Volume 35 Issue # 2 Spring

Association of Late Deafened Adults
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Volume 35 Issue 2

In His Own Words
ALDA President
Rick Brown

Did you know that May is Hearing Loss Awareness Month? I did not know this. Did you know that September is Deaf Awareness Month? I did not know that either. In fact, I did not know that Deaf Awareness Day is April 27th and October is National Audiology Awareness Month. At first blush, my thought was, “This is silly. All of these awareness months and days relating to the same thing—hearing loss, is overkill.” However, after taking a closer look, it became clear to me that there are differences.

Ironically, those differences explain why the Association for Late Deafened Adults (ALDA), Hearing Loss Association of America, (HLAA), and National Association for the Deaf (NAD), exist. HLAA identifies with those who have a hearing loss and use hearing aids. NAD largely identifies with those who were born deaf or lost their hearing at an early age and use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language—though that is not universal either.

And what about us? We are composed of people whose primary language is English and who lost either all or most of their hearing later in life. We may have hearing aids or cochlear implants or neither. “Whatever works” is our motto. So, each organization has its own constituencies and strives to make the public aware of the issues facing its membership. This probably explains the plethora of awareness months and days that we have out there.

But the bigger question is: Do all of these awareness months and days help? Or are they just “feel good” things? I submit that the answer is “yes, they do help” although the connection may be subtle. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendment did not pass Congress by large majorities because the Representatives and Senators were forced to do it. Nor did they pass it out of the goodness of their hearts. The ADA passed as law because the body politic in their jurisdictions favored passage. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) would not have promulgated rules helping the deaf and hard of hearing if the people in key policy-making positions had not been convinced of our need for accommodations.
Law does not drive society. Society drives the law. When we make society aware of our need for accommodations, when we challenge the common perceptions of deafness and hearing loss, society becomes aware and treats us in a positive light. The law simply codifies what society wants. When school aged children, for example, are presented with programs about disability, they learn about inclusion. And that positive vibe follows them into adulthood. Some of these children go into politics and into policy-making positions when they reach adulthood. Awareness programs help drive society in the right direction.

Society drives the law and the law pays it forward by helping society in return. For example, closed captioning on TV was mandated because society realized a need for accommodation for the deaf and hearing loss alike. Study after study has shown that people with normal hearing are now using closed captioning. As one expert wrote: “…auditory processing is more easily impacted upon by distractions and [people realize] they need to read captions to say focused.”

So, together let us celebrate the various Awareness Months/Days. In fact, let’s participate by joining organizations that help bring the positive message of inclusion to the general public. Society will thank you by bringing it forward.

ALDACon Back by Popular Demand!
For more information Click Here!

You Don’t Want to Miss This!!!

Editor’s Block
Lisa Peten
ansubmissions@alda.org

Founded in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), then known as the American Society for the Disorders of Speech, the month of May is designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month. The idea is to encourage hearing loss screenings and to promote hearing loss prevention and treatment of other causes of hearing loss.

Literally hours before I penned this article, I learned of this commemoration. I am bewildered at the idea of not knowing this, despite being hard of hearing for over 12 years! I can partially justify not knowing this; I blame it on the enormous (sometimes overwhelming) tasks necessary to manage my hearing health.

Tasks such as Audiologist and ENT visits, planned (and sometimes forced) social engagements, and ALDA News obligations, are time-consuming activities that robbed my awareness of this commemoration. The audacity of not knowing this commemoration is like missing my birthday! Despite my excessive absorption of Twitter feeds and self-proclaimed status as a Facebook groupie, never once do I recall seeing this month with hashtags (#) or coined a momentous occasion enough to get a couple thousand likes. “I mean come on already!” According to HLAA, we have a tribe of 48 millon, surely this number warrants a hashtag or two, right? I digress.

Here are 3 myths debunked, with the hope that in doing so, this commemoration will gain greater popularity and purpose.

Myth #1: Better Hearing and Speech Month is Not Important.

The United States recognizes and commemorates health issues via month long celebrations to include: American Heart Association (February), Breast Cancer (October), Alzheimer’s (September), and Mental Health month (May). For over 92 years, the month of May has also been home to Better Speech and Hearing Month. Now that I am aware, I will do even more to highlight hearing loss and its impact on our lives. Will you join me? Tag #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth

Myth #2: I am Deaf/Hard of Hearing/I Am Already Aware of Everything I Need to Know About Hearing Loss.

