New England Newsletter

November 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter Topics

  • President’s Letter
  • Upcoming Events
    • HLAA/Plymouth General Meeting – November 20
    • HLAA/Plymouth Board Meeting – Jan 3, 2020
  • Past Events – Walk4Hearing was on October 27
  • Amazon Smile Reminder
  • GalaPro
  • How To Survive a Family Gathering When You Have Hearing Loss
  • Tentative 2020 HLAA/Plymouth Meeting Schedule
  • Open Caption Performances
    • Priscilla Beach Theatre
    • Falmouth Theatre Guild
    • Broadway in Boston
    • Trinity Rep
    • Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University
    • American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University
    • New Repertory Theatre
    • Huntington Theatre Company

Click here to join HLAA National. Visit our chapter website at:


HLAA celebrates 40 years this November!  Of course, we also celebrate Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season.  It’s that time of the year when we can be thankful for what we have.  For those of us with hearing loss, we can be thankful for new technology, which allows us to hear better.  This allows us to have friendships, an active social life, and be active in our communities

We are thankful for HLAA being a part of our lives.  The mission of HLAA is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy.  The National HLAA office staff members work hard to accomplish this mission, as well as volunteers in our local chapters.  We’re continually learning new things.  For example, one of our members is attending an upcoming Broadway performance and asked me what she can do to be able to hear it at a Broadway performance. Besides using the assistive devices or looping, which all theatres are required to have by the ADA law, I told her about GalaPro, which many Broadway performances now have in addition to the assistive devices.  GalaPro is an app that allows users to watch live performances with captioning or audio description (for the visually impaired) on their phones.  Users can use their own phone or tablet device, as well as their own headphones or personal neckloop, to listen to descriptions of a live performance in real time.  This is one example of hearing accessibility making progress.  GalaPro, to my knowledge, is most likely found in big cities.  It hasn’t moved to smaller areas of the country yet.  We’ve achieved hearing access at the movies, but we don’t have it for live entertainment.  GalaPro can also translate a live performance into one’s native language, such as Spanish.  Check it out at

We need to learn to advocate for live captioning at more live theatres in Southeast Massachusetts and Cape Cod.  Instead of waiting for it to happen, YOU can to be the catalyst for change.  You can ask for hearing accessibility.  It’s your right under the ADA under “effective communication”.  Effective to me means live captioning as well as an assistive device.

HLAA meetings can help you learn how to ask for what you need.  We need more people to become hearing advocates.  As a member of HLAA, not only will you have an opportunity to meet other people like yourself, you’ll also learn more about hearing technology. 

You’re invited to join our board at our next board meeting on January 3, 2020.  What a great way to welcome the New Year!  This meeting is from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Plymouth Public Library, upstairs in the second-floor board room.  We need YOU to become part of our team as well as to learn how to advocate your hearing needs.  Not only will you meet others with similar goals and expectations, you’ll be helping others who don’t know how to advocate.

Sandy Spekman
President, HLAA/Plymouth Chapter


HLAA/Plymouth General Meeting –Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 20 at 7 pm at the Plymouth Public Library. The topic is Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids and the speaker is Kevin Franck.  Click here for more information.

HLAA/Plymouth Board Meeting – We need YOU to join in on our committees, such as advocacy, looping, captioning. etc.  Our chapter also needs a secretary.  Our next board meeting is on Friday, January 3 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Plymouth Public Library in the second-floor board room.  Please let Sandy know at if you plan to attend so we have enough copies of the handouts.  Being on the board gives you a chance to get more involved with others with a hearing loss while also bringing about change to our communities.  Our board needs your support – so please join us on January 3.  Start out the New Year by doing something good for yourself and for others!


HLAA/Plymouth’s member Petie Blanchard participated in the Walk this year on October 27 and so far, she has raised $2095!   She’s still collecting donations so it’s not too late to donate if you would like to do so.  To donate on Petie’s Walk4Hearing webpage, click here.  You can also bring a check, made out to:  Walk4Hearing to our next meeting on November 20.  You can also mail her a check.  Please request home address by contacting her via email at

Our chapter raises funds through Amazon Smile:  Our link is: or the Hearing Loss Association of America Plymouth Chapter.  When you buy something from Amazon, if you set it up through this link, a portion of your total goes back to our chapter from Amazon.


