3 Day Journey to Hearing Heaven

11-07-2014

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. In 1979 Howard E. "Rocky" Stone, founded Self Help for the Hard of Hearing (SHHH) in the basement of his home to support, educate and advocate for the hard of hearing as well as introducing hearing induction loops to the Washington, DC area .

By 1982, SHHH's goal was to make hearing loss an issue of national concern using a TV News Show on "The Hurt That Does Not Show." Today 48 million Americans of all ages but primarily Seniors struggle every day to hear (understand) the spoken word). SHHH, now HLAA, has 175 chapters in 45 States.

Hearing loss leads to social isolation and increases dementia. Hearing is what connects us to people.

I attended my first HLAA Annual Convention in Austin, Texas with over 1100 people with hearing aids and cochlear implants who do not let hearing loss get in the way of social interaction. They came to Hearing Heaven for a 3 day hearing vacation where every room, meeting place and even the dance floor with Texas Country Western music has a professional Captioner writing the spoken (or sung) words and a hearing induction loop to send clear, audible words directly to the hearing aid and cochlear implant telecoils of its attendees as if angels are sitting on their shoulders talking directly into their ears. Sometimes the hearing loss listeners can just listen to the spoken word and just look at the speakers or singers to "hear" (understand). Sometimes the spoken or sung word cannot be understood without the help of the written word provided by Professional Captioners.

HLAA Convention Attendees get the listener's attention, face their listeners , speak loud & clear and repeat themselves often, because social isolation is not an option. We're having too much fun and coping just fine with the knowledge and support we get.

Ellen Haggerty
Chair, Rotarians for Hearing RAG