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News & Views

December 2009 E-mail:
Hearing Loss Association of America exists to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy, and support.

When: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 6 PM
Welcome to the December 2009 issue of the HLAA-Manhattan News & Views! 2009 is quickly drawing to a close, and in many regards, it will go down as a memorable year. As we enter the holiday season, a time for fellowship, exchanging gifts, and acknowledging our loved ones, I’d like to invite everyone to our Manhattan Chapter holiday party on December 15. The festivities, to be held at the Olive Garden restaurant in Chelsea at 6 PM, will be in lieu of our regular chapter meeting. I’m particularly delighted we’re having the party here because the restaurant offers such delicious, moderately-priced Italian cuisine in a comfortable setting. See the box to the left for more details. Speaking of fellowship and gifts, it’s only fitting for me to share the fact that this Chapter has been a true blessing in my life. I hope that it has had a positive effect on your life, too.

Editor’s Corner – Elizabeth Stump

Where: The Olive Garden restaurant in Chelsea [696 Avenue of the Americas, between 22 and 23 St.]

Why: ‘Tis the season to celebrate each other, the Chapter’s successes, and the end of 2009!

How: Members will order off the full menu; each guest is responsible for one’s own bill.
*RSVP to Mary Fredericks is necessary (212-6749128 or!

Two things about the organization never cease to amaze me: the kindness, determination, and the intelligence of its members; and all the wonderful endeavors we have accomplished. (The second NYC Walk4Hearing we just held in October — which surpassed our goal of $150,000! — is a sterling example of our Chapter’s talents and commitment.) While I’m in no rush to get through the holiday season, I am definitely looking forward to furthering our successful advocacy and education efforts in the years ahead. No matter how you celebrate the holidays this season, before you open up your home to relatives or leave town for a vacation, don’t miss the chance to

2 join your friends in the Manhattan Chapter on December 15 for the last gathering in 2009. RSVP to Mary Fredericks (see pg. 4). Warm wishes for a jolly holiday season and a happy New Year’s Day! See you in 2010!
CHAPTER PLANNING COMMITTEE HLAA Manhattan Chapter Phone Number: (voice) (212) 769-HEAR (4327)

Barbara Bryan, Chapter Social Activities Barbara Dagen, Newsletter Committee Mary Fredericks, Secretary (212) 674-9128 Joe Gordon, Chapter Advocacy Consultant

Manhattan Chapter Annual Dues
Reminder: Please renew your Chapter dues! Mail or hand the completed form on the back of the N&V, along with your check for $15 payable to HLAA-Manhattan, to Mary Fredericks. It covers your one-year membership for the period September 1, 2009, to August 31, 2010.

Toni Iacolucci, NYC Walk4Hearing Co-chair; Advocacy Committee Chair
Shera Katz, Web Site Coordinator Elizabeth O’Leary Anne Pope, Immediate Past President, HLAA Board of Trustees; NYC Walk4Hearing Co-chair Ellen Semel, Planning Committee Chair (212) 989-0624 Susan Shapiro, Treasurer Dana Simon, Liaison for NYPL Elizabeth Stump, Chapter Newsletter Editor Diane Sussman, Posters and Flyers

National Dues Reminder
We hope you will also join or renew your membership in our national organization. Your separate $35 check for annual dues (see back page) is vitally needed to help support the educational and advocacy work we do at the national level. Your membership also includes a subscription to Hearing Loss Magazine.

Help the Chapter Go Green! Would you like to receive N&V by e-mail only rather than receive a mailed version to help us cut down on paper consumption and save money? It costs about $8 a year to provide one member with 10 issues — that’s more than half of one’s annual dues. Please notify to make this change. The Manhattan Chapter thanks you!

Professional Advisors: Josh Gendel, Technical Director, Center for Hearing

Next Month’s Meeting: Tues., Jan. 19, 2010, 5:30 PM Title: Audiograms Speaker: Michael Bergen, Director of Brooklyn College Speech and Hearing Center

and Communication (CHC)
Laurie Hanin, Ph.D, CCC-A Exec. Director, CHC Joseph Montano, Ed.D., Director, Hearing & Speech, Weill Cornell Medical College