GalaPro is an app that allows for users to watch live performances with audio description or captioning in their language. Users can use their own phone or tablet device, as well as their own headphones, to listen to descriptions of a live performance in real time.  Many Broadway performances are now using GalaPro.  If your live theatre doesn’t have GalaPro, please ask for it: 

How to Survive a Family Gathering When You Have Hearing Loss – This month’s recommended read is: “How to Survive a Family Gathering When You Have Hearing Loss” from,

TENTATIVE 2020 HLAA/Plymouth Meeting Schedule

All meetings are at the Plymouth Public Library, 132 South St., Plymouth

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7-8:30 pm
Ask the Audiologist
Dr. Melissa Campbell, Audiologist, CCC-A

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 7-8:30 pm
A Life in Music Lost and Found – A Talk and Play
Betty Hauck, Violinist

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 7-8:30 pm
Travel Tips for People With Hearing Loss
Ruth Bernstein, Hearing Loss Advocate your favorite songs when watc


If a performing arts theatre or cultural arts center near you does not offer open captioning or remote CART, please ask for it.  Many people with a hearing loss need open captioning to enjoy the performance, yet very few ask for it.  As a result, the performing arts theatres and cultural centers staff assume that they are providing everything required of them.  Some of us need hearing accessibility, such as captioning, for live theater.  Some performing arts theatres think that by providing a wheelchair ramp or elevator, that’s enough.  Those of us with hearing loss are left out.  Asking for the audio enhancement headsets can be frustrating because they don’t always work or the battery goes dead.  Some of us still miss out on understanding the song lyrics even with the headsets.  Please ask for live captioning!

– Priscilla Beach Theatre

The Priscilla Beach Theatre will again be providing open captioning on the first Sunday of their six productions for the upcoming season.  You need to request open captioning and it’ll be set up for you at your seat.  You can request a headset with headphones or a personal neckloop that works with your hearing aids or cochlear implants on t-coil or telecoil setting.  If you aren’t sure what the telecoil is, please ask your audiologist or HLAA chapter members familiar with this technology.   The national HLAA webpage – – also has information under the topic of “Hearing Help”.

–   Falmouth Theatre Guild

  • She Loves Me – November 15 7:30 pm
    For more information, click here.

–   Broadway in Boston

For information about Broadway in Boston’s accessibility, see

  • Cats – Saturday January 11, 2020 at 2 pm
  • The Band’s Visit – Saturday March 28, 2020 at 2 pm

–   Trinity Rep

For information about Trinity Rep’s accessibility, see

  • Fade – Sunday, December 8 at 2 pm and Wednesday Dec 18 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
  • August Wilson’s Radio Golf – Sunday January 2, 2020 at 2 pm and Wednesday, January 12, 2020 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Sunday February 23, 2020 at 2 pm and Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
  • Sweat – Sunday March 5, 2020 at 2 pm, and Wednesday, March 15, 2020 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
  • Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barer of Fleet Street – Sunday, April 26 at 3 pm and Wednesday, May 13 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm

–   Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University

All performances at the Wheelock Family theatre are open captioned.  For a complete schedule, see  The following are ASL (American Sign Language) & AD (Audio Described) performances (ALL performances have open captioning):

  • Little Women, the Musical – February 9 and 12 at 2 pm
  • The Little Prince  – April 26 at 2 pm and May 23 at 2 pm
  • Bud, Not Buddy  – May 16 at 2 pm

–   American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University

The following performances at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University have Open Captioning:  

  • Moby Dick – January 9 at 7:30 pm and January 11 at 2 pm
  • Gloria: A Life – February 20 at 7:30 pm and February 22 at 2 pm
  • 1776 – June 25 at 7:30 pm and June 27 at 2 pm

The theatre will maintain holds for anyone wishing to use the Open Captioning service and can best accommodate patrons over the phone at 617-547-8300 or email at Hours of operation: Tuesday-Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm or until 30 minutes prior to any performance at the Loeb Drama Center.

–   New Repertory Theatre

The New Repertory Theatre was selected for the Theatre Development Fund’s Open Captioning grant. There will be six performances with open captioning for the coming season (all performances are at 3 pm): 

  • Oliver! – December 14th
  • Hair – February 8th
  • Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill – April 11th
  • August Wilson’s Fences – May 9th

25 seats will be reserved in the front of the side section with the best view of the open caption system, for those who are part of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community.  When making a reservation, just be sure to mention that you’d like to take advantage of that service, and the box office will make sure to give you priority for those seats.

–  Huntington Theatre Company

The 2020 season Open Caption performances at the Huntington Theatre Company are:

  • We All Fall Down: January 21 7:30 pm and January 29 at 7:30 pm
  • Sweat: February 12 at 2 pm and February 18 at 7:30 pm
  • Our Daughters, Like Pillars: March 31 at 7:30 pm and April 8 at 2 pm
  • The Bluest Eye: May 5 at 7:30 pm and May 13 at 2 pm

Tickets are $20 for each patron with slight to profound hearing loss. To reserve tickets, please contact Director of Education Meg O’Brien at 617 273 1558 or email  For more information, see