June 2020 ALDA Program


celebrate-teenth“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.” (National Juneteenth Register)

Our Annual 4th of July Picnic & BBQ

As you know, we’ve had to postpone our Annual 4th of July picnic & BBQ, not because the Smokey Joe Grill has been donated to a Boy Scout staycation but because the ALDA Boston Board still feels that the risks associated with large-scale events this year remain unknown. We had planned to do a virtual picnic, but people are becoming less than enthusiastic about the constant virtual events. We miss seeing everyone and are working on a way to reconnect with everyone. Stay tuned.

MFA Captioned Highlights Tour on June 17

Striding Lion, 604-561 BC
Striding Lion, 604-561 BC

Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend the pilot of the MFA Captioned Highlights Tour on June 17 were treated to a superb event and learned so much about the holdings at the MFA. Grateful thanks to Hannah Goodwin, Manager of Accessibility, for arranging the tour and to Karen Moss, our magnificent tour leader.



What have YOU been doing while social quarantining?

Betty Hauck

Besides making masks, Betty Hauck has been outside playing music for her neighbors.

Ann Tanona has inspired Betty Saltzman to bird watch, so that’s what Betty is doing.

Louis Sakin has been baking, but he reports that an old cheesecake recipe turned out to be a pudding because it didn’t firm up.

the-final-table-cooking-showMy daughter and I have been binging on cooking shows. Love watching all the dishes being prepared so professionally, but I still have no desire to cook.

News of Note

ASHA Raises Hearing-Related Concerns About the Use of Long Range Acoustic Devices in Protest Crowd Control The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is deeply concerned about the risk of hearing damage from the use of Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs)…. LRADs have been used for communication with large crowds and to disperse them. They can emit sound at extremely high decibel levels (up to 162 dB SPL)…. That level of sound is capable of causing not only permanent hearing loss, but also migraine, vestibular, and other auditory symptoms…. ASHA encourages people headed to large public gatherings of any kind to take sound-reducing earplugs or ear muffs with the highest decibel noise reduction rating they can find. To read the full article, go to The Hearing Journal, https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/blog/breakingnews/pages/post.aspx?PostID=385

Zoom Fatigue is Something the Deaf Community Knows Very Well

As work and life events go remote, people are increasingly sharing the feeling of “Zoom fatigue.” Little do they know they’re experiencing a sliver of what the deaf and hard of hearing undergo every day…. You may participate in a meeting focusing on everything for the full two hours and, at the end, you are wiped out. It’s called “concentration fatigue,” a concept audiologists and researchers have expanded on…. Posts about “Zoom fatigue” mention struggling with non-verbal cues. This frustration is relatable to how hard of hearing individuals have to accurately lipread, view sign language clearly, or get an unobstructed view of faces and body language. The full article by Patrick deHahn, which has a lot of important information, can be found at https://qz.com/1855404/zoom-fatigue-is-something-the-deaf-community-knows-very-well.

Why Are Zoom Meetings So Exhausting?

Another article worth reading: “5 Reasons Why Zoom Meetings are So Exhausting.” The article appeared in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/5-reasons-why-zoom-meetings-are-so- exhausting-137404



Hearing Loss Tips during COVID19

Nicole Laffan, Au.D., M.S., CCC-A/SLP, Assistant Clinical Professor, Northeastern University | Bouvé College of Health Sciences writes:

I’ve created the attached presentation to help individuals with hearing loss communicate during COVID-19. It contains information about advocating for oneself, phones with captioning, apps to add captioning to smart phone conversations, speech-to-text apps, video conferencing platforms that use captioning, resources for purchasing clear shields and masks, suggestions for wearing masks with hearing aids or cochlear implants, and info on the free aural rehabilitation sessions. I hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to share it with your members.

Hearing Loss Tips during COVID19 by NU
Hearing Loss Tips during COVID19

Collection of Information about Face Masks and Health Care Communication

From: HLAA Central MA <hlaacentralma@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 10:48 AM
Subject: Collection of Information about Face Masks and Health Care Communication
To: HLAA Central MA <hlaacentralma@gmail.com>

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with hearing loss are frustrated by masks and face coverings.  Being able to lipread is critical to our communication, especially when navigating the healthcare system.  HLAA CM has collected some information related to this topic to share.

