New England Newsletter

February 2020 Newsletter


  • President’s Letter
    • Program on Cochlear Implants on March 21 at the Watertown Public Library
    • Deaf Program on March 25 at the Plymouth Public Library
  • Spring HLAA Meetings
    •  Board Meeting on Friday, March 6 at 11 am  
    • \General Meeting on March 18 at 7:00 pm
    • General Meeting on May 20 at 7:00 pm
  • National Convention in New Orleans June 18-21
  • News of Interest
    • Book Recommendation
    • American Girl Doll
  • Amazon Smile Reminder
  • Open Captioned Performances

President’s Letter

It’s already the middle of February, which means spring is around the corner!

Next month, our chapter is having two meetings:  A board meeting on Friday, March 6 and a general meeting on Wednesday, March 18.  Details are in this newsletter.

There are also some other hearing loss related meetings in March that may be of interest to you:

  • If anyone is considering a cochlear implant, on March 21 there will be representatives from the three major cochlear implant companies discussing what’s new with CIs.  This meeting, part of the HLAA Boston Chapter, will be held at the Watertown Public Library, 123 Main Street, Watertown. If interested, contact Betty Hauck at  
  • On Wednesday, March 25, at the Plymouth Public Library, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm (formal program from 6 to 8 pm) will be a panel of adults who are deaf or hard of hearing speak to students and young adults (18-30).  This program is to offer advice, encouragement and support for navigating middle/high school, college, and the working world.  Cara Jordan, a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in the Duxbury Public Schools, is coordinating it. Anyone interested in joining the panel of deaf and hard of hearing adults needs to contact Sandy Spekman ( who will contact Cara Jordan.

I look forward to seeing you at our meetings!
Sandy Spekman, President, HLAA/Plymouth Chapter

Spring HLAA Plymouth Chapter Meetings

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

  • Friday, March 6 at 11 am – The HLAA Board Meeting is open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about HLAA and our chapter.  It will be held am in the board room of the Plymouth Public Library.  All are welcome to join us.  This will give you an opportunity to learn more about what we do, what HLAA is all about, and how to help others with a hearing loss.
  • Wednesday, March 18 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm – This HLAA General Meeting is also listed on the Plymouth Public Library’s March calendar of events.  The program is called:  A Life in Music Lost and Found – A Talk and Play, by Betty Hauck, Violinist.  Betty will not only perform for us on both the violin and viola, she will tell us her story of how she was a professional violist and lost her hearing due to a progressive hearing loss.   CART (captioning) will be provided as well as assistive listening devices with headsets and loops.  A flier can be found here.
  • Wednesday, May 20 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm – This is the last HLAA General Meeting before summer break. The topic will be Travel Tips for People with Hearing Loss.  Ruth Bernstein, hearing loss advocate who also writes an e-newsletter and blog for the Center for Hearing and Communication in NYC, will present.

National Convention in New Orleans June 18-21  For more information, see:  Our chapter will sponsor anyone who wishes to attend by paying for their registration fee.  The Early Bird Registration fee deadline is March 2.  First timers to the HLAA Convention may also apply for scholarships (up to $800) to cover expenses.  Apply by February 21 at: 

News of Interest

Amazon Smile Reminder

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.

Open Captioned Performances

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

First Sunday of the Month 2 pm Closed Captioning at the Priscilla Beach Theatre:

Sunday, May 3 Sisters of Swing
Sunday, June 7 She Loves Me
Sunday, July 5 Mama Mia!
Sunday, August 2 Monty Python’s Spamalot!
Sunday, September 6 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Sunday, October 4 The Addams Family

–   Broadway in Boston For information about Broadway in Boston’s accessibility:

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

–   Trinity Rep  For information about Trinity Rep’s accessibility:

  • 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):

  • 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:  

  • 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): 

  • 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:

  • 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

If a performing arts theatre or cultural arts center near you does not offer open captioning, please ask for it.  Many people with hearing loss need open captioning to fully enjoy it, yet very few even speak up to ask.  As a result, the performing arts theatres and cultural centers staff assume that they are providing everything required of them.  Some of us need to think of the term “hearing accessibility”, such as captioning for live theaters.   Most performing arts theatres provide physical accessibility by providing a wheelchair ramp or elevator – and they think that that’s enough.  Those of us with severe-to-profound hearing losses are left out.  Using an audio enhancement headset can be frustrating because they don’t always work, or the battery could be dead.  This could happen in the middle of a performance!  Even when using headsets, some still need captioning to understand the song lyrics.  Those who need captioning should have equal access.   The HLAA Convention is totally hearing accessible with looping and captioning at every single event and/or presentation.  Those 3-4 days at the convention are wonderful – but what about the rest of the year?  Where’s the hearing accessibility?  Maybe you’ll find it in large cities.   What about our smaller communities? That’s where YOU can advocate for what you need.  One person can make a difference!