Hah! Nothing could be further from the truth. Self-help in-person and online affinity groups, conferences, hearing loss technology (i.e apps, hearing aids, cochlear implants), and laws at the state, local, and federal levels exist to help those of us living with hearing loss thrive. Emotional tasks like socialization, motivation, aspiration, and even inspiration are greatly assisted with the existence of Better Hearing and Speech Month. I challenge you to attend an event, find a new technology, join a self-help group, participate in hearing loss research, and/or donate to a hearing loss organization (pun intended, ALDA); create a ripple effect.

Myth #3: Better Hearing and Speech Month Is Only
for Those Affected

What does St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo have in common? They are holidays many people celebrate regardless of Irish or Mexican heritage. This follows suit with Better Hearing and Speech Month; You do not have to be deaf, use hearing aids, or implanted with cochlear implants to participate. Let us all renew our commitment in the crusade to prevent hearing loss and aid our fellow comrades in better hearing and good health.

Happy Better Hearing Month! I encourage you, my tribe, to join in this commemoration.

Please Note: The Winter 2019 AN issue cited an incorrect issue number. Correction: Issue 35 Volume 1.

Advocacy Corner
John Waldo, Esq

Big Welcome to Trevor Finneman

ALDA has become a significant force in advocacy for those of us with hearing loss. I have been honored to represent the organization and some of its individual members in a number of significant cases that have expanded our access to movies, live theaters, and sports facilities, among others.

This is the best and most rewarding kind of work any lawyer can do – advocating for people I know (and like) about matters in which I believe deeply and understand personally. I intend to keep at it as long as I am able. However, there will come a time when I am no longer able and it pays to plan ahead. Similar to parents who do not make a will and leave a mess for their kids; lawyers who do not make provisions for a time when they cannot keep going, leave a mess for their clients. In knowing this, ALDA needs to plan for what and who comes next; succession.

About a year ago, I undertook a nationwide search for what I think of as, ‘the next-generation me”. I wanted to find someone considerably younger and experienced enough to pick up and run with somewhat complicated legal efforts. I wanted someone who has also lived with hearing loss. (My “secret weapon” in advocacy efforts is that I know personally what will and will not work).

The person I found is Trevor Finneman. Trevor lives in Los Angeles, received his law degree from UCLA in 2010, and has been active ever since in civil-rights litigation, often on behalf of deaf clients. Here is a link to his website that provides a flavor for his practice and successes:

Trevor J. Finneman

Trevor agreed to act as what you might call my “understudy” and will keep abreast of my cases on behalf of ALDA (and perhaps other clients). He will be ready to step in on short notice as necessary; I anticipate it will be.

Trevor attended his first ALDAcon last year in Portland and will attend this year’s ALDACon in Kansas City this October. Because his beloved Green Bay Packers are playing in Kansas City on the same Sunday when ALDACon ends, Trevor will, for the first time, stay for karaoke; thereby becoming a true ALDAn like the fine attorney he is.

Let me reiterate. I am not planning to go anywhere or to stop doing what I am doing. However, it is good to know that should the unplanned occur, ALDA advocacy will be in good hands.

Update: Fabulous Fox Theater

I have reported in past issues about the case in St. Louis against that city’s Fabulous Fox theater (Fox), a very large indoor venue that hosts touring Broadway-type productions. When Fox refused Tina Childress’ request for captioning and ignored a follow-up letter from me, we filed a suit on behalf of: Tina, St. Louis ALDA member Mary Stodden, ALDA, Inc., and the Hearing Loss Association of America, Greater St. Louis chapter.

After considerable negotiations over the following year, Fox agreed to provide captioning for one performance of a production, and only for some productions. When we learned the number of people with hearing loss were unable to attend the initial performance on the scheduled captioning date, we knew providing captioning for only one performance was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law.

The trial court favored our suit; hence equal treatment required by the Americans with Disabilities Act meant that Fox had to give people, like us, equal opportunities to attend performances just as it gives everyone else. Fox is now required to offer captioning for any performance provided a request is made in advance.

