November-December 2018       212-769-HEAR

December 18 Chapter Meeting
Suzanne B. Waltzman, Co-Director of the Cochlear Implant Center at NYU, and Jessica Galatioto, Director of Audiology at Columbia University Medical Center, will answer questions.

Tuesday, December 18
Socializing and refreshments, 5:30-6 pm
Meeting, 6-8 pm
The Community Church of New York Assembly Room
40 East 35th Street
 (between Madison and Park Avenues) 

CART (real-time captioning) provided by Lauren Schechter of  TotalCaption .  In addition, the meeting room is equipped with an induction loop that transmits sound directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants equipped with telecoils. An ASL interpreter will be provided with five business days notice.
Accessible New York
The speakers (shown in the photo from left to right) were Gregory Farber of SoundPrint (an app that measures restaurant noise), HLAA members Holly Cohen and Ruth Bernstein, and Kyle Wright of the Shubert Organization, who introduced GalaPro (an app that provides captioning at live theater).

For those who missed the meeting, read the following to learn more about the four presentations.

SOUNDPRINT - Greg Farber
What is SoundPrint?
The SoundPrint app was created to identify restaurants, bars and cafes where noise does not interfere with conversation.
• To be a platform where users help each other discover quieter or noisier venues by measuring and submitting noise ratings.
• To educate the public about hearing health and noise pollution.
• To educate venue owners on how to optimize the noise level to create a more pleasant atmosphere for patrons and protect hearing health for patrons and employees.

How to Use SoundPrint
Users find noise ratings of venues that have been crowdsourced nationwide. The ratings produce SoundPrint’s proprietary, curated “Quiet Lists” of venues that consistently measure “Quiet” or “Moderate.” The Quiet List is available at

SoundPrint benefits anyone who prefers socializing in quieter venues, as well as those with hearing loss. Research shows that most people with normal hearing prefer quieter places and don’t return to a place that is too noisy.

To learn how to use the Soundprint app, click here.

TDF - Holly Cohen
Holly, a hearing loss advocate and past president of HLAA-NYC Chapter as well as a TDF trustee, spoke about TDF Accessibility Programs (TAP). TAP offers open-captioned performances for theatergoers who are deaf or have hearing loss. This service is featured in every issue of News & Views. Scroll down for more information or click here to go to the TDF website. Holly also explained how infrared and FM amplification systems work in theaters, and she described movie captioning offered by AMC an d Regal theaters.

A hearing loss advocate and longtime HLAA-NYC board membe r , Ruth advised using the internet to access cultural websites. For example, go to, then click on the RESOURCES tab at the top of the home page for a list of hearing accessible venues, including theaters, movies, and museums. Other websites that list accessibility programs include:

The Americans with Disabilities Act says we are legally entitled to access," Ruth said. "A growing, visible, and vocal market of people with hearing loss will encourage cultural organizations to provide the necessary help.” She continued, “When you go to a cultural institution in the New York area or elsewhere, check for access in advance so you can request it if it’s not available. If you don’t find what you want, contact customer relations, the executive director, or the president of the organization via their website. Describe what you need and why you need it. Send an e-mail that says: 'I’m (profoundly) hard of hearing and wear two hearing aids. In order to enjoy this event (give the name, date, and time), I need an assistive listening device with a neck loop and CART (real-time captioning) or an audio looped room .' Afterward , thank the person who made it possible for you to enjoy the event. If necessary, offer constructive criticism with ideas on how to solve the problem(s)."
GALAPRO - Kyle Wright
Kyle introduced GalaPro, the app for on-demand captioning at Broadway theaters. Read below to learn about GalaPro's vision and how it works.
Our Vision 
GalaPro is a first-of-its-kind mobile application that enables attendees to understand the stories unfolding on stage no matter which language is being spoken or what accessibility needs they have. GalaPro is compatible with any smartphone or tablet and can cater to any theater, venue, and language. People from all over the world are now able to go to accessible performances on demand, as well as understand and follow performances in their own language. 

For Users/Patrons 
GalaPro requires a one-time installation of the app, which can be downloaded for free from the App/Google Play store. The user can then choose what service they need during the performance. All services are provided in real time as the show is running on stage. Our unique technology is designed specifically to adhere to and respect the strict rules of theater. 

Airplane mode is always on so there will be no phone calls or messages, and a black screen with red or gray lettering is designed so that only the individual looking at their own personal device can see the screen. This feature prevents other theater guests from being disturbed or distracted. 
GalaPro is currently used in most Broadway productions. See current available list here.
Bluetooth and Telecoils:
Hear in Hearing Loops and Beyond
Audiologists Karen MacLennan and Juliette Sterkens talked about Bluetooth, hearing loops, and telecoils.

