June 13, 2012
I found The Hearing Loss of America's Manhattan Chapter in 2000 when a friend recommended it to me. Everyone at my first meeting was very friendly and I had this epiphany; everyone in the room had hearing loss, they all wore hearing aids or cochlear implants, they all understood what I was going through. Fast forward to 2012 and I am now the chair of the NYC Looping Committee for the HLAA Manhattan Chapter. We have 19 people on our committee, all of whom are dedicated advocates for this technology which helps people hear better in public venues. We advocate at houses of worship, libraries, senior centers, museums, theaters, and auditoriums of all kinds where public lectures/talks are given. I have met the most wonderful people through HLAA and have learned so much to help me manage my own hearing loss. When I joined in 2000, I was an emotional mess, losing jobs because I couldn't hear well. The organization has very few paid employees in Bethesda, MD but has a network of over 200 chapters of volunteers throughout the US. We all work together through email and list servs. I have gained much confidence and feel so much better about myself and now advocate for others who feel the way I used to feel. Hearing loss is the invisible disability, and we are making it visible.
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