Western Colorado Chapter
Hearing Loss Association of America
Free Monthly Meeting Saturday, January 7, 2017
All About the Outreach Grant
Amy Becktell, Chapter Leader

The Western Colorado Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) was awarded a grant from the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the amount of $7,562. This grant will support the Chapter with its three-fold project activities:

1. Communication Access Real-time Translation service at meetings
2. Equipment purchase for demonstration and outreach
3. Development of a new website

This chapter is expanding its mission by reaching out to individuals, businesses, service providers, and government agencies in western Colorado to create awareness of technology, services, and information available to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

We will exhibit the equipment we are purchasing through the grant, and discuss the plans for our community outreach. Please come to learn more about what this grant means for the Chapter, the community, and people with hearing loss in Western Colorado.

An induction hearing loop and captions will be available.
People of all ages and all types of hearing loss are welcome!

All meetings are free to members and non-members, including family and friends.
Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, January 7, 2017
10:30am – 12:30pm
Center for Independence 740 Gunnison Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501 Amy Becktell: [email protected]
Or 970-241-2592

Upcoming Events – Mark your calendar so you don’t miss a thing!

February 4, 2017: The Chapter will welcome Sandra Sharp, Business Outreach Specialist from the Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Sandra will discuss disability awareness within the Division with a focus on services provided for people with hearing loss.

March 4, 2017: Our speaker will be Dianna Shirley, from the local interpreting company Hands to Hear. Dianna is a sign language interpreter and will give us an overview of sign language basics including basics signs, sign language communication protocols, and the process for becoming an interpreter.

June 3, 2017: Our grant project is due to be completed by the end of June. We will present the results of our community outreach. This is your opportunity to learn how the grant funds supported reaching more people who are deaf and hard of hearing in Western Colorado. We will also hear from the people who participated in outreach activities.

Remaining Meetings Dates for 2017. Topics will be announced later.
Please contact Amy Becktell if you have an idea or request for a meeting topic for April 1 or May 6.

December meeting summary
Our sixth annual holiday covered dish meal was a great success. We had 18 people in attendance. Denice and Joanne shared information about upcoming meetings and the assistive technology available at the Center for Independence. The chapter donated a ham and everyone brought goodies to share. Denice asked each person to introduce themselves and tell why they come to the meetings. I think we learned a little more about everyone in attendance.

HLAA 2017 Convention to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah!
The Convention for 2017 will be in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 22 – 25, 2017. Mark your calendar today! This will be a great opportunity for people from the Western Slope to attend a National Convention. You don’t want to miss this event!

The location is the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Early-bird registration closes March 31, 2017.

On Saturday evening, June 24, Gael Hannan will present “Huh? Life with a Cranky Cochlea.” This is a hilarious and poignant performance about the hearing loss life performed by Gael Hannan, renowned hearing loss advocate. With musical guests to be announced soon!

A Real-Life Loop Experience – By Don Gladwell
As you know Jan and I have been attending the HLAA meetings in Grand Junction for nearly three years now. I remember well the first time we walked into the Center for Independence and Jan saw all of your equipment including the microphone. She took me aside and told me we were wasting our time, that with her cochlear implant and processor there was no way she could understand anything coming through a PA system or any kind of amplified sound. At that point we had never heard of an induction loop and had very little knowledge of the telecoil other than to know that her processor had one.

Well, thankfully we stayed and when you told everyone that the meeting was about to start so turn on telecoils she at least knew enough to find the proper setting. I can remember the surprise on her face when she realized she was hearing your words and even the recorded videos better than she had heard anything since her implant. It was amazing, but I guess I really didn’t fully understand until a couple of meetings ago.

You see, I too have had some hearing loss. Pretty minor compared to most people that attend HLAA but still enough to need hearing aids. So when I finally got my new devices and knew they included telecoils I was anxious to experience the loop for myself. I was no less surprised than Jan. I hadn’t realized how much I had been relying on the captioning at the meetings to understand what was being said. Just like Jan, when I first experienced the looped sound via telecoil, I couldn’t believe how clear it was and how much easier it was to follow all that was being presented. Loop systems are really terrific and a huge benefit to people with hearing loss.

It’s such a shame that there are not more venues in Western Colorado that are looped. But Jan and I are anxious to try other theatres and auditoriums in some more metropolitan areas that have loops and just maybe get to enjoy some movies or presentations that we have been missing for a long time. And the good news is that the facilities at the HLAA national convention in Salt Lake City next June will be looped. They were in St. Louis two years ago and Jan says it was great.

Well, obviously we are big into advocating for loops. They are so helpful and relatively inexpensive that we feel all public venues should offer this great advantage to everyone with hearing loss. Like all hearing loss initiatives it’s a great idea but a hard sell. We just need to keep trying to get the word out and make more people aware of all of us out there that need help and all the ways there are to make life better for literally millions.

Hope these words encourage others to try the loop and to remain committed to our mission.

Looped Venues in Mesa County
In addition to the Center for Independence, looped venues in our area include the Avalon Theatre, the Welcome Center at the Monument, and First Presbyterian Church. If there are others, please let the Chapter know so we can get the word out.

Other venues that should be looped include rooms in public places such as courtrooms, libraries, and public meeting spaces. Please consider joining the outreach effort to help advocate for loops!