Our speaker was Arlene Romoff, President of HLAA-New Jersey and a Board member of the Center for Hearing and Communication, who is a long-time advocate for people with hearing loss. She gave us a number of tips for surviving the holidays with a hearing loss. Many of us suffer some anxiety before holiday events, when we are in groups of people talking and laughing; it is easy to feel lost and alone. Among her recommendations: Focus on what you can do, not on the things you can’t do. Be pro-active. The situation is all about problem-solving (as is much of hearing loss). Use an auxiliary microphone to bring people’s speech closer to your ears or hearing aids/cochlear implants. Devices such as direct audio mics, FM systems and personal amplifiers can be very useful. Sit next to someone that you can hear easily. Don’t bluff – you’re fooling nobody. Say “I didn’t understand you.” Move to a quieter room for conversations with individuals. Be calm, patient, and assertive. People do want to assist you – they want you to know what they are saying. Tell them what you need: face you, speak more slowly, loudly. Be good to yourself. Listening is tiring for HoH people, so take a time-out from conversation. Take a bathroom break; help out in the kitchen; admire the art work on the walls in different rooms. It is never productive to vent. Anger solves nothing. Admit that “I need your help.” Someone once said that life is 1% of what happens to you, and 99% of your attitude towards it.

Arlene’s complete article, “Holiday Madness,” appeared in November/December 2008 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. You can access it on the Web site: After the presentation, Arlene autographed and sold copies of her book Hear Again: Back to Life with a Cochlear Implant relating her experiences with a CI. She is currently writing another book telling about her second CI.

More Holiday Communication Tips Print these out and give these to your family and friends who don’t have trouble hearing — so that they can communicate better with you during holiday gatherings. *Talk to me one-on-one in a quiet place. *Be visible so I can read lips and get my attention before speaking to me. *Rephrase a misheard word/sentence if I don't understand something. *Don't shout— but articulate clearly. Don't laugh if I misunderstand what you say, but correct me politely. *Don’t be dismissive (saying "Oh, never mind") and keep trying to include me in the conversation. For you: give yourself a break and enjoy the season! For more tips: visit the HLAA site at


Metropolitan Calendar
Tuesday, Dec. 15: No HLAA Chapter meeting! Instead, join us for a party at the Olive Garden in Chelsea at 6pm [696 Avenue of the Americas, between 22 and 23 St.] *You must RSVP to Mary Fredericks at or 212-674-9128. *Attendees are responsible for their own bills.

Smoke Alarms for the Hearing-Impaired The typical smoke alarm fails to wake up half of those who have hearing loss, according to data from a study by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Nearly three-quarters of those with hearing loss sleep through the strobe light alerting device. Because typical smoke alarms have high pitches, and usually people with hearing loss have the most trouble with hearing high pitches, the most effective alerting signal is a loud, low-pitched sound (92% effective). A pillow vibrator device is also more than 80% effective and more reliable than a strobe light alerting device. There are a few options that are appropriate and available for those with hearing loss. One, the Lifetone Bedside Fire Alarm and Clock, detects the high-pitched sound from a standard alarm and reproduces it as a low-pitched sound, and also vibrates the bed. (Visit The Loudenlow smoke detector produces a lowpitched alarm signal. And the Silent Call smoke alarm system transmits an alerting signal to a pillow vibrator. (Go to Don’t delay in testing your smoke alarm — if you can’t hear it without your hearing aids/cochlear implant turned on, check out the three devices listed above.

Friday, December 25: Christmas Day Thursday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Friday, January 1, 2010: New Year’s Day

Voice Amplified Phones *Registration is open for the 2010 annual national convention: June 17-20, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. —If you register for the full activity package by December 31, 2009, your name will go into a drawing for a free stay during the convention at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center! —There is a discount for first-time attendees. Most likely you’ve heard of amplified phones for the hearing-impaired. But what about amplified phones for those who are hearing-impaired AND have weak voices (such as from surgery or illness affecting the vocal cords)? For people who need phones that will amplify their own voice so that people on the other end will hear them, try using a combination of the Clarity XL30 phone and WS-2749 voice amplified transmit handset that works with this particular phone. This will increase the speaker’s voice by more than 26 dB. You can order it at HLAA E-news: Do you subscribe? It provides HLAA’s latest news every other week electronically. To sign up go to:

*Elizabeth O’Leary will succeed Susan Shapiro as Chapter Treasurer as of 1/1/10. *Thanks to Anne Pope, Gail Weiss, and Mary Sperling for their Chapter donations. *Condolences to Diane Sussman, whose cousin passed away.