Fox appealed that decision. I argued the appeal this year in St. Louis on April 17. While the case has not yet been decided, it appeared to me that one of the three judges was squarely in our corner. The other two were hard to read. However, despite our uncertainty on the ruling, we are hopeful the decision will be upheld, that every show will offer captioning (at least upon requests made in advance), and this ruling as such will become a universal standard for all theaters.

The case against Fox has caused a significant stir in the theater world. Many other theaters are wondering if they too will have to offer captioning for every performance. The answer may well be “yes.” Fortunately, to the advantage of the theaters, considerable work is underway to develop new technology to make this easier. For example, GalaPro, a smart-phone app, makes closed captioning at every performance significantly easier and less expensive.

Update: AMC, Cinemark and Regal Theaters

Previously, I reported on a case filed in Seattle federal court in which ALDA, and some of its members, sued three of the largest movie theater chains: AMC, Regal, and Cinemark. We argued that the movie theaters make alternative content (i.e. operas, classic movies, and Broadway and London stage plays) accessible through captioning or some other equally effective method. This alternative content is often referred to as Fathom Events, and many of these events are not captioned with the exception of Metropolitan Opera lyrics.

The theaters asked the court to toss the case out, claiming they are under no obligation to make the alternative content accessible. They argued that the federal regulations affirmatively requiring movie theaters to display captions for any movie distributed with existing captions means that they do not have to make any other material accessible. The trial court agreed, and tossed the case out, but it did so based on logic and case law, which has been specifically rejected by higher courts.

ALDA and its members are currently appealing this case which is scheduled for oral arguments on June 5th (Seattle). I think it is extremely likely the court of appeals will send the case back to the trial court to determine a feasible solution for the theaters. If this is the outcome, it is highly likely we will settle. The Theaters’ argument is not that it would be difficult to provide captioning for that material, instead their argument is they should not be the ones required to provide captioning. Our argument is, under ADA, the theater is responsible. If our argument that the ADA assigns that obligation to the theaters is agreed to by the appeals court, I believe this issue will resolve quickly.

New Information: Partnership with NAD

Over the last few year, ALDA has also partnered with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to get all aural information at major sports events captioned. A number of teams provide captioning, but only through smart phone apps. We have argued that is not good enough because we do not want to hold a phone for the entirety of a game. We explained that we want to use both our phones and our hands for other things. We are arguing that captioning be made visible from any seat in the playing area on one or more universally visible reader-boards. We also suggested that phone captions remain available for restroom breaks or standing in the concession lines.

We believe that court may rule in favor that a hand-held captioning application is not acceptable under the ADA. We have not yet succeeded in this ruling largely because, when pressed, the sports teams give in and install universally visible captioning. As an example, the San Francisco Giants did this in 2018.

Currently, we are pursuing this case with the Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers). They are offering the phone app captions and nothing else. We sent a demand letter and are awaiting a response to see whether the Dodgers agree to hands-free captioning or whether a lawsuit will be required. Trevor is taking the lead on this; myself and the NAD attorneys are serving in a supporting role.

The Fight Continues

ALDA is working for all of us in an effort to ensure that those with hearing loss are able to fully participate in public life. Opportunities continue to expand, as we work through the courts, to implement the benefits and protections of federal and state disability laws.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Pioneer
George H.W. Bush
June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018

By: Marylyn Howe

“Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another ‘day of independence,’ one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.” – President George H.W. Bush, signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 27, 1990)

As the nation watched while we memorialized and buried our 41st American President, many of us in ALDA reflected upon the remarkable advances and opportunities afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that was signed into law in 1990 by George Herbert Walker Bush.
As a result of the ADA, disability in today’s world is far less about limitations and much more about possibilities. This growing independence and right to full participation in society is what drives many of us toward building a more-inclusive, barrier-free society.

The ADA continues to transform America and its territories. It creates physical, programmatic, and communication access in schools, libraries, shops, movie theaters and restaurants. It ensures reasonable accommodations in the workplace. It allows people who were once confined to their homes, a chance to live a bit more independently. It makes life less stressful so our communities with physically challenged citizens (i.e. disabled Veterans and children with disabilities) can navigate a barrier-free environment.

