05 – May 2011


MAY 2011

Montco Chapter Officers:


: Donna Penman, phone: 610-279-0905; Email address: pen447@verizon.net Vice-President: Patty Cortez; email:



: Kathy Harral Assistive Technology: Don Groff

Newsletter committee

: Diana Bender, email:


, and Don Groff

Meeting Schedule: 1st Monday of each Month, except January, February, July and August: Gerber Room, 2nd floor Mercy Suburban Hospital, 2701 DeKalb Pike (Route 202), East Norriton, PA, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.


Access Award: JFK Center for the Performing Arts

HLAA will present the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with the prestigious National Access Award during HLAA’s Convention 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City on June 19.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is being recognized for its extraordinary efforts to make the performing arts a treasure to be enjoyed by everyone, including people with hearing loss. As the nation’s premiere performing arts center, the Kennedy Center has led by example, ensuring that performances are accessible through real-time captioning, hearing assistive technology, and sign language interpretation for people with hearing loss.

The Kennedy Center has made performing arts programming available to all people with disabilities including providing large-print and Braille playbills, audio-described performances, and seating that is accessible for people who use wheelchairs. The Kennedy Center has also led the way for other performing arts centers, sharing information that promotes disability access with others across the country.

“We are grateful to be recognized for our accessibility efforts,” said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “It is a priority at the Kennedy Center to make sure performances and facilities are enjoyed by all patrons. Through our accessibility initiatives and VSA, our goal is to provide arts and arts education opportunities for people with disabilities and older adults and increase access to the arts for all.”

Six hundred HLAA Convention attendees will have an opportunity to celebrate the range of accessibility at the Kennedy Center at a performance of Wicked on June 17. That evening’s performance will be made communication accessible through captioning, hearing loop and infrared systems, and sign language interpretation.

Musicians Hear Better in Noise!

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2011)

— A growing body of research finds musical training gives students learning advantages in the classroom. Now a Northwestern University study finds musical training can benefit Grandma, too, by offsetting some of the deleterious effects of aging.

“Lifelong musical training appears to confer advantages in at least two important functions known to decline with age — memory and the ability to hear speech in noise,” says Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory and co-author of the study in the May 11 issue of the online science journal PLoS ONE.


Co-written by Northwestern researchers Alexandra Parbery-Clark, Dana Strait, Samira Anderson, Emily Hittner and Kraus, “Musical Experience and the Aging Auditory System” finds that — when compared to their non-musician counterparts — musicians 45- to 65-years-old excel in auditory memory and the ability to hear speech in noisy environments.


“Difficulty hearing speech in noise is among the most common complaints of older adults, but age-related hearing loss only partially accounts for this impediment that can lead to social isolation and depression,” says Kraus. “It’s well known that adults with virtually the same hearing profile can differ dramatically in their ability to hear speech in noise.”

To find out why, the researchers in Kraus’ Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Northwestern’s School of Communication tested 18 musicians and 19 non-musicians aged 45 to 65 for speech in noise, auditory working memory, visual working memory and auditory temporal processing. The musicians — who began playing an instrument at age 9 or earlier and consistently played an instrument throughout their lives — bested the non-musician group in all but visual working memory, where both groups showed nearly identical ability.


The experience of extracting meaningful sounds from a complex soundscape — and of remembering sound sequences — enhances the development of auditory skills, says Kraus, Hugh Knowles Chair in Communication Sciences. “The neural enhancements we see in musically-trained individuals are not just an amplifying or ‘volume knob’ effect,” says Kraus, who also is professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “Playing music engages their ability to extract relevant patterns, including the sound of their own instrument, harmonies and rhythms.” Music training “fine-tunes” the nervous system, according to Kraus. “Sound is the stock in trade of the musician in much the same way that a painter of portraits is keenly attuned to the visual attributes of the paint that will convey his or her subject,” Kraus says.


“If the materials that you work with are wound, then it is reasonable to suppose that all of your faculties involved with taking it in, holding it in memory and relating physically to it should be sharpened,” Kraus adds.


Quote of the Month

Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life.”

Burton Hills

Next Meeting: Ice Cream Social


Our next meeting is the final meeting before our summer break and we’ll get ready for summer by having an ice cream social. Ice cream will be supplied, we ask all our members to please bring their favorite toppings.

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



June 6, 2011

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


Montco chapter will not be meeting over the summer, but we hope you’ll all be back at our first fall meeting on Monday September 12. Look for details in the August newsletter. Hope you all have a wonderful summer!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s