May-June 2018       212-769-HEAR

Sunday, September 23
This year’s Walk4Hearing will take place on Sunday, September 23, at 9 AM in Riverside Park, starting at 97 th Street. As in the past, the event will feature refreshments and activities for children, all in an atmosphere of camaraderie. You will be surrounded by others who face the daily challenges of hearing loss, either their own or a loved one’s.
We encourage you to join the HLAA-NYC chapter’s official team, Walk New York! Contributions to the Walk are shared by HLAA national and the local chapter, and are the main source of support for the Chapter’s programs. It’s not too soon to sign up and make your donation. In fact, we have already raised more than $3,000. Click here to go to our team page, then click the green “Join Team” box at the top right and follow the prompts.
Through its advocacy and educational programs, HLAA has been responsible for enriching the lives of thousands. As a result of HLAA’s efforts, most NYC movie theaters now have captioning devices, and many Broadway shows have open captioned performances. In addition, hearing loops have been installed in many theaters and concert halls. HLAA has also taken the lead in educating those with hearing loss about how to take advantage of technological developments.

If you have benefited from HLAA’s programs, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and keep HLAA going strong.
At the Awards and Annual Meeting held on May 15, $1,000 awards and one-year complimentary HLAA memberships were presented to three college-bound high school seniors with hearing loss—Dounia Decker of Talent Unlimited High School in Manhattan, Sharia Jabar of Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, and Eileen Rodriquez of the Urban Assembly Maker Academy in Manhattan. In addition, New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal received HLAA-NYC’s Community Service Award for her legislative work on behalf of people with hearing loss. (From left to right in the photo: Eileen Rodriguez, Katherine Bouton, Dounia Decker, Helen Rosenthal.)

Dounia, who will attend SUNY Purchase where she plans to major in multimedia arts, participated in her high school’s squash team and was a member of the Debate Workshop and the ARISTA Honors Society. In the essay section of her award application, Dounia mentioned that she is more independent because her Roger Easy Pen, a wireless microphone, “translates who is speaking directly into my ears.” She also stressed that “My disabled self is not unbearable, but a loss that has given me value in simple things."

Sharia, who is headed to the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, was unable to attend the meeting because it conflicted with Ramadan. Born profoundly deaf in Bangladesh, Sharia uses ASL to communicate; he wasn’t fitted with hearing aids until his family moved to the United States when he was in elementary school. In his essay Sharia attested, “I excel at and love ASL. I feel free and I’m able to communicate. The teachers here teach me new words and again this opens communication for me. I love learning. I’m so proud of myself and the improvements I have made since arriving in America.”
Eileen, who will attend SUNY Binghamton, has a severe to profound bilateral hearing loss. In addition to achieving academic excellence, she was on her school wrestling and badminton teams. In her essay, Eileen thanked her mother, her special education teacher, and “the amazing biotechnology that assists me.” The essay’s penultimate paragraph reads, “I will take this pain and use it to transform myself into something greater than my challenges. I aspire to engineer something revolutionary that will help people and children like myself cope with opportunities that I never had. In the next challenge of my life in college, it is my goal to research hair cell regeneration within the human ear anatomy. In exploring this, I have found a passion unbeknownst to me before, but directly related to my human experience. I am becoming and I am thriving.”
In accepting HLAA’s Community Service Award, Helen Rosenthal described her successful efforts to enact three disability rights laws. One new regulation requires that every city department have designated staff members for disability rights and services. (A list of those coordinators is on the HLAA-NYC website.) The second bill requires the inclusion of accessibility notices of announcements of city government meetings and events. The third mandates the installation of hearing loops in at least one meeting area of new and renovated city-financed edifices with a base cost of $950,000. 

Councilwoman Rosenthal said, “We are seeing state of the art public buildings going up paid for with our tax dollars, and although the buildings have all the bells and whistles, the needs of those with hearing loss were excluded. It was our job to make government aware of those needs.” She concluded, “All three bills open up access to civic participation. Please go through those new open doors, and make sure government is serving you. And serving you well. And if you don’t think it is, call my office, 212‑873‑0282. Or visit my website, . Thank you again for this honor.”
Research audiologist Kelly Tremblay, a professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, spoke about how the brain processes sound—and the interventions that help people with hearing loss make better use of sound.

