10 – October 2011






Montco Chapter Officers:



: Patty Cortez, email:


pattypeep@gmail.com phone: 610-446-7302 Vice-President: Tom VanArman; email: tcvanarman@gmail.com




: Donna Penman 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.




Montco Chapter Officers


Montco chapter elected the following new officers at our meeting on September 12th:


President: Patty Cortez


Vice-President: Tom VanArman


Treasurer: Donna Penman


Congratulations to all our officers and a big thank you from all chapter members for your willingness to volunteer your time to assure the success of our chapter.


Many thanks go to Donna Penman for serving as our president since January 2008. In the fall of 2009 Donna worked together with former president Alice Dungan to find us a new meeting location while the Jeanes Library is closed for renovations. During her tenure, Donna has organized all our meetings and invited speakers on a variety of topics to educate our members.


Kathy Harral, has served as our treasurer for almost 10 years and faithfully watched our purse strings so the chapter could operate. Thank you so much, Kathy, for all your work on behalf of Montco!


New Hair Cell Research


Louisville, Ky—

Researchers from Western Kentucky University and the University of Louisville have identified a growth hormone that repairs hair cell damage in the ear of a zebrafish. The findings may one day lead to a therapy for repairing cochlea hair cells in humans.

In mammals damage to the hair cells inside the cochlea is irreversible; however both birds and fish are able to regrow the damaged hair cells and restore hearing. But how?


Researchers from Western Kentucky University and the University of Louisville experimented with zebrafish and examined their internal repair process. They first looked for the zebrafish genes that were switched on or off after acoustic trauma and found distinct patterns of gene expression. Two days after noise injury in the zebrafish, inner ear cells were busy dividing to repair and replace the damaged hair cells.


The researchers traced the repair to an alteration in the regulation of 839 genes. Many of the cellular pathways involved were the same as those involved in cancer. This included a massive 64 fold increase in the transcription of growth hormone.


They then investigated the effect of injecting growth hormone (GH) on cell proliferation in control zebrafish utricles and saccules, since GH was significantly increased in the zebrafish following acoustic trauma.


The GH injection increased cell proliferation in the inner ear of non-sound-exposed zebrafish, suggesting that GH could play an important role in sensory hair cell regeneration in the teleost ear.


The research, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Neuroscience, may one day lead to a growth hormone therapy for repairing damaged hair cells in humans.


September 15, 2011, The Hearing Review


New HLAA Website


Our national website has been completely revised and is so much easier to use. It is chock full of information on everything from advocacy to technology to telephones to chapters to webinars (live seminars which you can join via computer to learn about a variety of subjects). And there’s a handy button to increase the size of the font to make it all more readable. Be sure to check it out at http://www.hearingloss.org.


More News on Looping


At our last meeting, Tom VanArman talked about his efforts to convince the ADA Advisory Committee at the Philadelphia airport to install loops there, to enable people who have t-coils in their hearing aids and cochlear implants processors to communicate better. Indeed, loops are increasingly available at public places where hearing can be difficult for people with hearing loss. The Independence Visitor’s Center in Philadelphia recently installed a loop at their information counter. Amtrak is now in the process of installing counter loops in the information booths at Union Station in Washington, DC and at Penn Station in New York City. HLAA is also working with Amtrak to have counter loops and possibly visual display systems installed in the Providence, RI train station in time for the HLAA convention in June, 2012.


Quote of the Month


Forgive me when you see me draw back, when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me. I must live almost alone, like someone who has been banished. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me. I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. What a humiliation when someone standing next to me hears a flute or a shepherd singing and I hear nothing. Such incidences drove me to despair, a little more of that and I would have ended my life. It was only my art that held me back.”

Ludwig Von Beethoven


Next Meeting: Assistive Listening Devices


Our speaker for the October meeting will be Dr. Melanie O’Brien, the Mid-Atlantic Customer Trainer for Phonak Hearing Systems. She joined the Phonak team as an educational trainer in June 2011. Her primary responsibility is for customer training of Phonak hearing aid technology. She received her Doctorate in Audiology from Towson University in 2005. Her previous work experience includes diagnostic audiological evaluations, vestibular testing and rehabilitation, and hearing aid dispensing to pediatric through geriatric populations within various medical settings. Dr. Melanie O’Brien has presented at numerous senior living communities and designed an Auditory Rehabilitation program at a previous employer. Dr. O’Brien has worked with numerous customers to maximize patient satisfaction with Phonak hearing aids and accessories as well as FM technology.


This is sure to be an extremely informative meeting and your opportunity to ask any and all questions related to assistive listening systems from an expert. Please join us for our next meeting which will be held on




October 3, 2011


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


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