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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Hearing Loss Association of America-Diablo Valley Chapter

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Health, Health Support

Mission: learn how to live well with hearing loss. We provide information, education, support and advocacy for people with hearing loss their families and friends in Contra Costa County, CA.

Results: Host monthly meeting on topics related to hearing loss. Distributes information about hearing loss throughout Contra Costa County. Advocates for effective communication—got captions for CalShakes and Berkeley Rep; library access. Host information booths at a wide variety of venues in Contra Costa County.

Target demographics: people with hearing loss

Geographic areas served: Contra Costa County

Programs: Education and hearing loss rehabilitation, Connects people to local community resources, Safety education, Emergency; fire & carbon monoxide . Effective communication advocacy for people with hearing loss.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

It has been a great experience being a member: dynamic leader, resource sharing, latest
technology and warm, kind, understanding people.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am losing my hearing and found a terrific nonprofit: Hearing Loss Association, Diablo Valley
Chapter. This group. led by the dynamic Ann Thomas, helped provide me with much needed information about hearing loss and helped me understand new technology which makes
the hearing world more accessible. And on top of all that, HLAA-DV provides a place to connect with other people who understand the crushing loneliness of hearing loss. At meetings I've received encouragement and opportunities to reach out to others and participate in community events. I can't say enough about this organization that has helped change my life and I know other people who attend feel the same way.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This chapter of HLAA is extremely active, informative and advocacy-oriented. It has monthly meetings, usually featuring speakers who give presentations on topics of interest to the hearing loss community. It has also has had fun outings to various events with arrangements for hearing assisted devices.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Folks with hearing loss in the Walnut Creek area will find a fantastic resource in the HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapter. As one of the most active and engaged HLAA chapters in the country, HLAA-DV hosts meetings and socials where people can learn the latest hearing support technology, share their stories, make friends, and feel accepted in a welcoming, nonthreatening environment. Their meetings are fully hearing-accessible with hearing loops and live captions (CART), so everyone is included and comfortable. Simply attending a meeting can change someone’s outlook on their hearing loss and can empower them to live well and independently.

HLAA-DV is led by one of the top hearing loss heroes and hearing loop advocates in the country, Ann Thomas. She’s a wonderful resource for questions about hearing access: how to request it, where to find it, and how to use it. I’m proud to call Ann my colleague, friend and mentor. I’m not sure there are many questions Ann can’t answer.

I wouldn’t hesitate to attend a meeting, donate, and support this wonderful organization.

Writer

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Until I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting at the Diablo Chapter of HLAA, I knew very little about my hearing aids. I had not heard of a T-Coil (a program setting on your hearing aid) or many of the other ancillary devices available to help those who are
hard-of-hearing. Not only did I find a welcoming group of individuals who struggled with the same thing I was going trough but I found a hearing impairment, educational group.

As my hearing loss became worse, it was at a group meeting that I learned of Cochlear Implants. Being involved in the chapter literally saved my hearing. I reached out and with the knowledge gained from group meetings was able to get approval for a Cochlear implant.

The president of our group is an advocate for the hard-of-hearing. She reaches out to the communities in the Mt. Diablo area in order to educate businesses and others on what's needed to help the hard of hearing She leads by example and encourages the group members to be advocates whenever and wherever we can.

The things I learned at the chapter meetings, I could not learn anywhere else. I encourage anyone thinking of buying hearing aids, already wearing hearing aids or looking for a support group to attend a meeting of the Mt. Diablo HLAA.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I joined the Diablo Valley Chapter, I was hard of hearing and my ability to hear was continuing to degrade. I knew little about hearing loss and support entities until I joined the chapter. It was through my membership with HLAA-DVC that I learned about the Telecoil feature and other ancillary equipment. Even information regarding Cochlear Implants. I would not have known about the CI had I not been a part of this group. I've had my CI for one year and will always be grateful to the group and to Ann Thomas, President of the HLAA-DV chapter for support and encouragement.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Although I live in SoCal, HLAA-DV has been a great resource for me. Chapter leadership is wonderful, always willing to spend time answering questions and helping me find information on services, support and technology, I appreciate the patience and dedication of chapter volunteers and highly recommend HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapter as a positive, supportive place to anyone with a hearing loss.

