11 – November 2009



Montco Chapter Officers:


Treasurer:KathyHarral Secretary:LauraSkwirutAssistiveTechnology:DonGroff




Holiday Madness: Communications Tips

from Arlene Romoff, HLAA NJ


Six Tips to Better Communication:

1.) Realize that large social groups, especially around a large dining room table, are one of the most difficult environments for a person with a hearing loss.

Be kind to yourself. Focus on the positive things that you can do, and not on the negatives of what you have difficulty doing. Think the glass is half full, not half empty.

2.) It’s easier to talk with people one-on-one in a quiet environment than in a noisy living room. So:


Help out in the kitchen where there are usually less people gathered. And if you help with some preparations, you’ll be doing something besides trying to hear.

3.) When sitting down to dinner, make sure you choose a seat that is best for you! Here are some seating suggestions:


Seat yourself next to a person you usually have the least difficulty hearing or lipreading (avoid those folks with bushy mustaches and beards!)

Seat yourself next to someone who usually has the patience to clue you in on what the conversation is about, or the punch lines you’ll miss.

Try not to seat yourself facing a window because the glare could make it difficult to see people’s faces.

Ask your host to turn off any background music during dinner. And if a football game is blaring from a TV, turn it off or if that’s not an option, set it on mute.

Remember to be assertive about your needs! Pleasant and polite, but assertive!

4.) Conversation tips:

It’s inevitable that you will not be able to hear the conversation with many people talking and laughing at once. Content yourself with speaking with the people on either side of you.

If you start a conversation, then you’ll know what the topic is, so it will be easier to follow.

If you miss something, try to ask only for the part you missed, instead of just saying “what?”

Expect that there will be jokes that you will not hear, so you will find yourself sitting at a table where everyone is laughing except you. Stay calm—you have a few options:

ask the person next to you to tell you what was so funny

ask the person next to you to remember what was so funny so they can tell you later.

say “excuse me” to everyone at the table, and ask for the joke to be repeated so you can get it too. Remember that if you do this with a pleasant attitude, then people will usually want to help you out.

5.) After–dinner strategies:

Volunteer to help out in the kitchen to get yourself away from that dining table with all the conversations and jokes you’re having trouble following.

Do not offer to wash the dishes! This will put your back to everyone in the kitchen and you won’t be able to lipread. Offer to dry the dishes or put food or keep everyone company.

Offer to wash the dishes if you want to take time out from trying to hear everyone, and you still want to feel useful.

6.) To drink or not to drink?

Some people’s lipreading skills tend to get worse when they drink. Some people’s lip-reading skills tend to get better when they drink because they’re more relaxed. And, of course, there are pros and cons of drinking that impact on mood. Be aware of what works best for you.

Internet Video Captioning

Brenda Battat, HLAA Executive Director

ThebignewsthatisallovertheInternetistheGoogle/YouTubeinitiativetocaptionvideosonYouTube.HLAAstaffattendedtheannouncementintheGoogleDCoffice.20hoursofvideoareuploadedtoYouTubeeveryhour.NowthevideoproducerscanveryeasilycaptiontheirvideosasGooglehasdevelopedsoftwaretoautomaticallywritethetimecodesforthecaptions.Allthevideoproducerhastodoisuploadthe transcript.Thenasaviewerifyouneedcaptionsyouclickonthetranscriptbuttonandcaptionswillbegeneratedbymachinethroughvoicerecognition.Googleiscurrentlybetatestingthiswith13educationalpartners.Thisallowsthemtogetfeedbackandconstantlyimprovetheprogram.Thecaptionsallowthevideostobesearchedbytextandeventosearchforspecifictextinthevideo.Alsothecaptionscanbesubtitledin51languages.Soavideocouldbeviewedinotherlanguages.Thisisanamazinginnovation.ThescaleisenormousandbringscaptionstoaveryvisibleplaceontheInternetkudostoGoogleandYouTubefortheircommitmenttoanaccessibleInternet

Quotes of the Month

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.

Carl Sandburg

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Nelson Mandela

Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.

Joe Paterno

Next Meeting: Annual Holiday Party!!!

Time again for our much anticipated annual holiday party.    Please bring a dessert or finger food of your choice and join in all the fun.  Guests are always welcome at our meetings but we are extending a special invitation to them for our holiday party.


Please join us for our next meeting, which will be held on



beginning at 6:30 at the Mercy Suburban Hospital

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