater Night at New Rep Theater in Watertown.  Members of HLAA and ALDA can purchase discounted tickets to the April 14 performance of Golda’s Balcony in the beautiful looped Mosesian Theater space at New Rep.

Also on the near horizon are open-captioned performances of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time at Boston Opera House on March 11;  Night of the Iguana at the ART in Cambridge on March 16 ; and Billy Elliotat Wheelock Family Theater, where all performances are open-captioned and run through 26.

Watch here for future posts about next season’s open-captioned performances at Trinity Theater in Providence.

An Outstanding Accomplishment: Stu Nunnery of Providence, RI

musicianStu Nunnery lives with hearing loss.  He is also a writer, composer, singer, musician, recording artist, activist, and long-time client of auditory training specialist Geoff Plant of the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation in Somerville.

On February 22 and 23 (his birthday,) Stu will be working at Park West Studios in Brooklyn, NY  as he relaunches his musical recording activities.

Congratulations, Stu, on this remarkable milestone!


HLAA New England Chapter Events and News

The Plymouth Chapter continues to thrive! Ten brand new attendees were present at the January chapter meeting, with Jonathan O’Dell presenting to a full house of 23 folks working on hearing loss management strategies.  The chapter will reconvene to  share ideas for the future on February 28 at 7 pm at the Plymouth Public Library.

The Eastern Connecticut Chapter meets on Saturday, February 18 to discuss aural rehab options with Ali Marinelli and Mike Furth of University of Connecticut.  The discussion will include a review of some of the activities experienced by participants in last summer’s aural rehab “camp” with Geoff Plant and Kathleen Cienkowski.

The Boston Chapter’s next Quiet Restaurant Meetup takes place on Friday, February 17 at 5:30 at Maggliano’s Little Italy in Boston.  The March 12Speaker Series event will explore Online Auditory Training Resourcesoffered by Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Americas, and MedEl.

The Central Massachusetts Chapter has posted an eclectic line up of upcoming programs on their website,  including an encore of the superb three-part series, Navigating a Hearing Loss with Beth Wilson.

North of Boston Chapter  will take a brief winter break from its regular late morning meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield.  Meetings will resume in March.  This warm, friendly group typically offers people with hearing loss a chance to come together informally to talk about practical solutions and offer peer support.

Cape Cod Chapter is looking ahead to spring!  Stay tuned for information about plans for their next meeting, now on the calendar for May 20.

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