Client Served

Rating: 5

HLAA has been a harbor in the storm of hearing loss. The friendly community has help me to accept my hearing loss and inspired me to advocate for myself and others.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have gradual hearing loss over the course of 30 years. I had to leave my job because of it. I came to HLAA seeking a support group to cope with the effects of this loss. I found a group of people who have had similar experiences. A group of warm, supporting and capable individuals who are both a resource and an inspiration. Their leader works tirelessly to promote the needs of hearing loss individuals throughout the community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Diablo Valley Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America has been such a help to me as I traveled from hearing aids to cochlear implant. Hearing loss is a struggle. It can be so isolating. As my hearing loss increased, it was much easier to just stay home rather than face the challenge of trying to hear and understand as people all around me talked, told jokes, laughed and enjoyed each other.
The Chapter has been so helpful in providing information about all types of assistive listening devices; how to interact with the audiologist; how to ask for and, if necessary, demand the accommodations required by law. The President, Ann Thomas, is a great example of advocacy and the officers work hard to provide interesting and informative speakers to advise on new discoveries in the hearing loss field and on innovative tools to make the life of an individual with hearing loss better and brighter.
I highly recommend to my friends with hearing loss (and, as I age, these become more numerous) to find a chapter of HLAA near them and particularly recommend our Diablo Valley Chapter. Meetings are close-captioned and held in a looped room. If the member does not have a telecoil in their hearing aid, there are assistive listening devices available. The group is supportive and friendly and it is so comfortable to know that everybody is in the same boat to one degree or another.
Long-time Member of the Diablo Valley Chapter of HLAA

Writer

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am one of the original members of Diablo Valley Chapter from the 1980s, a member whose life was hugely impacted by this organization. I was hired as Chapter Development Coordinator in the HLAA national office from the volunteer efforts coordinated in this chapter. After retirement, I was elected president of the HLAA State Association. This chapter has been a model throughout the United States in serving the individual with hearing loss while advocating in the community for access and education for those with hearing loss.

Michelle Y.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This HLAA chapter is the most dynamic HLAA chapter I have ever visited before. And, I have a high respect for Ann Thomas, President of HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapter. She is a great advocate and a role model to me. In 2016, I just joined DCARA as advocate and specialist for the Hard of Hearing and late Deafened Program. I found HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapter as a great ally of DCARA in pursuit of communication access. Thanks to HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapter, I learned so much more about assistive listening systems. I appreciate how much Ann Thomas supported me when I needed to get a transcription for audio files from the Kaiser Permanente. Plus, I value memories and relationships with members of HLAA-Diablo Valley Chapters who took lipreading class at DCARA. Thanks to the Diablo Valley Chapter of HLAA!

Client Served

Rating: 5


To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a member of the Mt. Diablo Chapter of the Hard of Hearing Association for six years. This group has been most helpful not only to me but to other members. I look forward to our meetings. The information provided in these meetings is invaluable. This is especially important regarding the ever changing technology of hearing aids and other hearing devices. We get first hand information on the latest technology. In this learning environment members feel free to participate and share personal views that frequently are helpful to the rest of the members.

The success of this chapter can be attributed in large part to the professional leadership of our president Ann Thomas. She consistently keeps up with the latest technology and reports new information to the membership. She keeps in direct contact with the business world and is most successful in having sample devices donated to the club. She also provides information to the general pubic. She makes sure that our HLA booth is set up at community health fairs throughout our area. She is an ambassador for the hearing loss community. She is our guru for new technology.

Frequently the industry seeks Ms. Thomas' input regarding new devices that are going on the market. For example, recently she made a suggestion to a company regarding adding a special feature to one of their new products. The company promptly started working on her idea and this helpful feature is now available to the public. I am a beneficiary of this most helpful feature on my smart phone. (She made my smart phone smarter!) Ms. Thomas is a people person. She cares for us members, and, of course, for other people with hearing loss problems. Is is not an exaggeration that her work and dedication has improved the quality of our lives.

I submit this review for your consideration.

Sharon B.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since I am a professional in this field I thought I didn't have a need when I received my hearing aids at age 55. Boy, was I wrong! This group are my people! Just showing up at meetings let me have my feelings about grieving my loss and then getting empowered to advocate for my needs and those of my clients and friends. So many great speakers, handouts, pamphlets, events. Don't deprive yourself! Just 1 meeting can enhance your life. Looking forward to meeting you!
And be sure to get your hearing checked! I believe every adult should have a hear screen every 5 years starting at age 60.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An absolutely great resource for anyone hearing impaired and just a great group of people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a member of the Peninsula Chapter of HLAA in Redwood City and have had the privilege of working alongside members of the Diablo Valley Chapter for 15 yrs. We have worked together on HLAA Walk4 Hearing Committees, have helped at the HLAA-Ca. State Association conferences and expos and have become friends through the years. We support each other and share what we are doing to improve the lives of those of us living with hearing loss.

Diablo Valley chapter is a role model and an outstanding HLAA chapter. We are happy to commend them, especially for their strong advocacy in their community.