5 Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Study Men are 2.5 times more at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) than women, according to a new study by Hamid Djalilian, MD, and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine. NIHL — resulting from exposure to high-intensity sound, especially over a long time — is increasingly prevalent in society but is preventable. The landmark study examined the prevalence and risk factors of NIHL in 5,290 people between the ages of 20 and 69 years. The results show that more than 13% of Americans (24 million) suffer from NIHL, with men significantly more likely to develop NIHL than women. Married white men are the highest risk group for developing NIHL. This study should further awareness, education, and prevention efforts, the authors said. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Kids 12.5% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 years of age (approximately 5,200,000 kids) in the U.S. have permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This significant hearing loss is from listening to sounds that are too loud. Noises above 85 decibels (dB) can damage the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, leading to NIHL. For comparison of dB levels, know that a whisper measures 30 dB, normal conversation is 60 dB, a hair dryer and vacuum cleaner are both 70 dB, heavy city traffic is 85 dB, a personal stereo system at high volume is 105 dB, and a siren is 120 dB. Parents need to help their children make smart decisions about the levels of their noise exposure, such as by turning down the volume on their iPods. Experts believe that the safe sound level is a maximum of 80 dB if the person is going to be exposed to the noise for a length of time. Teachers also need to remain cognizant that at least 1 out of every 8 kids has trouble hearing, and that hearing loss coping strategies should be implemented in the classroom in order to ensure the children understand the lesson plans. For more on hearing loss and kids, visit the Noisy Planet Web site at Coping Strategies for Hearing-Impaired Teachers As mentioned in the above article, teachers need to adapt their teaching strategies in order to reach children who are hearing-impaired. What happens when the teacher her-/himself has hearing loss? Teachers in this situation should first speak with the school administrators, who may have some tips to share. You should take note of the following procedural and instructional strategies for teaching normal-hearing students in a typical school environment. You can use many of the coping strategies that students, and others with hearing loss, need to use. For example, speechreading skills are vital, and there are programs available that will help you improve your speechreading. Take advantage of assistive devices like the superdirectional microphone. Plug it into a PockeTalker to hear better. In order to use the PockeTalker with your hearing aids, plug in a neckloop instead of ear buds. Here are some tips to employ in order to hear your students: 1. Hand out a sheet to students (and parents) at the beginning of each year that explains your hearing loss and what you need the students to do. 2. Seat the soft-spoken students near the front of the room so they are closer to you. 3. Maintain close proximity to the speaker — move down the aisle so you are closer to the student you are trying to hear. 4. Use a wireless FM microphone— pass it around to the student, who will then talk into the microphone. You will hear the voice via a neckloop and the FM receiver. 5. Have a student you can't hear write the question/answer on the chalkboard (or a piece of paper or their computer).

6 6. Keep your room well-lit (so you can speechread) and eliminate background noise. Relying more on written answers/questions instead of verbal communication will help if you still have trouble hearing your students. It’s important to research technological advances and computer software that will aid in the classroom. For example, students can use PowerPoint when making presentations, so that their talking points are clearly visible for the audience. Be creative! captions right now. But thanks to Google, this will now change!

New York City Walk4Hearing
Without volunteers, we have no Walk. And we had a raft of wonderful volunteers who worked for months beforehand and for weeks afterwards as well as on the big day itself. Very special recognition and thanks go to Suzanne D’Amico and to our Walk committee members Ken and Roberta Alterman, Hollace Goodman, Joe Gordon, Sonia Hon, Lenny Kleiman, Nicole Raia, Marilyn Ratner, Bob Young, and Gail Weiss who were planning from the very beginning.

Inspiration Corner “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” “The next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.” “This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good.”

Thanks to the members from three HLAA chapters who lent experienced hands: from Mid-Hudson, Pam Foody and Fluffy Butler; from Westchester, Melanie Brand, Karen Ratner, Roberta Seidner and Andrea and Steve Wolfert; and from our own Manhattan Chapter in addition to those listed above, Barbara Bryan, Mary Fredericks, Susan Immergut, Shera Katz, Elizabeth O’Leary, Ellen Semel, Susan Shapiro, Diane Sussman, and Wendy Wallace. Thanks to those whose special talents made our walk special as well: Lauren Schechter our CART reporter, and Beth Zuriff, Garrit Guadan, and Margie Ferrao our ASL interpreters; our photographers Barbara Dagen, Brian Nielson, Michael Ratner, and Evelyn Simon; our musicians, Gian Stone and Jafe Paulino; our clown, Bernie Balloons; our Fordham cheerleaders; and our first aid crew, Ruth Grannis, Dianna Floridia, Suvada Louthan, Gessie Nelson, and Christina Pena. Thanks to our volunteers who helped our Walk go smoothly and added energy and spirit to our rainy day: the students from NYU enlisted by Sonia Hon; the two troops of Girl Scouts from Staten Island; and to Arvind Singh and Jennifer Tibangin and their wonderful group of NY Cares volunteers. And last, but by no means least, to all our friends and family members who pitched in and helped in endless ways for months on end. —Walk Co-chairs Anne Pope & Toni Iacolucci