According to Professor Tremblay, “Losing the ability to communicate through hearing can result in social isolation, loss of independence, and difficulty advocating for yourself in medical settings.” She continued, “Of the people who need hearing help, only 25 percent of them get hearing aids, and only half of those people continue to use the aids.” The reason? Professor Tremblay’s theory is that individual listening experiences—in addition to the effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants—depend on the ability to process sound. “Making hearing aids more affordable and accessible is a priority,” she stated, “but even the most high-tech device has to go through a biological pathway that has been affected not only by age, but by the way hearing loss impacts the brain.”

In addition to making hearing aids more affordable and accessible, Professor Tremblay recommends acoustics analysis to determine how well hearing aids and cochlear implants are working, and auditory training to improve sound perception. “Hearing is not about making devices louder; it’s about sending the best signal to the brain,” she said.

As part of her efforts to help people with hearing loss to remain socially connected, Professor Tremblay and her family developed iHEARu, a free app that assesses noise levels in public places and helps users find “ear friendly” restaurants, airports, and other public places. For more information, go to .

No meetings in June, July, or August

September 25
Speaker: HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley
Topic: What HLAA National Does for You

October 10
Speakers: Juliette Sterkens and Karen McClennan
Topic: Bluetooth and Telecoils To Hear in Hearing Loops and Beyond

Location : Community Church of New York, 40 E. 35th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues)

Do you know that every department of NYC government now has someone designated to facilitate assistance to people with hearing loss and other disabilities? HLAA-NYC helped get the law (Local Law 27) enacted to make direct access available to all branches of city government.
The facilitators can help you to obtain CART (real-time open captioning) or confirm the availability of an assistive listening system at a meeting or event. You can find the name, telephone number, and email address of these Disability Service Facilitators:
• On, c hoose Disability Service Facilitators from the “Resources” drop-down menu.

• On the website of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD).

• By contacting Eli Fresquez of MOPD at 212-788-2548, or at
 Those who are hard of hearing or deaf, have low vision or are blind, who cannot climb stairs, who require aisle seating or wheelchair locations, who are on the autism spectrum or have other developmental or cognitive disabilities, can find out everything they need to know to choose a show, buy tickets, and plan their trip to Broadway by visiting TheatreAccessNYC . I

A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to a sound system. The loop transmits the sound electromagnetically to the telecoil (t-coil) in a hearing aid or cochlear implant. 


Thanks to advocacy efforts by HLAA-NYC members, more and more venues in the metropolitan area are now looped. Click here to see the latest list of looped sites. The list was compiled by HLAA-NYC members Alexandra Lutz and Ellen Semel.
From the Nederlander Organization
Gershwin: Wicked
Minskoff: The Lion King
Richard Rodgers: Hamilton
Lunt-Fontanne:  Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
From the Shubert Organization
Bernard B. Jacobs: The Iceman Cometh
Lincoln Center
Vivian Beaumont: My Fair Lady
Mitzi Newhouse Theater

Second Stage
Helen Hayes Theater: Straight White Men (June 29 to Sept. 9)
Irish Repertory Theater: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (June 15 to Aug. 12)
Westside Theatre (Upstairs Theatre): Vitaly (beginning June 13)
As the nation's leading organization for people with hearing loss, we provide information, education, support, and advocacy for the millions of Americans coping with hearing loss. Join online  or download a  membership form .

Searching for the perfect way to observe a loved one's birthday, anniversary, or special occasion, OR to honor the memory of someone special? Please consider making a gift to HLAA-NYC Chapter to support our efforts.  

You can donate  online  or by mailing a check (payable to HLAA-NYC) to HLAA-NYC Chapter, P.O. Box 602, Radio City Station, New York, NY 10101. Include name and address. An acknowledgement will be mailed. Donations are tax deductible.