Guide for Effective Communication in Health Care

HLAA has a website dedicated to this topic with resources on how to communicate with medical professionals, recommendations for medical facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and guides for patients and providers.  The webpage is:


You can download the complete the guide:


Hearing Review Article: Urge CDC to Emphasize Need for Clear Face Masks

The Hearing Review article from June 9, 2020 is titled “ASHA Urges CDC to Emphasize Need for Clear Face Masks for the Hearing Impaired.”  You can read the article at:


The full ASHA letter can be found at:


Hearing Life Article on See-Through Face Masks

The March/April 2020 edition of HLAA’s Hearing Life magazine includes an article about communication access showing a doctor wearing a see-through surgical mask.  The article is titled, “Necessity and Invention: New Mom Turns Entrepreneur.”  The subject of the article, Anne McIntosh, founded the Safe’N’Clear company in 2012 and created the “Communicator Surgical Mask.” The see-through medical masks were approved by the FDA and started being used in hospitals in 2017.

The Communicator (See-Through Surgical Mask)

You can read more about The Communicator mask at the company website:


The mask came up for discussion at one of the HLAA virtual meetings and someone complained that they were expensive.  The cost was reported as $60 and later clarified to be for a box of 40.  As you can imagine, the masks have become very popular now and are out of stock.  The company is expecting to have more available in July.

HelloMasks (Transparent Face Mask)

Popular Mechanics ran an article on June 10, 2020 titled “These Transparent Face Masks Might Make You Feel Normal Again.”  It describes a mask developed in Switzerland that is completely transparent.  The company HMCARE plans to start selling the new masks in 2021 directly to medical professionals.

You can read the full article at:


The company is a start-up right now.  It is planning to pursue European certification and eventually will pursue FDA approval.  The company website is:


These Transparent Face Masks Might Make You Feel Normal Again

photo of transparent maskFrom HLAA Central Massachusetts Chapter:

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have devised a transparent surgical face mask that will “soon be produced on an industrial scale.”

To fabricate them, researchers had to come up with an all-new polymer material. They say the ability to see facial expressions will lead to more empathic health care providers. [Full story]

Experience HLAA Virtual Convention, June 18-19, 2020

From Hearingloss.org:

While HLAA2020 is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our community is demanding more online content. In response to that, we are offering an online experience open to everyone, free of charge, with aspects of an HLAA Convention and a look to HLAA2021 in San Diego.

HLAA is excited about the opportunity to present highlights from HLAA2020 Convention in a new online format. While we will miss the networking, personal connections, and sense of support we gain from attending an HLAA Convention, by joining us on your devices remotely on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19, we can attend HLAA2020 and be together virtually, learning about the latest in research, technologies, and services to assist people to live well with hearing loss. [Full story]

The Future of Hearing Loss and the Search for a Cure

Sue Schy writes on hearatboston@googlegroups.com:

Today’s presentation on “The Future of Hearing Loss and the Search for a Cure” was a real eye-opener for me.  As much as I’ve heard about hearing research and gene therapy, I never really knew exactly what it involved or who might benefit from it.  Well, I was enlightened and this cutting edge research sounds like it is on the horizon for countless future generations to benefit from.

Thank you to Akouos and Frequency Therapeutics!

The real purpose of this email, however, is to give you a few websites and links that were mentioned in Dr. Michael McKenna’s (https://akouos.com/) and Dr. Carl LeBel’s (https://www.frequencytx.com/) talks.

Sing Registry for hearing loss (identifying over 100 genes causing hearing loss):  https://singregistry.itakecontrolhealth.com/

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ is the site the Dr. LeBel spoke of to help find hearing clinical trials in your area.

The Boston Chapter will be taking a break over the summer but we’ll still be around if anyone has any pressing needs.  Please email me directly or you can always get us through Contact HLAA Boston.

In the meantime, stay well and stay safe.
See you in the fall,

Upcoming Events

Sue Schy writes on hearatboston@googlegroups.com:

The group from central MA collated all the meetings for the rest of the year culminating with the virtual convention. Don’t forget to mark your calendars.

Saturday June 6, 2020:
HLAA National Virtual Meeting
2-3:30 pm
Topic: Advocacy & Impact:
Effective Communication in Health Care Settings
Saturday June 13, 2020:
HLAA Boston Chapter Virtual Meeting
2-4 pm
Topic: Boston Biotech Hearing Research
Akouos and Frequency Therapeutics
Featured in a February Boston Globe article:
Thursday June 18 and Friday June 19, 2020:
Experience HLAA!
Online “Convention” experience
Topics include
·       Opening session (Thursday noon -1)
·       Potential for Regenerative Medicine to Restore Hearing Loss (Thursday 2-3:30)
·       Workplace Gain: A Discussion on Self-Advocacy, Marketing and Navigating the Workplace with a Hearing Loss (Thursday 5-6:30)
·       Research Symposium: The Latest on Tinnitus Research (Friday noon – 1:30, Meet the Scientists and Q&A 2:30-3:30)
·       Hearing Loss and the Health Care System: A Call to Action (Friday 4-5:30)
·       Virtual Exhibit Hall (throughout the Experience HLAA! Event)This replaces the canceled convention.