02 – February 2010




MARCH 2010


Montco Chapter Officers:




Treasurer:KathyHarral Secretary:LauraSkwirutAssistiveTechnology:DonGroff








2010 PA Walk4Hearing




HLAA Working for all people who have a hearing loss


I’m sure everyone has an opinion about the federal health care bill which has so polarized the nation over the past year. No matter what your opinion of it might be, this bill is a great example of HLAA working for the interests of hard of hearing people throughout the country. Last November, an amendment was added to the bill which placed a 2.9% tax on the sale of medical devices, including hearing aids. Since then, Lise Hamlin, Director of Public Policy, and Brenda Battat, our executive director, have been working with legislators to explain the negative impact such a tax would have on all people who need and depend on hearing aids, which already price many out of the market.


HLAA worked with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), lead sponsor of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill to organize much of the opposition to a hearing aid tax. In addition, every Representative who attended a local reception hosted by HLAA and AGBell since 2007 in support of the tax credit championed a hearing aid tax exclusion, including Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), who attended a reception at the Holiday Inn in Fort Washington last year. This demonstrates the effectiveness of hearing health organizations working together both in Washington and across the country.


Unfortunately cochlear implant equipment is still included in the new tax, but the tax rate for all medical devices was lowered to 2.3% in the final law.


HLAA’s new chapter and state coordinator


On March 22, 2010, Elizabeth LeBaron began work at our national office to support chapters and state organizations. I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth at a board meeting earlier in the month and was impressed with her abilities and people skills. Toni Barrient, who has worked with chapters for many years, will become the Business Manager and continue to provide member support services, data base and IT (computer) support.




Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day.


One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?”


No,” the second man replied, “it’s Thursday”.


And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a beer.”


Next Meeting: Sprint Web CapTel and wireless phones


Art Moore, Northeast Regional Account Executive at Sprint Nextel Company, has graciously agreed to hold a workshop at our next meeting. He will explain how you can make and obtain captioned telephone calls without having to purchase special telephone equipment by connecting your phone with the internet. High-speed internet service is required.


 ArtwasborninNewHampshireandraisedinMassachusetts. Seekingtobeascientificbuff,heattendedRochesterInstituteofTechnology,pursuingadegreeinBiologyinthe1980’s. Eventuallyhewoundupwithtwobachelor’sdegreesinComputerScienceandBiologyfromGallaudetUniversityinWashingtonD.C.aftermeetingaspecialladyatthisschool.  ArtwentontoworkasacomputersystemsengineeratGeneralDynamics’ElectricBoatDivision,helpingtobuildsubmarinesduringtheColdWar


Eventually, Reagan and Gorbachev came to terms, the Berlin Wall came down and the submarine orders dwindled down. Art then joined Sprint and became an account manager for Connecticut Relay. He still lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 sons, aged 15 and 17, and reports that all are die-hard Red Sox fans. He keeps busy with the boys’ after-school activities, such as fishing, skiing and even doing a few games on Wii!  In addition, they spend some time at animal rescue centers, adopting two cats, Dale and Scotty and a dog, Apple.  He also volunteers his time by serving as a board director at a school for deaf children. 


Terri Cohen-Johnson, Hearing Support Teacher at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, together with students, parents and faculty members from the IU will be joining us for this informative program.



Please join us for our next meeting on








beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Mercy Suburban Hospital.



Montco Chapter Officers:


Treasurer:KathyHarral Secretary:LauraSkwirutAssistiveTechnology:DonGroff




Causes of Communication Breakdowns

When asked why they did not understand what had been said, many people with hearing loss will answer, “Because of my hearing loss.” If they accept that as the reason, and if they have the best equipment available to them, then that is a fairly depressing answer. It leaves them with little else to do to prevent or reduce communication difficulties. In fact, there are many other contributors to communication problems. Most of these are remediable, and when people learn to identify them and and minimize their influence, they are better able to cope with the hearing loss. The following are some of the major contributors to communication difficulties.



Excerpted from Coping with Hearing Loss by Dr. Sam Trychin, Seminars in HearingVolume 18, Nr. 2, May 1997, pp. 77-86.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)



A couple goes on vacation to a fishing resort in northern Minnesota. The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read. One morning the husband returns after a couple of hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book.

Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, “Good morning Ma’am, what are you doing?” “Reading a book,” she replies, (thinking, “Isn’t that obvious?”) “You’re in a restricted fishing area,” he informs her.


I’m sorry officer, but I’m not fishing, I’m reading.” “Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.” “If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,” says the woman.” “But I haven’t even touched you,” says the game warden. “That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.” “Have a nice day ma’am”, said the officer and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It’s likely she can also think.


A review of the status of our tax exemption filing and a chance to provide input for programs in the coming year is on the agenda. The remainder of the meeting will be a rap session, so please come prepared to share experiences, problems and solutions you have found while living with a hearing loss.

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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