ALDAns Take Up Arms

ADA also gives those of us with hearing loss or who are deaf, a fighting chance at using the telephone again. When signing the ADA into law, President Bush said: “Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” For ALDAns, we know the “shameful walls of exclusion” included access to telephones and the telecommunications network.

Although not widely known, eight (8) ALDA members – Miguel Aguayo, Mary Clark, Tom Driscoll, Larry Littleton, Carol Menton, Judy Viera, Kathryn Woodcock and Marylyn Howe (myself) — were at the forefront in the early years of implementing Title IV of the ADA when Telecommunications Relay Services were fraught with high error rates, inconsistent translations, and low industry standards. ALDAns did not just complain. We came up with a solution. All 8 of us from across the USA and Canada met in Boston on multiple occasions. We came together on these occasions to crank out a document that challenged relay providers to “up the bar”. We requested they perform at a level of skill that exceeded the “acceptable” standard. That story is remarkable and will be the subject of my next contribution to ALDA News.

Marylyn Howe

Treasurer’s Report
by Matt Ferrara

It is now four (4) months into the new Board year and the holiday rate has come to pass for the ALDAcon 2019, but the early-bird rate remains in effect through July 15th. If you have not already signed up to join ALDAcon 2019, now is the time! Be sure to invite your hearing family members and friends and avoid the last minute registration rush.

Balance Sheet for the ALDA Bank Accounts
(as of April 22nd, 2019)

ALDA Operation Expenses: $50,292

ALDAcon 2019 Account: $22,990

Scholarship Funds: $33,365

Total cash: $106,647

FINANCE COMMITTEE – Volunteers Welcome!

The Finance Committee is looking for a few volunteers to assist with future fundraising outreach campaigns. Now is the time to share your expertise and help. Email me, Matt Ferrara, at Treasurer@ALDA.org for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.

DONATION TO ALDA TODAY!
(Click here)

Donations are always welcome. ALDA, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and donations may be tax deductible. In addition, some employers have matching donations plans. If you have any questions regarding donations, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.Org.

Meandering Through the Hearing World

Linda Bilodeau
Is Hearing Loss A Disability?

What happens if you have or develop a hearing loss? Are you suddenly considered disabled simply because you can’t hear? I never considered myself disabled. I can function. In spite of my hearing loss, I go about my life and work, take care of my family, volunteer and socialize. Navigating through the hearing world isn’t without irritation or constraint. Making telephone calls is difficult. I don’t always hear my appliances. I cannot hear my doorbell. Dealing with noise always sets me back. Listening to soft spoken souls is a task I would rather not undertake. Still, I manage. I refuse to let my hearing loss define my life.

There is another side to the conversation about hearing loss. Most insurers and the Social Security Administration considers those with a severe or profound hearing loss to be disabled. When I was younger, I could have applied for monthly social security benefits. I chose not to because I decided it was better to work. I was raised on the idea that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. I felt it necessary to take responsibility for my hearing loss and my needs.

I planned well. After purchasing my first pair of hearing aids, my audiologist at the time told me to insure them. He explained that my aids would need updating and that when new technology became available, I would want to upgrade. I opened a savings account and, every month, saved what I could for hearing expenses. Along the way, I had a few employers with group insurance plans that allowed me to open a medical savings account. From time to time, I had insurance that covered some of the cost of my aids. It was not easy to set money aside. I would have preferred taking a vacation, buying new clothes, new furniture, or eating out more. There were times when I felt sorry for myself; left out. I wondered, “Why is my life so difficult”? Despite these times, my friends still called me amazing. “You always get by”, they would say. “Trust me”, I would retort, “there are days that I believe will never end”.

When the American with Disabilities Act came along, I cheered. Suddenly there was captioning on television and later in movie some theaters. Work places, hotels, and other public facilities had to comply, by providing technology to those of us with hearing loss. Today, there is a movement to provide more hearing loops in public buildings. There are advocacy groups, like ALDA, who want to see more insurance organizations and Medicare cover hearing aids and other hearing devices. I hope they are successful. I realize not everyone has the means to save for or purchase hearing equipment.