YouTube Captions Google has developed a way to use voicemail transcription technology to allow videos to be uploaded to the online video sharing site YouTube — with captions automatically generated! Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, who was the keynote speaker at the 2009 HLAA convention in Nashville, hosted Google’s official announcement event. Because of the time and expense of transcribing a video, uploading a caption, and timing it properly to the action onscreen, about 100,000 videos (out of millions) on the site have


Access to the Arts in New York City

OPEN-CAPTIONED THEATER - Find captioned theater listings nationwide on Theater Access Project (TAP) captions Broadway and Off-Broadway productions each month. Tickets are discounted. For listings & application or 212-221-1103, 212-71945377 (TTY) *Upcoming OPEN-CAPTIONED Shows: [See TAP for tickets] Radio City Christmas Spectacular (12/9, 5 PM; 12/10, 8 PM); Broadway Bound (12/19, 8 PM) OPEN-CAPTIONED MOVIES –
For updates, go to or REGAL BATTERY PARK STADIUM 11, 102 N. End Avenue–Vesey & West Streets (212) 945-4370.

REAR-WINDOW CAPTIONED MOVIES - For listings go to or Ask for a special window when buying your ticket. The window reflects the text that’s shown on the rear of the theater. AMC Empire on 42nd Street. (212) 398-2597, call Tues. afternoon for next week’s schedule Clearview Chelsea Cinemas, 260 W. 23rd St., Auditorium 4, 212-691-5519. The Bronx: AMC Cinema Bay Plaza, 718-320-1659. MUSEUMS WITH CAPTIONED EVENTS & ASSISTIVE DEVICES The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. 212-879-5500 Ext. 3561 (V), 212-570-3828 (TTY) Real-Time Captioning of lectures upon request – This service requires at least three weeks notice. Gallery Talk with ALDs (meet at gallery talk station, Great Hall) The Museum of Modern Art, 11 East 53rd St., Access Programs 212-408-6347 (V), 212-247-1230 (TTY), ALDs are available for lectures, gallery talks, & family programs. Real-time captioning for lectures is available upon request with three weeks notice. Infrared is available in Titus Theaters.

Airline Travel Action Guide The Air Carrier Access Act imposes rules for disability access at airports and on airlines. They prohibit airlines from discriminating against passengers on the basis of disability; require airlines to make aircraft and services accessible; and require airlines to accommodate passengers with a disability. Read more at rTravel_2009_guide.pdf.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know… What kind of question about hearing loss would you like to see answered on these pages by an audiologist, otolaryngologist (ENT: Ear, Nose, Throat doctor), or hearing instrument specialist for the “Ask the Expert” section? E-mail your questions to Elizabeth at with “Ask the Expert” in the subject line.

Online Young Adults Group All hard-of-hearing young adults (ages 18-35) who want to meet other hearing-impaired peers both locally and around the U.S should check out the social networking site HearingLossNation. It’s similar to the online Facebook, and provides opportunities for interaction with other HOH young adults that don’t always exist in daily school or work. Visit the site at

Mention of suppliers or devices in this newsletter does not mean HLAA-Manhattan endorsement, nor does exclusion suggest disapproval.


c/o Mary Fredericks, 520 E. 20th St., #8E New York, NY 10009


Please check your address label for the date of your last dues payment and, if you are a National member, there will be an “NM” after the date. Report any discrepancies to Mary Fredericks. Thanks!
Manhattan Chapter Annual Membership Application

Please complete and return this form, with your chapter dues of $15 (payable to HLAA-Manhattan) for the period September 1, 2009, to August 31, 2010 Send to: Mary Fredericks 520 East 20th St. (8E) New York, NY 10009
NAME (please print)_____________________

HLAA Membership Application Please complete and return this form, with your dues payment of $35 for a one-year membership (including subscription to Hearing Loss Magazine) To: HLAA Membership, 7910 Woodmont Ave. Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814.
NAME (please print)

ADDRESS/APT_____________________________ CITY/STATE/ZIP________________________ PHONE (Home or Work?)_________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS_______________________ SEND A NEWSLETTER BY E-MAIL YES NO MEMBER OF HLAA NATIONAL? YES NO HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT US? ________________________ ADDITIONAL DONATION_$_______________ TOTAL ENCLOSED_$____________________

ADDRESS/APT_____________________________ ____________ CITY/STATE/ZIP________________________ PHONE (Home or Work)__________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS_______________________ ARE YOU NOW A MEMBER OF HLAA NATIONAL? YES NO (receiving Hearing Loss Magazine)?______ IF YES, I.D. No.________________ ADDITIONAL DONATION_$_______________ TOTAL ENCLOSED_$____________________

HLAA is a volunteer association of hard of hearing people, their relatives and friends. It is a nonprofit, non-sectarian educational organization devoted to the welfare and interests of those who cannot hear well. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.