New England Newsletter

March 2021 Newsletter


  • March 2021 HLAA/Plymouth Meeting
  • HLAA/Plymouth Chapter Website
  • Support HLAA Plymouth Chapter through Amazon Smile
  • Member News
  • How Has HLAA Helped Me by Stephanie Blanchard, Chapter Treasurer
    • Death of member David Swanson
  • HLAA NYC Chapter Presentations
    • Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
    • Balance Problems and Dizziness
  • Other HLAA Chapter Presentations
  • HLAA 2021 National Convention
  • Miscellaneous Information
    • Cochlear Implants from HLAA Boston
    • Musicians with Hearing Loss
    • Living with Hearing Loss Blog – ZOOM ASR Caption is now FREE
    • World Hearing Day is March 3
    • National Gallery of Art – Art of Looking, with CART Captions
    • New Website on Hearing Loss and Technology Resouces
    • HLAA and Hearing Life
    • New Book by Deaf Rabbi, Darby Leigh
    • White House Press Briefings now have ASL Interpreter
    • New Director for Mass Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • March 2021 HLAA Plymouth Meeting

The next meeting of HLAA/Plymouth will be held on Wednesday, March 17 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm and the topic will be Wellness and Self-Care for People with Hearing Loss.

Melissa Anderson, PhD, MSCI, our speaker, is a Gallaudet University-trained psychologist and clinical researcher who strives to provide accessible behavioral healthcare to members of the U.S. Deaf community. Melissa is Director of the DeafYES! Center for Deaf Empowerment and Recovery, housed within UMass Medical School’s Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC). There will be time for questions at the end of her presentation.

To receive an email reminder about it, please send your name to:

The meeting will be captioned on Google Meet: If you have not requested to receive a reminder but wish to join us at the last moment, and/or have trouble logging on, Google Meet is now using our new chapter gmail,  You can email me at and I’ll send you a link to sign up. Please do not send an email during the meeting to, because I will not see this email until our meeting is over.

Hopefully, next year, we will be able to go back to in person meetings at the Plymouth Public Library. 

  • HLAA/Plymouth Chapter Website

Are you aware that our HLAA Plymouth Chapter has a website?  It’s   It’s not always up to date, but if we are having an upcoming meeting, you will most likely find the details about it on this site.  Please send your comments and feedback regarding it to or to our website editor, Linda Maloney at  We’d like to hear from you.  We also would like you to send us stories about you and your hearing loss for this newsletter.

  • Support HLAA Plymouth Chapter through Amazon Smile

Simply specify HLAA Plymouth as the charity you support! 

Member News

How Has HLAA Helped Me by Stephanie Blanchard, Chapter Treasurer (2/27/2021)

I have worn hearing aids for 44 years. When I started going to HLAA meetings in Plymouth and joined the National HLAA organization, I learned a great deal about hearing loss and hearing aids.

First, I was unsure about my present audiologist. I went to an HLAA Convention and visited in the Exhibit Hall the Phonak booth for that was my hearing aid company. They gave me the name of an audiologist in Plymouth for me to try. The audiologist did a hearing test and reset the program on the hearing aids. Everyone I met who knew me was surprised at how much my hearing had improved!  I had never been able to hear a person who spoke behind me, but now I can.

I volunteered to be the Treasurer for the HLAA Plymouth Chapter. Each meeting I would learn new things to help me hear and cope with hearing loss.

When I heard about the HLAA Convention in Rochester, NY. My husband and I went and continued to learn new things.

One problem I continued to have was hearing someone speak when there was background noise. I learned about an accessory that would help called a Roger. Many businesspeople use it for meetings as they can point the Roger towards the person they are trying to hear. This tool relies on Blue tooth. Just recently I purchased new hearing aids with Blue Tooth and a Roger. My husband and I had dinner in a noisy restaurant on Valentine’s Day and with the Roger in front of him I clearly heard everything he said the Roger sent the voice directly into my hearing aid. This was a first for us in 52 years of marriage.

I continue to learn new things at every meeting. I encourage you to do the same.

Death of member David Swanson

Unfortunately, last fall, one of our active HLAA members, David Swanson, from Cape Cod, passed from COVID.  To see his picture or read his obituary, go to:  Dave Swanson

  • HLAA NYC Chapter Presentations

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Tuesday, 2 March 2021,   6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Virtual Meeting – Link:

Organizer: HLAA NYC 212-769- HEAR (4327)

Dr. Kevin Franck, Vice Chair of the HLAA Board of Directors and Senior Vice President at Frequency Therapeutics

Balance Problems and Dizziness

The HLAA NYC Chapter had a virtual captioned meeting on February 2, 2021 about balance problems and dizziness that is available on youTube: Dr. Maura Cosetti of Mount Sinai Hospital spoke about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of balance problems and dizziness, as well as the ongoing research and exercises aimed at addressing these problems. She was joined by vestibular therapist, Jennifer Kelly of the New York Eye and Ear Hospital, and Andrea Feghali, a nurse practitioner with an interest in dizziness, especially in the elderly:

Other HLAA Chapter Presentations

Since the pandemic started, many HLAA chapters across the country are now sending their meeting links to all interested.  If you are a national HLAA member, you should be getting these meeting links.

Margaret Myatt from the Hearing Loss Central MA Chapter, organizes all these meetings on a calendar:

Here is an example of an interesting calendar listing:

Topic “How to Be That Fabulous Person with Hearing Loss!”
When:  Sat, March 13, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

We spend a lot of time saying that we want to hear better, that we need to communicate better, that hearing loss is a journey with ups and downs along the way. It’s time to up our game with a more positive spin. It’s time for each of us to break out and be That Fabulous Person with Hearing Loss! This presentation is a humorous but realistic look at how we can live more positively with our hearing loss. Register in advance for this meeting:

  • HLAA 2021 National Convention

Save the Date:  June 24-26, 2021

HLAA 2021 Convention is going virtual! Join us June 24-26, 2021 for the world’s premier event for people with hearing loss—safely from the comfort of your own home! This three-day event will be jam-packed with the same robust educational workshops, innovative HLAA exhibitors, and unique networking opportunities you are used to having at HLAA Conventions.