Where does that leave folks dealing with hearing loss? Should we throw up our hands and decide we are among the disabled in this country? Do we say we have special needs? I don’t have answers. I tell people I have a hearing problem, I explain my needs. I socialize so as not to find myself isolated and slipping into depression. I connect with hearing loss groups, like ALDA. I keep up with technology, with research; trying to understand what I might do to help myself. I try to make the best of my situation by keeping a positive attitude.

I believe most would say that suffering from hearing loss or any disability is a personal matter. How we handle ourselves, our lives, and all our needs to do to get by depends on one’s feelings. Ultimately the person dealing with hearing loss is the one meandering through the hearing world. We all have to be the navigators of our lives, defining who we are in the hearing world.

Nurse On Call
Ann Marie Killilea,
MSN, RN, EdDc

A Few of My Favorite Things

There are some days when being a late-deafened person is difficult. Due to being sick or tired, sometimes I miss out on things that are being said. Sometimes I misunderstand the gist of a joke. However, for the most part, I am very grateful for being a late-deafened person who uses cochlear implants to hear.

I became deaf on January 18, 1999 after taking a strong antibiotic. Being a nurse, it was extremely frightening to have undergone such a radical change in my hearing. I went from a person who could hear soft sounds in church and the stories my sons would joyfully talk about to hearing almost nothing. And, it happened within hours after taking the first out of five doses. I had an adverse effect, not an allergic reaction, from this antibiotic and would soon learn that my hearing loss was permanent.

I struggled with hearing aides until a dear friend taught me about her hearing loss and how she reaped the advantages of hearing better from being implanted. Oh! I wanted these hearing devices. After having been tested by my audiologist and confirmed I met the criteria, I was implanted on my left side in 2004. My left ear had the worst degree of hearing loss, therefore that was implanted first. I had to wait one month after surgery before I was “activated”. The activation day fell on my 20th wedding anniversary. So I have two important things to celebrate on such a very special day!

I can remember being connected to the computer and being tested for sounds. When the activation was complete, I was told to go outside and start hearing! I was nervous and doubtful I would enjoy hearing sounds again. But, with my husband at my side, I started to hear again. Cars, buses, people talking, birds chirping. The world was such a beautifully noisy place! And, I could hear and understand those sounds! I also remember that very night after I was activated I could not sleep. I wanted to hear more and keep on hearing. I finally fell asleep in the early hours of the next morning.

My first favorite thing to make me joyful was about my hearing itself: To use the technology of cochlear implants to its fullest in learning how to hear all over again!

I tend to get very sick during the winter months. It seems that no matter what I do, including getting a flu shot, staying away from places where there could possibly be sick people, constantly washing my hands, and doing all those other things that should help me stay healthy, I simply can not stay health; into the emergency room I go!

Over the years, I have come to know one of the most sincere Emergency Room (ER) Physicians; who tends to opt to take care of me when I am admitted. He always took the time to listen to my history and prescribes treatment and medications that I would benefit from. After losing my hearing from an antibiotic, I am inclined to scrutinize drug interactions and potential permanent side effects before I ingest anything. This physician continues to treat me with respect and understands my concerns when prescribing any medication for me.

Some years had passed, and I met up with him, again in the ER. He told me that he was attending a medical conference that was focusing on adverse effects of medication. Through my conversations and medical history, he realized he needed to do something about adverse effects from medications and used my story as the basis of his seminar. He wanted me to know that, through my life history and perseverance, I taught him adverse effects from any type of medication can be quite devastating and costly to a patient. Some guidelines he learned include:

Adverse effects should never be taken lightly and should be addressed by the prescribing physician, the pharmaceutical company and the patient involved

The patient should be told what types of risks and possible adverse effects the medication can cause beforehand

Physicians should never keep anything hidden from the patient

I was so proud that I finally made my point and got through to a very important physician! It was exciting to know that he was disseminating this information at a conference, where those present could learn from this mistake. As a nurse, it is always important for me to teach, but to actually teach a physician, and to have this person take this problem to a higher level was very important to me.

Teaching others about hearing loss and its impact on lives, careers, and the future, is my second favorite thing that makes me joyful about my hearing. Teaching and sharing with others in the medical field about hearing loss and its impact, may help them learn and change the way medications are created and prescribed, at a minimum.