Sincerely,
Sally Edwards
HLAA Peninsula Chapter Co-President

Access

Board Member

Rating: 5

My life with hearing loss would be radically different if I hadn't found HLAA Diablo Valley Chapter. I have learned how to live well with my disorder. I can attend monthly meetings with people like myself and and don't have to apologize about not understanding or misunderstanding. The meetings are accessible to everyone. We have a public address system, a hearing loop system, captions and American sign Language on request. Additionally, I have learned tips about how to ask others to communicate with me so I understand; that hearing loss is covered under the American with Disabilities Act and various state laws; there is assistive technology that can help me at events like meetings, conferences and performances.

My home and social life has also been enhanced; captions for the TV, captions for the telephone, vibrating alarm clock and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that strobe and vibrate.

If you've been feeling a little lost and isolated because of your hearing loss come to one of our meetings and reconnect with others and and find a family.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hearing Loss Association of America - Diablo Valley Chapter is a wonderful organization! It helped me learn how to live well with a disabling disorder, hearing loss. I would have been a completely different person if I had not joined this group.

They host monthly meetings with topics pertinent to hearing loss like, new technologies, how to talk on the telephone, free resources like the CA Telephone Access Program and how to advocate for ADA mandated help for communication access to attend events; at hospitals, doctors office and dentist; presentations at the library; for workshops and educational programs.

All of the meetings are fully accessible. They are captioned (CART), have a hearing loop and American Sign language on request.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a member of HLAA-DV. Since learning of the organization and later becoming a member, I have gained a great deal of knowledge on hearing loss and various ways to deal with the daily challenges a person with hearing loss faces and enjoy sharing this information with other people. We have a demonstration library of assistive listening devices (ALDs - devices other than hearing aids or cochlear implants) that members can try before they invest in the equipment. We also take some of the ALDs to our various outreach events – selecting devices that work best for the event theme such as emergency and disaster preparedness, or senior programs. There isn’t a better feeling than knowing you have helped someone achieve an improved life through better communication.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have you noticed turning up the TV news lately. How about staying with an important conversation? Maybe it is hearing loss slowly creeping up on you. It does that with most of us. But if you take notice there are things you can do. Wear ear plugs in the gym and wherever it is noisy. Pay more attention to your conversation partner and shut out the background noise.And find a group of those who have noticed hearing loss as well. What you will find there, as those of us who attend the hearing loss group in Walnut Creek have fond, others loosing their hearing too. But also ways to slow down the loss. You can Find friends who will tell you how they cope. Learn the latest silence from experts in the field and the great scientists from the Bay Area who speak to the future should your hearing loss become a handicap. Knowledge, friendship, how to cope, how to use up to date information, all of this will help you understand where your hearing loss is going and why and how to challenge the progression of it being armed with friendships and information you can only get here.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Diablo Valley Chapter of the HLAA is a wonderful resource for the hard of hearing community. I enjoy attending the monthly meeting as well as the social gatherings that happen every summer. It is truly a delight to be a part of such a helpful community. As a Doctor of Audiology, I learn a lot from this community and enjoy sharing my knowledge here as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you or someone you care about has a hearing loss, the Hearing Loss Association of America Chapters are the places to find friendly people, information, support, help in coping, an introduction to assistive devices, and more. One such chapter is Diablo Valley in Walnut Creek. Call or visit their monthly meetings & activities to find people that understand and care about your hearing loss. Circling the Bay there are, also, chapters in San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, Oakland, Napa, and more. Don’t let your hearing loss isolate you. They share your issues and want to provide resources.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This HLAA chapter has been a life saver for me. Before I joined, I felt so isolated from people because I'd gradually given up situations where my hearing loss affected my ability to communicate. Because of the group, I've learned how to get my audiologist to help me more. I know so much more about all kinds of hearing assisted devices besides my hearing aids. I've learned to be a better advocate for myself in getting the help I need in various situations. I'm enjoying my life again! Plus, the other members are so helpful and encouraging. Thanks to everyone at the Diablo Valley Chapter of HLAA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HLAA-DV has spent its time making life better for people with hearing loss through its mission statement.

Not only does the chapter do advocacy work in the community, like making public venues accessible for people with hearing loss, but they also work with individuals teaching them how to self-advocate.

They also attend outreach events, distributing information and sharing their experiences with interested attendees.

It’s startling that so many organizations that work with seniors do not have a foundation on how to address the problems people with hearing loss encounter on a daily basis. HLAA-DV’s participation in many of these events have educated the attendees and also the organizers.

Although I do not have a hearing loss, I live with hearing loss daily. What I have learned from this organization is invaluable in my everyday life, and there is no better feeling than the high I get when I get the opportunity to share some of what I have learned with someone and make their life better.