Juliette (pictured at left) began the program by noting that hearing loss has three components. The first is audibility—the ability to hear with pure tones. The second is the distortion component. For people who have significant hearing loss, making sound louder is necessary, but if it’s too loud it becomes distorted. And then there is background noise. “Audiologists should do a speech in noise test,” Juliette stated, “because that indicates how loud speech has to be over background noise before you are able to hear.”

Microphones pick up what’s loudest and closest, Juliette continued. So usually the closer the microphone, the better. That’s where wireless technology such as hearing loops and Bluetooth come in. In Juliette’s words, “In a hearing loop, you can hear as if the speaker is just inches away. If you want to pick up signals wirelessly from your TV or your iPad or computer or your smartphone, that’s where you may need Bluetooth technology."
Telecoils, small wires coiled around a rod located inside hearing aids, pick up signals and streams them as sound into hearing aids. This “T-setting” enables hearing aid users to stream music or a speaker’s voice directly into their ears—without background noises. Karen, the hearing loop advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America (pictured at right), said, “There are a few things that we need to consider when we talk about telecoils. Juliette and I call them the five P’s.
  1. How the telecoil is Positioned in your hearing instrument—because telecoils need to be positioned properly to work with hearing loop systems. A horizontal T‑coil is very good for the telephone. A vertical T‑coil is very good with a hearing loop system. If you have to choose between vertical or horizontal telecoils, Karen and Juliette suggest going vertically, because you can adjust your vertical telecoil to a telephone by manipulating how the handset is held.
  2. Telecoils need to be Programmed properly so that they provide the amplification you need to compensate for your hearing loss.
  3. You have to be Proficient in its use to understand how and when to access your telecoil(s) with a hearing loop and to hear well on the telephone.
  4. Be Patient.
  5. Persevere.
The speakers stressed the need to learn your telecoil programs—especially if it’s your first time using a hearing instrument. Don’t hesitate to ask your hearing health provider for directions in writing, they advised. For additional assistance, visit the Technology section of HLAA National's website.
Katherine Bouton's New Book on Hearing Loss
We are pleased to announce that President of HLAA-NYC and HLAA Board of Trustees member Katherine Bouton has published her third book on hearing loss, Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss .

For more information about the book, read HLAA Board of Trustees member Shari Eberts' latest  blog . Here's an excerpt: Using personal anecdotes and containing extensive research on assistive listening devices, the book provides a road map for people at all stages of their hearing loss journey. If you think you may have hearing loss, or know you do, this book is required reading.

You can buy the book online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble . You can also ask your library or favorite independent bookstore to order it.
Upcoming Chapter Meetings
Topics Subject to Change
Tuesday, December 18
Ask the Audiologists —A bout Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants, and Tinnitus

Tuesday, January 15
Shared Stories. Anne Pope, past president of HLAA-NYC, will moderate an open discussion of members' experiences living with hearing loss.

Tuesday, February 19
Our Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act in the workplace, housing, the courts, hospital settings, and elsewhere. Speaker: Lise Hamlin, HLAA's Director of Public Policy.

Tuesday, March 19
Mary Sano, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Alzheimer's Disease Research at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, will discuss how hearing loss affects cognitive health.

Tuesday, April 16
Research for a Cure. Learn about current efforts to find a medical cure for hearing loss, and to develop better hearing devices.

Tuesday, May 21
Family and Friends: The Impact of Hearing Loss on Relationships.

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

Having Trouble with Closed Captioning on TV?
Closed captioning (CC) gives people with hearing disabilities access to television programming and provides a critical link to news, entertainment, and information by displaying the audio portion of broadcasts as text on the television screen.

If you're unhappy with the quality of the closed captioning on a specific program, make your voice heard by filing a complaint with the FCC.
It only takes a few minutes. Click here .

After you file a complaint, please let us know at We will compile responses and share in a future issue of News & Views.
Access to City Government
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 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. To find the name, telephone number, and email address of these Disability Service Facilitators:
• Go to, then c hoose Disability Service Facilitators from the “Resources” drop-down menu.

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

• Contact Eli Fresquez of MOPD at 212-788-2548, click here.
Watch Movies with Captions at
AMC and Regal Theaters
Our Favorite Hearing Loss Blogs
Discount Prices for
Open-Captioned Theater Performances
through TDF
Website for Theatergoers with Disabilities
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
Hear Better with Looping

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 Ferryman
Lincoln Center
Vivian Beaumont: My Fair Lady

Second Stage
Helen Hayes Theater: Torch Song

Irish Repertory Theater
Westside Theatre (Upstairs Theatre)
Support HLAA - Become a Member
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 .
Honor Someone with a Gift to HLAA-NYC  
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.