Recently, I was at the airport picking up my son and his wife. I ran outside to tell my husband I found them both and they would be out soon. I passed by a car being loaded up with the cutest little fluffy pink suitcases. I mentioned to the mom this was a great idea in identifying which suitcases belonged to her girls. She smiled. All of a sudden I got a tap on my shoulder and the mom said to me, “ You have cochlear implants!” I said, “Yes I do, why?” She shared her daughter recently received one and she did not know any adults who had cochlear implants. Well, I moseyed on over to the little girl and introduced myself to her. I asked her what her name was and showed her my external pieces of my cochlear implants. She gave me the biggest smile! I was so happy both her and her mom happy. And, all I had to do was take the time to show her I had cochlear implants!

This experience was a reminder about my third favorite thing that makes me joyful about my hearing; taking the time to teach a little girl [others] that she is [they are] not alone and there are adults [and children] who enjoy hearing with their cochlear implants.

When we live with hearing loss, we have two options on how to assess each day that we hear. There may be times when, no matter how hard we work to hear, we can’t get it all. Sometimes we are sick or tired, or other things have come into being that make our day of hearing quite difficult. And that is OK. But, there are days where we absolutely shine! On these days, we make a difference in how we hear and what we can teach others. We can teach and show others better ways to hear. We can demonstrate that our hearing loss does not isolate us. We are fully capable of living a full life and enjoying the things we love. We can help others by letting them know about ALDA. If we take the time and use our talents wisely we can create a beautiful world through hearing differently. Finding the joys in our lives through our hearing loss helps to create a much better and brighter future for others.

ALDA CHAPTER AND GROUP
INFORMATION

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REGION ONE:
Regional Representative
Wendy Ting
RD1@alda.org

CHAPTERS:
Massachusetts: ALDA Boston Chapter
President: Francine Stieglitz
Website: aldaboston.org
Facebook: ALDA Boston
Meetings: Held every two or three months; see website for details.
Newsletter: Monthly

GROUPS:
New Hampshire: ALDA-Seacoast New Hampshire!
Leader: Laura Sinclair
Email: ALDASeacostNH@gmail.com
Meetings: Meetings held occasionally. Email for more information.

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REGION TWO:
Regional Representative
Tina Childress
RD2@alda.org

CHAPTERS:
Illinois: ALDA-Chicago Chapter
“ALDA Chicago chapter is the one great Chapter in my region and I am very fortunate to represent them!”

Events and happenings can be found here:
Website: https://aldachicago.wildapricot.org/events
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALDAChicago/

ALDAns Tina Childress and Karen Putz were invited to present their ALDAcon 2017 talk, “How to Spin 27 Plates..and keep them from crashing (usually)” at the International Congress 2019 in Amsterdam this past March 2019 thanks to Dutch friends – Georgia van der Gen, Robert ten Bloemendal and Gerard de Vijlder.

The Congress is a gathering of late deafened adults from all over the world and it definitely had an ALDA feel (complete with karaoke!). There were excellent workshops by professionals and late-deafened peers, as well as visits by TV celebrities and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

American ALDAns Antonia Lindsey (who also gave a painting workshop), Teri Singer (who participated in a panel) and Cynthia Amerman and ALDAn from Finland, Liisa Sammalpenger, were also in attendance.

Karen brought her husband, Joe, and Tina brought her husband, Matt, and two daughters, Maddy and Mia. They all took advantage of arriving to Europe a bit early and do some touring in Belgium, France, and Germany. It was a wonderful experience with many memories made. They are looking forward to their next trip back!

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REGION THREE:
Regional Representative
Debbe Hagner
RD3@alda.org

Chapters:
ALDA- Suncoast Chapter
President: Tracy Kasch
Website: http://aldasuncoast.com/
Facebook: ALDA Suncoast
Meetings: The ALDA Suncoast Chapter now alternates between meetings and social events as follows:

June – Social event
July – Meeting at Church
August – Social event
September – Meeting at Church
October – Social event
November – Meeting at Church
December– Christmas social or dinner

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REGION FOUR:
Regional Representative
Michelle Yook

More details to come.

___________________________________________________
NATIONAL PUBLIC NOTICE!

The FCC Seeks Comments on Improving the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework for Situational Awareness during Disasters

DEADLINE: MAY 20, 2019

On April 1, 2019, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) released a public notice seeking comment on the implementation and effectiveness of the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework (Framework). This is a voluntary industry commitment to promote resilient wireless communications in situational awareness during disasters. Click here to learn more and provide your thoughts to Framework about disaster readiness.