  • Miscellaneous Information

Cochlear Implants from HLAA Boston

For anyone interested in cochlear implants, the HLAA Boston Chapter had a meeting on cochlear implants on Saturday, February 27.  For more information, contact the HLAA Boston Chapter. Contacts:

Audiologist:  Eva Bero, Director of Audiology, Lahey Clinic,, (781) 744-2528- direct, (781) 744-5100- main

Implant Surgeon:  Dr. Daniel Lee,, (617) 573-3130

CI Representatives:  Sarah Laurello, Advanced Bionics,, (661) 289-4543 (call and text)

Megan Frey, Cochlear Americas,

Alyssa Somplasty, MED-EL,

Musicians with Hearing Loss

TheAssociation of Adult Musicians With Hearing Loss had a winter webinar on February 28, 2021. Dr. Brad Ingrao provded an update on developments, trends, and limitations of hearing aids/cochlear implant processors and bone-anchored devices for musicians with hearing loss.

Deaf composer Jay Alan Zimmerman, creator of the Incredibly Deaf Musical
( and Seeing Music visualizers ( with Google, debuts his new “Hearing Visualizer” that transforms audiograms into easy-to-understand, positive, and intuitive visualizations of hearing plus shows how that ability is enhanced by various hearing devices.

Living with Hearing Loss – ZOOM ASR Captioning is now FREE

Shari Eberts of NYC, writes a Living with Hearing Loss blog. On Feb 25, 2021 she wrote: Congratulations! Our voices have been heard! Zoom has announced it will make ASR Captioning FREE for people with hearing loss. All the details are in this blog post. Advocacy works!

If you want to attend a Zoom meeting and wish to have it captioned, you need to contact the host and ask to have the Live Transcript set up ahead of time.  This cannot be done during a Zoom meeting unless the host knows how to activate it once she/he sees you on the screen.  After the captions are activated, you need to click  on CC on the bottom of your screen. 

If you need step-by-step instructions to activate Live Transcript (closed captioning, subtitles, automatic speech recognition – all the same on Zoom) please email  I’ll be happy to spread the word so more Zoom meetings are hearing accessible.  If you attend any HLAA or ALDA meetings (Association of Late Deafened Adults), they already are captioned, so you don’t have to request this.

World Hearing Day is March 3

On March 3, join Noisy Planet, the World Health Organization (WHO), and others in spreading the message about healthy hearing in observance of World Hearing Day. This year’s theme is Hearing care for ALL! Screen. Rehabilitate. Communicate. Noisy Planet observes this annual event by encouraging you and your family to practice safe listening habits with these simple steps:

  • Lower the volume.
  • Move away from the noise.
  • Wear hearing protectors, such as earplugs or protective earmuffs.

For more information, see:

National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art – Art of Looking, with CART Captions

Lorena Bradford from the Accessible Programs and Projects, National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC  invited all HLAA members to a weekly online program called The Art of Looking. The sessions take place on Fridays from 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern, and CART captions are offered in one of the virtual meeting rooms. More information at: This program is free and open to the publi

New Website on Hearing Loss and Technology Resouces

Andrea Kaneb, who lives in New Hampshire and has participated in Boston HLAA Chapter meetings, is a wonderful resource for people with hearing loss wanting to explore what kind of technology is available to help them hear. She has an engineering background and is a graduate of HLAA’s N-CHATT program. Andrea has just launched a new website with lots of helpful information and she does a great job of combining technological know-how with a personal touch. Check it out!

Andrea will be our HLAA Plymouth Chapter’s guest speaker on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.  Topic:  Latest Technology for Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants.  This will be our final meeting of the 2020-2021 year.

HLAA and Hearing Life

Are you aware that the HLAA National Office moved from Bethesda, Maryland to Rockville, Maryland?  Also, the magazine Hearing Life now is published quarterly now, instead of bimonthly.  To become a member or to renew your HLAA membership, go to:

HLAA members not only receive Hearing Life but Hearing Life e-News.  See  an example of Hearing Life here: Hearing Life e-News

New Book by Deaf Rabbi, Darby Leigh

Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St., Concord announced that the congregation’s rabbi, Darby Leigh, of Newton, is the second author of the chapter, “Religion and Deaf Identities” in the newly released book “Deaf Identities — Exploring New Frontier.” The book by Irene Leigh, Leigh’s mother, and Catherine O’Brien, offers an academic, multicultural perspective on deaf identities and experiences.

Rabbi Leigh is one of few deaf rabbis in the world. As an expert in Torah, who has travelled extensively teaching Torah analysis, he could offer the full analysis of moving in deaf and non-deaf religious worlds.

For information, visit and

White House Press Briefings now have ASL Interpreter

Betsy Stengel, a member of our planning committee, pointed out earlier in the year that President Joe Biden now has regular press briefings with an American Sign Language Interpreter. The White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the move was “part of this administration’s accessibility and inclusion efforts.”

The previous administration under former President Donald Trump was sued last year over accessibility of its briefings, and a judge ordered in the fall that it had to provide a sign language interpreter for its updates on the coronavirus crisis, as NBC News reported at the time

New Director for Mass Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

MCDHH (Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) is pleased that Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa will be leading the agency beginning on March 1st. MCDHH provides accessible communication, education, and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities so that programs, services, and opportunities throughout Massachusetts are fully accessible to persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.