One of Us
Karen Krull

This edition of ‘One of Us’ features John Geoghegan.

Please Read and Gain Insight as to Why John is Definitely ‘One of Us’

John was born at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California and moved to Connecticut when he was less than a year old. As a result, he has no early memory of the Golden State and considers himself a true Connecticut swamp Yankee. Despite his early move, he eventually found his way back to the golden state and currently resides in the former enlisted men’s barracks at Hamilton Airfield in Marin County, CA. He professes that his residence is the perfect place for a non-fiction writer who loves aviation history.

John was first diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss when he was 29. It was mild and more or less stable with only a slight decline for over twenty years. However, a series of precipitous hearing losses in his late 40s-early 50s rendered him deaf virtually overnight.

John shared he is gratefully single. He found that his hearing loss made it impractical to continue in the high-powered corporate jobs he’d always pursued. Consequently, he was forced to remake his life. The silver lining is he became a journalist and author–something he’d always wanted to be. That’s the background…onward to the nitty gritty that makes him…One of Us.

KK: What book or books do you recommend others read?

JG: My memoir, “Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow: A True Story of Love, Hearing Loss, Heartbreak and Redemption,” was written for the hard of hearing who live in a world that doesn’t want to listen.

KK: You simply cannot live without…..

JG: Books

KK: Your little known talent is:

JG: Reading and sleeping. These are my SUPER POWERS.

KK: The hardest thing you’ve ever done is:

JG: Tell my children that their mother and I were getting a divorce.

KK: Your funniest hearing loss moment is:

JG: Any time I answer a question I think I’ve heard correctly, but probably haven’t.

KK: When and how did you learn about ALDA?

JG: I wish I’d known about ALDA after my first precipitous hearing loss. It would have made a big difference in how I acclimated. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the organization until several years later. When I did, it made a big difference in my life.

KK: Do you belong to an ALDA chapter or group?

JG: I belong to ALDA on a national level, but would like to see an ALDA chapter or group created for the San Francisco-North Bay area.

KK: Have you ever attended an ALDAcon?

JG: Not yet, but hope to one day. Maybe as a speaker.

KK: In what ways has ALDA enhanced your life?

JG: Hearing loss is isolating. ALDA helped teach me that I’m not alone. In fact, I’m the member of a fantastic (ALDA) tribe filled with interesting people!

KK: Who or what inspires you the most?

JG: I have many heroes. One in particular is the polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. “The boss” (as his men liked to call him) never really succeeded in life, and yet he’s a tremendous role model. His motto, “Never for me the lowered banner—never the last endeavor,” could be my own.

KK: People would be surprised to learn that you…..

JG: …have an abiding interest in trains.

KK: Your biggest pet peeve is:

JG: Pet peeves in general. We all need to be more accepting.

KK: Your favorite childhood memory is:

JG: Playing in the woods with the kids on my street.

KK: Your favorite saying is:

JG: See the quote above by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

KK: The bottom line is:

JG: Life can be difficult, but so much joy can be gained from the wonderful things humanity creates that it helps to balance out all the bad that we do.

Registration for ALDAcon 2019 is OPEN!

You can register online at HERE Alternatively, you can download a PDF of the registration form HERE

Be sure to check the website periodically, open up those emails or even join our ALDAcon 2019 Facebook page to find out the latest news!

Cady Macfee (cadydlear@gmail.com) and Tina Childress (tina.childress@gmail.com), your Planning Co-Chairs, are hard at work with their committees and strive to make this a fun-filled and learning-filled opportunity where friends, colleagues and your ALDA family come together. There really is no place like home!

We look forward to seeing you in Kansas City!
Cady & Tina

Have feedback about ALDA News? Your Opinion Matters! Click here to submit.

Volunteer Needs are:
ALDA News editors; contact AN Editor, Lisa Peten, ansubmissions@alda.org

Finance committee members; contact Finance Chair, Matt Ferreira, treasurer@alda.org

Help continue the ALDA tradition where we learn, have fun, and make friends for life!